Category Archives: Mountain Mornings

Sweet Cream Biscuits

A biscuit recipe is like a fingerprint in the South; everybody has their own, so no two are alike! Well, that’s not entirely true. But, Southern cooks will tell you that their biscuit recipe is the best because it’s likely been passed down for generations. The basics of a biscuit are all the same. You take a flour and add some fat and liquid. From there you can add just about anything you want to make it sweet or savory, or maybe you keep it simple and let a slice of country ham or a spoonful of jam or honey add some extra flavor. Biscuits come in all shapes and sizes and are the answer for a quick breakfast to a simple and traditional solution for dessert.

We love just about every variety of biscuit. Flaky buttery layers get us just as excited as a tender biscuit with lots of airy pockets to hold butter. And, they don’t take as long as it may seem to make. Have you ever been intimidated by the thought of making homemade biscuits and resorted to popping open a tube in the past?  (Truth be told, almost all of us saw our grandmother’s do that once or twice! If you never witnessed it, look for a  dent in the edge of the counter in grandma’s kitchen, cause that’s where she would bang the tube against it to get it to burst open.) Well, scratch-made biscuits really don’t take any more time to make, you just may end up with a little flour in places you never intended.

Self-rising flour is a time-saver in this two-ingredient biscuit recipe. The leavening – baking powder – is already in the flour. The cream acts both as the liquid and the fat, making these biscuits rich and flaky. And easy!

Sweet Cream Biscuits

Makes about 14 2-inch biscuits

Prep: 10 minutes

Bake: 10 to 14 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups Old Mill Self-Rising Flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Extra flour as needed for rolling

Directions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place the flour and sugar in a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour in nearly all the cream, and stir with a fork until the mixture comes together. If needed, add the rest of the cream to get the dough to pull together. It will be sticky.
  3. Sprinkle a work surface with a couple tablespoons flour, and turn the dough out onto the flour. Press with floured hands until the dough is 1-inch thick. Fold one half of the dough over the other like closing a book, then press down to 1-inch again, and cut into 2-inch rounds with a floured biscuit cutter. Press together scraps to make additional biscuits. Place biscuits about an inch apart on baking pans, and place in the oven. Bake until golden brown, from 10 to 14 minutes. Serve warm with butter.

March is National Flour Month at The Old Mill

Springtime in the mountains brings the blossoming of flowers, and it also draws our attention to a “flour” of a different sort – the one we use in the kitchen every day. March is National Flour Month, a time to explore new ways to bake with flour.

At The Old Mill General Store, you can step back to the 1800s with some old flours and explore some relatively new ones on our shelves. For example, we’ve been milling Corn Flour as long as we have been stone-grinding grits. Corn flour is the fine powdery flour that is sifted off in the process of making grits. It is perfect for folding into cornbreads, muffins, pancakes, and cookies. And it makes some of the best homemade corn dogs!

Whole Wheat Flour, also ground right in our historic mill, is the most delicious and fresh whole wheat flour you will ever taste. Wheat berries are crushed and ground into a flour perfect for muffins, like Morning Glory Muffins, as well as pancakes, cheese straws, and loaf breads. Use our whole wheat flour anytime you want a better and more nutritious substitute for white flour.

Another interesting whole wheat flour sold at the General Store is a White Whole Wheat Bread FlourThat’s right – it’s white. But it tastes and bakes like whole wheat. This special flour milled from Montana hard wheat berries is a bread flour just right for baking into loaves, dinner rolls, even pizza crust.

Also from America’s West is our medium Rye Flourwhich bakes much like whole wheat flour and can be used in any baking recipe calling for whole wheat. It adds a nuttiness to recipes, and it is delicious in sweets, from cakes to chocolate chip cookies. America’s frontier cooks used to substitute rye flour when wheat wasn’t available.

Cold weather climates bring us our Buckwheat Flour, which is not a flour at all but ground from the seeds of the buckwheat plant, a cousin to rhubarb. We’ve been selling buckwheat flour and buckwheat pancake mixes to happy customers for many years, but with the rise in interest in gluten-free baking, more people are getting interested in buckwheat. Try ours, and your pancakes will have never tasted so good. You can also use buckwheat in banana bread and muffins, substituting buckwheat for half of the white flour.

Without a doubt, the Southern flour that has the deepest history in our region is Self-Rising FlourIt’s a staple in kitchens throughout the South, where in the early 1900s it became the flour that made the best, most reliable, biscuits. The secret is a soft winter wheat flour that is lower in gluten (protein) than other flours, and the baking powder and salt are mixed right into the flour. There’s no measuring of leavening, and that’s a time-saver we can appreciate today. Try it in your biscuits, cornbread, pancakes, and cakes.

Here is a recipe for a perfect morning muffin called the Morning Glory Muffin. We make it with our freshly-milled Whole Wheat Flour, and it’s just the way to salute National Flour Month.

Morning Glory Muffins 

Makes 12 muffins

Prep: 10 to 15 minutes

Bake: 18 to 23 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raisins, softened in hot water

2 cups Old Mill Whole Wheat Flour

1 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups grated peeled carrots

1 apple, peeled and grated

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

3 large eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Set aside a muffin pan with 12 wells. Soak the raisins in hot water to cover and set aside.
  2. Place the flour, brown sugar, soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the carrots, apple, coconut, and pecans. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, oil, orange juice, and vanilla. Stir the ingredients together until just mixed.
  3. Spray the muffin pan with vegetable oil spray or line with paper liners. Scoop batter into the pan, filling each well nearly to the top. The batter will fill 12 to 14 wells. Place the pan in the oven, and bake until the muffins brown and are just firm on top, 18 to 23 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Sweet Potato Hash Skillet

Makes 4 servings

2 medium sweet potatoes

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound bulk pork sausage

1 cup diced yellow onion

1 cup diced green bell pepper

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

 

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 pound bulk pork sausage

1 cup (8 ounces) grated Sweet Water Cheddar Cheese

4 large eggs, cooked to preference

 

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Peel and dice sweet potatoes;  spread on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Roast until sweet potatoes are tender and browned, stirring once, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain in a colander;  wipe skillet clean.

Return skillet to heat;  add olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions, peppers, and garlic;  sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add sweet potato, brown sugar, cumin, and ground red pepper;  reduce heat to medium and sauté 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the sausage;  cook until hot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon into small, individual cast-iron skillets;  top each with one-fourth of the cheese.  Broil until cheese melts. Keep warm.

Cook eggs according to your preference. Top each serving with cooked eggs.

 

Self-Rising Buttermilk Biscuits

 

IMG_2534

2 1/4 cups OLD MILL SELF-RISING FLOUR

1 stick (1/2 cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 1/4 cups full-fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place Old Mill Self-Rising Flour in a large bowl.  Sprinkle butter pieces over flour; using your fingertips, snap butter and shortening into dry ingredients pieces are no larger than small peas and mixture is crumbly. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in center and pour in buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together;  it will be sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface.  Dust top of dough with flour and gently fold dough over itself until a soft dough forms, about 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Using a 2-inch cutter, cut out biscuits by pushing straight down;  do not twist cutter. Place biscuits on baking sheet, sides just touching. Gently gather scraps, press out 1-inch-thick, and cut out biscuits.  (These scrap biscuits will not be quite as light as the first ones.)

Bake until biscuits are fluffy and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Brush tops with melted butter, if desired. Makes 12 biscuits.