It seemed a little too easy.  After weeks of firm, delicious yogurt, I ruined 3 liters of milk in some not too successful batches.  One went down the drain before I started thinking of ways to use slightly yogurted milk.  I remembered a substitution I had read somewhere for buttermilk – use watered down yogurt.  So I made pancakes, a banana bread, and these: light, fluffy, buttery Southern-style biscuits.  Best hot, they are soft and steamy in the middle while crunchy and craggy on top. The failed yogurt worked beautifully as a buttermilk sub, and in a land where buttermilk is not readily available (I’ve never seen it), I won’t get too upset when my yogurt doesn’t turn out just right.

A few notes about biscuit baking in a tropical climate.  The success of baked goods such as scones, pie crusts and biscuits relies on getting the dough together quickly and not overworking it.  This leaves little pockets of solid butter that melt in the oven, leaving the desirable flaky result.  Well, when “room temperature” is 85 degrees, you have to be super fast, or else suffer with tough, hockey puck style biscuits – and you know they are not playing hockey here.  I have described my method below, essentially no hand contact with the dough.

Failed Yogurt Drop Biscuits (adapted from Gourmet)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup failed yogurt, or well shaken buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the first 5 ingredients in a metal bowl.
  3. Working quickly, use the mozzarella-sized holes (not the parmesan holes) of a box grater to grate the butter directly into the flour.  Breifly toss with the flour to coat all shreds of butter.
  4. Pour in the yogurt, and stir to combine.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of the dough on the baking sheet, and brush with a little failed yogurt.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the peaks turn a delicious golden brown.  Serve.

Note: If you happen to accidentally double the butter in your first attempt at these because it is 6am, your super helpful baby has pulled everything out of the lower drawers and cupboards of the kitchen and is loving the music of an upside down salad spinner scraping against the marble tiles and the “sticks” of butter are actually a double stick (250g), don’t worry.  What you have made are KFC’s biscuits and they are not only edible, they are fantastic.

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