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October 27, 2020

Baking 101: Easy breakfast breads

By Cameron Pitts

Biscuits, pancakes, French toast — there’s no better way to start the day than with a homemade breakfast. And if you have a simple recipe, these three breakfast breads are easy to whip up in the mornings, whether it’s a weekend or workday.

We got these recipes from a family of Southern bakers. They’re easy enough to make with your kids, and you can always double the ingredients if you’re cooking for more people or you want leftovers for busy mornings. 

 

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

finished biscuit

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Pinch of baking powder

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups whole milk buttermilk

biscuit ingredient

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

flour

 

2. Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl, preferably a heavy one. Add shortening to the bowl and combine with flour mixture using a pastry cutter until your mixture looks like flakes and peas. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use two knives to do this.  

well

 

3. Make a “well” in the center of your bowl by pushing the flour/shortening mixture to the sides of the bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and begin incorporating it by pulling in the flour/shortening mixture with a fork. When fully incorporated, you’ll have a fairly wet, loose dough.

knead

 

4. Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured surface (wax paper or a clean countertop will work). Fold the dough over onto itself several times, using floured hands. Do this until the dough holds together enough to pat out into a circle, about one inch thick. 

cut

 

5. Take a two-inch circle cutter, dip it in flour, and then cut the biscuit dough. Don’t twist the cutter; lift it straight up. If the dough comes with it, gently shake the cutter until the biscuit releases.

bake

 

6. Place biscuits, gently touching, on a greased pan and bake for approximately 15 minutes.

take

 

Tips

  1. If you don’t have shortening or would prefer to use butter, place a stick of butter in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or until frozen enough to grate. Then grate the butter into the flour/sugar/baking powder mixture and toss until the butter pieces are coated with flour and thoroughly incorporated. We recommend shortening for this recipe, as it produces a tender biscuit with a crisp exterior. Butter is also good but will produce a softer overall biscuit.
  2. White Lily self-rising flour is the gold standard for making biscuits, but any self-rising flour will work. If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can make your own by whisking together 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 4 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoons of salt.
  3. The best baking surface for this biscuit recipe is a 10.5-inch cast iron skillet (with a smooth bottom). Grease it with shortening or butter and place the biscuits on it, gently touching.

 

Buttermilk Pancakes

pancake

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 large egg

1 1/4 cups whole milk buttermilk

1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder

1 level teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 cup cooking oil (canola or vegetable)

Pinch of salt

 

Directions

  1. Combine buttermilk and baking soda, and stir to dissolve the baking soda. Then, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended.  
  2. Let the batter rest for five to 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a non-stick griddle over medium to medium-high heat.  
  4. Cook one test pancake by placing about 1/4 cup batter on the skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the bottom is lightly browned. Flip and cook one to two minutes more or until the other side is lightly brown.  
  5. Adjust heat if needed and continue cooking the remainder of the batter. Serve warm with butter and syrup.

 

Tips

  1. A non-stick griddle works the best, and no butter is required for this recipe when using a non-stick griddle. If your griddle or skillet is not non-stick, then lightly butter before cooking the pancakes.
  2. Whole milk buttermilk will yield the best texture and flavor, but you can substitute a low-fat option if you prefer.
  3. Pancakes can easily be made ahead and kept warm, loosely covered, in the oven on the lowest temperature or on the warm setting.  

 

French Toast

french toast

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk or half and half

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 loaf of brioche bread, in 3/4-inch slices

ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine milk (or half and half), eggs, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat a cast iron pan (with a smooth bottom) over medium to medium-high heat. Lightly butter and remove excess with a paper towel.  
  3. Dip bread slices in egg/milk mixture and let excess drain back into the bowl. Place on the griddle and cook until golden brown on one side; flip and cook until the other side is golden brown.
  4. Serve warm, topped with fresh strawberries, powdered sugar, and/or maple syrup.
cook

Tips

  1. You can substitute challah bread, french bread, or even Texas toast for the brioche.  
  2. French toast can be made ahead and kept warm in the oven on the lowest or warm setting.

 

Cameron Pitts is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. 

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

 

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