Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits
Preheat oven to 500°F. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, and salt until thoroughly combined. Using your fingers, quickly work in butter, rubbing between your fingers to flatten as you go. (Roughly half of butter should have the consistency of very coarse meal; the rest should be in largish flattened pieces.) Make a well in mixture; pour in buttermilk. Stir quickly just until dough is well moistened and just beginning to form a mass. (It will be very wet and sticky.)Advertisement
Turn out dough onto a generously floured board or biscuit marble; sprinkle just enough flour over it to make it easy to handle. Knead quickly, without applying too much pressure as you fold. (The goal is to develop structure quickly without deflating.) Once it forms a cohesive dough, move to side of board; scrape up kneading flour.
Sprinkle a fresh, light dusting of flour on board. (Do not flour top of biscuit dough.) Flouring only hands and rolling pin as needed, roll out dough approximately 1/2 inch thick. With a floured fork, pierce all the way through at 1/2-inch intervals. Using a 1 3/4-inch round cutter, stamp out biscuits (without rotating cutter); place them on parchment-lined baking sheets, almost touching. Gather and reroll scraps; punch out and place more rounds. Bake until biscuits are puffed slightly and brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Peacock prefers to make his own baking powder by combining two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda. You can substitute five cups of unbleached all-purpose flour (preferably King Arthur organic) for the wheat and cake flours. Peacock recommends Anson Mills Colonial Style Artisan wheat flour, which is available at www.ansonmills.com.