Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beer Biscuits

Over the last year I have grown very fond of beer bread.  It’s simple enough to make and tastes amazing.  This past weekend we grilled out and I wanted to make either beer bread or biscuits to go along with it.  I asked my son what he thought we should have and he said, “what about beer biscuits”?

I thought about it and decided that it seemed feasible so I searched for a recipe online.  The first one that came up was a Paula Deen recipe that required a baking mix, like Bisquick.  I really wanted to make the biscuits from scratch if I could.  I did have Trader Joe’s Multigrain baking mix in the cupboard but I’ve often been disappointed in the way baking mix biscuits turn out.

I noticed that Paula’s recipe used 12 ounces of beer so I looked at my go-to biscuit recipe and that called for 12 ounces of milk.  Perfect.  I’d use my biscuit recipe and replace the milk with beer.

The wonderful thing about beer bread is that after you put the batter into the loaf pan, you pour melted butter on top of it.  I’ve seen different amounts for the butter but I generally use ¼ cup of butter on top of the loaf.  This makes the crust the best part of the bread.  It browns up and tastes salty.  It’s really good.  Really, really good.

I wanted to emulate this on the biscuits as well.  After I cut the biscuits, I dipped the tops into melted butter.  Since I used unsalted butter, I wanted to be sure that the outsides of the biscuits had that salty taste like the bread does when I used salted butter on it.  I decided to put a sprinkle of salt on the top of each biscuit after I placed it on the baking sheet.  I used ground pink salt crystals thinking it would add a bit of color to the tops of the biscuits.

All in all, these biscuits were great.  They did not brown up quite the way the beer bread does but that did not matter in all in regards to taste.  They still had that buttery and salty taste to them that the beer bread does.  They also tasted like beer…something that I’ve never really noticed with beer bread.  I would venture to guess that the much shorter baking time allows the beer taste to stay intact with the biscuits.  The bread takes about an hour to bake whereas the biscuits cook for about 10 minutes.

For the biscuits, I based what I did on the Bakewell Cream biscuit recipe but I would not hesitate to substitute beer for the milk/cream in any biscuit recipe.

Before the recipe, here are a few notes on the ingredients I used:

As you may know by now if you’ve been following my blog, this is the flour I use in my kitchen.  It’s unbleached and I love that the company is employee-owned.

I picked this up last summer after seeing it time and time again at the Kittery Trading Post.  It’s similar in nature to baking powder.  I have only used it for biscuits at this point but would like to experiment with it for other baked goods in the future.

The back of the Bakewell Cream tin calls for shortening while the King Arthur recipe I’ve linked calls for butter.  I followed the back of the tin and used Spectrum Organic non-hydrogenated shortening.

I used Molson Canadian for this.  We are not beer drinkers and only keep it on hand to bake with.

I finally bought organic butter.  I found Horizon Organic butter at BJ’s Wholesale a couple weeks ago and it had an “instant rebate’ on it so I decided that it was the best time to try it out with the price that it was.  The only problem was, it was unsalted and I usually buy salted butter.  That is fine though, adding salt is easy enough.

Beer Biscuits
Adapted from:  Bakewell Cream Biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp Bakewell Cream
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt 
1/2 cup shortening
12 ounces cold beer
For dipping:
1/4 cup butter
salt (optional, use if using unsalted butter for dipping)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Combine flour, Bakewell Cream, baking soda and salt in bowl.  Using a whisk is great for this.  Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work shortening into the dry ingredients until most has been incorporated.  You will want to leave a few small, pea-sized pieces so that you know you have not worked it in too much.  Slowly pour beer into the mixture and stir until it combines and all comes together. 

Lightly flour your counter and dump out your ball of biscuit dough.  Knead it a few times to bring it completely together.  At this point you will roll or pat the dough out to about 3/4 inch thick.  I hate to use biscuit cutters so what I do is pat it into a rectangle, 3/4 inch thick.  I then take my dough scraper and cut the rectangle in half, then half again so that I have 4 quarters.  I then cut each quarter into 2 squares for a total of 8 square shaped biscuits.

Melt 1/4 cup butter into a bowl that is big enough for you to dip the biscuit into.  Let it cool just a bit.  While it’s cooling, prepare your baking sheet.  You can lightly grease it or line it with parchment.  I prefer parchment, especially with this extra step of buttering the biscuits before you bake them.  Carefully pick up each biscuit and gently dip the tops into the melted butter.  It’s okay to let some of the butter drip down the sides of the biscuit but do let most of the excess drip off.  After all biscuits have been dipped and placed on baking sheet, top each with a sprinkle of coarse salt if you have used unsalted butter. 

Bake the biscuits in the preheated 475 degree oven for 5 minutes.  After five minutes have passed, turn off the oven and leave the biscuits in the closed-up oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.  I needed to keep mine in there for the whole 10 minutes because they are fairly large but definitely check them after 5 to make sure they are not browning too much.

Let these cool just a little bit before you dig in and enjoy.

Makes 8 big biscuits


  1. These look really good - perfect comfort food! And thanks for your comment on my chocolates - they would make the perfect teacher gift because they are just so easy to do!

  2. Thanks for highlighting KAF! These biscuits look lovely!


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