Biscuits are quintessential British cuisine although Americans have adapted to eating biscuit bread which is also called scones. They are just unleavened bread traditionally made with very simple ingredients such as flour, sugar, salt, eggs, and milk.
In the old days, the simplest biscuits were the most basic form of nutrition for the settlers. It was made from wheat flour and was paired with gravy as adapted from British dining etiquette. Interestingly, the American Civil War transformed the biscuits into an important necessity. More than just a form of sustenance, it became a symbol of resilience and survival.
- Aside from pumpkin and turkey, biscuits and gravy are some of the most iconic American foods that shaped America’s culinary history and cultural landscape, providing nourishment during the American Revolutionary War.
- The US annually celebrates Biscuits and Gravy week during the second week of September.
Biscuit Buying Guide
Biscuits can be purchased at grocery stores, supermarkets, and local bakeries. Biscuits are usually sold as plain. However, biscuits should have a golden-brown crust and, white, fluffy interior.
Biscuit bread is available as commercially produced bread, freshly baked bread from small-time bakeries, or in a form of a ready-to-bake frozen dough.
Biscuit Production & Farming in Texas
Biscuits are a Southern classic and Texans are proud of their biscuits. Texans have abundant wheat plantations that produce excellent flour for the biscuits. One of the most notable companies is the Texas Pure Milling Flour Company which produces different types of flours such as All-Purpose Flour, Organic All-Purpose Flour, Unbleached Bread Flour, Unbleached Baking Mix, and the 7 Grain and Seed Baking Mix.
Aside from flour, butter is one of the most essential components of biscuits as adding good quality butter ensures the biscuit has a fluffy interior and a crisp exterior. Texas dairy farms produce milk and butter from grass-fed cows which greatly impacts the flavor of the dairy products.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Biscuits freshly baked from the local producers do not contain any preservatives and chemicals because it was traditionally consumed immediately after a long day at work. However, that is not the case with commercially produced biscuit bread.
The most common chemical preservatives and additives for bread include calcium propionate, propionic acid, and sodium propionate. All these propionates inhibit mold and bacterial growth to keep the bread fresh and extend its shelf life. As an additive, propionates are also present in other dairy products such as butter and cheese.
People have long questioned the health risks posed by consuming propionates. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) declared that the propionates are not hazardous to the human body. Calcium propionate is not stored in the body, it is just absorbed and metabolized, then eliminated like fats.
Biscuits are generally served warm immediately after baking. There is no need for packaging since it will be eaten. However, it should be allowed to cool completely before putting in a plastic wrap for gifting. Some home bakers like to give it a very rustic feel by placing a red and white checkered handkerchief in a basket and putting the biscuits on top for a very traditional and homemade feel.
Biscuits and gravy are a traditional Southern breakfast in the United States. Southern cooks are strict about the consistency of the gravy, saying it should be thick and fully made from the fats and drippings of pork or sausages.
Aside from that, biscuits can be eaten as both a savory and sweet pastry. Herbed butter and different types of cheeses can be spread in savory biscuits while jams, jellies, other fruits preserves, and cream can be topped in dessert biscuits.
Freshly baked biscuits can be stored at room temperature for at most 2 days. They need to be covered in a thin cloth or tea towel to keep them from drying out. The biscuits can then be refrigerated for up to a week.
The savory scent and irresistible herby flavors of these golden, tender, crispy, and fluffy biscuits will surely impress your dinner guests.
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbp marjoram
2 tbsp basil
4 tsp dried savory
2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 tsp rubbed sage
¼ cup chopped onion
2 tbsp butter or margarine, divided
1/1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ c shortening
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- Combine seasoning ingredients. Store in an airtight container at a cool dry place.
- For the biscuits, melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet. Sauté 1 tbsp mix and onions until tender. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening until crumbly.
- Combine egg, milk, and onion mixture. Stir into dried ingredients just until moistened. Turn onto a floured surface and knead 10-15 times. Roll into 3/4-inch thickness and cut with 21/2-inch biscuit cutter.
- Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Melt remaining butter and brush over the biscuits. Sprinkle with cheese
- Bake at 450° for 10-14 minutes until golden brown.