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Makes: 1 dozen 3-inch biscuits (using a cutter 2½ inches in diameter)

Country Biscuits

Makes: 1 dozen 3-inch biscuits (using a cutter 2½ inches in diameter)

Equipment: One 12 x 17-inch sheet pan

Ingredients
3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon + 2½ teaspoons baking powder
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 2/3 cups whole milk
¼ cup melted unsalted butter

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Line the sheet pan with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the fl our, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands or a pastry blender, work the shortening into the dry ingredients until the largest pieces remaining are the size of tiny peas. Make a deep well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the milk into the well. Stir with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon just until the dry ingredients are moistened. This dough should be very wet.

Pour the dough out onto a floured work surface. With floured hands, very gently knead the dough by folding it in half—pull the top edge down toward you until it meets the bottom edge; give it a ¼ turn to the left, and fold it in half again. Fold and turn the dough a total of 8 times. Do not press down too hard. If the dough is sticking to the table, use a dough scraper to help lift it. Keep the work surface lightly floured. When you’ve finished the turns, you should have a moist, cohesive dough mass; it should not be too tight and compact. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and press it lightly into a 9-inch circle about ¾ inch thick. Using a floured 2½-inch round cutter, cut as many pieces as you can from the circle of dough. Dip the cutter into flour frequently to keep it from sticking to the dough. Place the cut biscuits on the prepared baking pan, leaving about an inch between each biscuit and around the edges of the pan to allow for spreading.

Gently gather the dough scraps together into a ball and press them into a circle ¾ inch thick. Cut more biscuits. Repeat this process until all the dough has been shaped into biscuits. You will notice that the dough gets tighter and tighter each time you reuse the scraps, so the last biscuits you cut may not rise as nicely during baking as the fi rst ones. You’ll have to shape the last biscuit by hand, pressing together any remaining scraps into a disk ¾ inch thick. Use a pastry brush to baste the top of each biscuit generously with melted butter.

Bake the biscuits in the center of the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and continue baking for 6 to 8 more minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown on both the top and bottom. A toothpick inserted in the center of a biscuit should come out clean. Remove the biscuits from the pans to cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They’re best if eaten within 2 days.

From the Cookbook

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The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread: Cakes, Cookies, Bars, Pastries and More from New York City's Favorite Bakery

Photos By: Aimée Herring
Photo By: Aimée Herring

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