Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Give Me a Biscuit and I'll Go Away Happy

A couple of nights ago, I whipped up a ground beef sloppy joe type mixture for dinner. I usually serve this in a bun, but still being on our "no bread" food plan, I thought of serving it over mashed potatoes.

Now although this would have delighted my husband no end (meat and potatoes . . . what could be better?), the thought of that combo just wasn't doin' it for me.

"Heck," I thought. "I'm gonna make some homemade biscuits and ladle the sloppy joe mixture over those." (Please don't call the diet police.) "But I'll make 'em as healthy as I can."

I got out my recipe for Spelt Biscuits. Spelt, you say? What is spelt?

Spelt is a sub-species of wheat that has not been widely know, grown or used in our country although it's been popular in Europe for a long while. It's an old, old (ancient actually) grain that has the nutritional value close to that of oats. It's only been in the fairly recent years of folks getting into the organic, nutritionally-conscious, whole foods frame of mind that spelt has come to be recognized as a wholesome grain. Because it hasn't been widely popular, it hasn't been hybridized as nearly all of the commercially grown wheat is in our country. An added advantage of spelt is that many folks with an allergy to common wheat can tolerate spelt.

I find it to have a sweet, nutty flavor, and I've used it interchangeably in any recipe calling for whole wheat.


2-1/2 cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/3 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. With a pastry blender cut in butter and grated cheese until mixture is uniform in size.

Add buttermilk (or sour milk) and stir just until well mixed. Batter will be very moist at this point.

Turn onto a floured surface (I use unbleached white flour for this part of the process) and sprinkle dough liberally with more flour so that you can gently handle it. You want to be able to work with the dough but keep in mind the more flour you add, the less tender and flaky the biscuits will be.

Knead 8-10 times and roll out to 1/2" thickness. Cut with a 2-1/2" biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

I have this set of square biscuit cutters I just love. I used the biggest which is about 2-3/4" across.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. I got ten good-sized biscuits with my cutter.

These turn out to be a hearty but very moist, great tasting biscuit. They tasted particularly good with the sloppy joe mixture. We each ate one biscuit and then I froze the leftover remaining eight. (They do freeze very well, by the way.)


Susan said...

I cannot believe you ate only one! You are amazing!! I doubt if I have the willpower needed. I have never used spelt, although I have eaten and enjoyed spelt products (bread, etc.) Do you buy it already ground, or do you grind it yourself? And I want your biscuit cutters!!!

Erin said...

I've tried spelt bread a few times and failed miserably, but maybe I'll give this a go! I LOVE those biscuit cutters, very nice!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I ground the spelt flour fresh which I think contributes A LOT to the good flavor of baked products. (The fresh ground flour, I mean.) I'm betting if you went to buy spelt flour in a store, it would be mighty pricey! (It would be marketed as a specialty item probably. Grumpf.) Aren't those biscuit cutters cool?? I'm not one to buy gadgets, but when I saw those, I had to have them.

Erin - Maybe make your bread bakin' husband give the spelt flour a go since he seems to be the bread baker. (You lucky girl, you!)

Jane said...

Ok, when I saw the picture I thought those were soil block makers and I wasn't sure how sloppy joe's were going to come around to making soil blocks. I got the horse ahead of the cart. I love spelt and my favorite way in whole in soup. yum.

meemsnyc said...

I love biscuits. So anything with biscuits is delicious.

Mama Pea said...

Jane - Soil block makers, huh? (Maybe you just haven't seen my sloppy joe mix yet! Hee-hee.) Do you pre-cook your spelt grains before adding to soup?

meemsnyc - Bread. It's the whole love of bread thing. Biscuits. Bread. Buns. Bread. Mmmm, good.

Sparkless said...

My naturalpath told me I'm sensitive to wheat, spelt and a couple other wheat like grains. I still eat bread cause it doesn't cause me too many problems. I tried to live without it but failed when I found myself eating potato chips instead of bread! LOL!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I love those cutters too. I make square biscuits, but I've always just rolled them out and used a big knife to cut them :)

So where do you get your spelt anyway? Don't tell me - you grow it??!!

MamaTea said...

Those biscuits lok great...and square cutters? How cool is that? Guess I've only ever used round. You're such a groovy chick!!

Lisa said...

Hi Mama Pea,
I use a recipe similar to yours when making Garlic-Cheese biscuits but I use all-purpose flour as I had not really heard of spelt flour before. I always learn something from your blog so thank you for not only including your recipe, but letting us know what spelt is for those of us who don't know... like me! And I love your square biscuit cutters!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - I had to laugh at your "eating potato chips instead of bread." Now there's a substitution I wouldn't have any trouble making!!

Jen - Ground to grow small patches of grain is on our list (omg, that list!!) but currently we buy it through our local organic food co-op.

Mama Tea - Yupper, me and my square biscuit cutters. I am just the grooviest chick! (If ONLY that was what it took to be groovy.)

Lisa - I've been known to throw minced garlic in the Spelt Biscuits, too, but only if we're not going out in public for a few days! I know garlic is sooo good for us, but my dear husband exudes it from his very pores if he ingests just a little too much of it! Hope you're encouraged to try some spelt flour. Thanks for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

I love your biscuit cutters! Those are great! And they do look very yummy, although I must say, the idea of sloppy joe's on mashed taters did make me drool a little!

Mama Pea said...

Rain - You and my husband! Meat and taters, meat and taters . . .

Anonymous said...

Add some melted cheese and a glass of red vino and I'm in heaven!

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Gosh, that does sound good right now!

judy said...

love the biscuit cutters. my grand kids would get a kick out of these. I make gravy and biscuits on week-ends mostly-so when you say butter milk- do you make your own sour milk- I often read a recipe for it,but have never actually done it

Mama Pea said...

judy - When I have ready-made buttermilk, I use that but often just make sour milk by adding 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup milk and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes.