Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits Worth The Trouble

I had to make this recipe six times before I got them right. The end result — buttery, tender biscuits — was worth it.

A plate of vegan Buttermilk Biscuits with a side dish of jam

Photo: Recipe Renovator

I used to love biscuits-in-a-tube when I was a kid, and hadn’t tried making gluten-free biscuits.

These innocent looking biscuits nearly drove me mad.

I had to make this recipe six times before I got them right. I nearly gave up. But I was determined to win. No little biscuit was going to vanquish me! The end result — buttery, tender biscuits — was worth it.

Recipe Rennovations

I used to love biscuits-in-a-tube when I was a kid, and hadn’t tried making gluten-free biscuits. I started with Cooking Light‘s recipe for fluffy buttermilk biscuits, intrigued by the idea that you didn’t have to cut in the butter, but instead melt it and add it to the buttermilk. The “butter” is organic Earth Balance spread and I made “buttermilk” from soy milk plus apple cider vinegar and salt.

I also had to figure out which gluten-free flour combination would give the best texture.

Try, Try Again

I made biscuits that had delicious texture inside but were flat as pancakes.

I made biscuits that looked perfect on the outside but were gummy and chewy on the inside.

I changed my flour formula three times. I realized that I had cut in the margarine too finely. (When you cut the margarine or butter in too finely, there aren’t pockets of fat that will expand in the hot oven. That’s what gives biscuits their flaky texture.)

I eventually gave up on the Cooking Light technique of melting the butter and mixing it with the buttermilk, as it didn’t seem to be working with my recipe.

Using a tip from Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies, I let the dough sit for ten minutes to allow the gluten-free flours to absorb the moisture and let the psyllium husk fiber do its work creating structure.

And voilà! Perfectly tender biscuits!

No Substitutions

Since it took me six tries to make these, do not make any substitutions in this recipe. If you want these biscuits, get these flours. Do not omit that tiny little teaspoon of psyllium husk fiber. It is essential for creating the dough structure.

Unfortunately, soy milk is the only non-dairy milk that curdles properly, so I can’t suggest a substitute for you non-soy people.

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: Makes 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 ml) cold organic soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) sea or kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (66 g) frozen Earth Balance or vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup (78 g) sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup (58 g) tapioca flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (3 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) psyllium husk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) baking powder

Cooking Directions

  1. Whisk the apple cider vinegar and salt into the soy milk. Return to the refrigerator so it’s very cold.
  2. Measure and then cut up the vegan butter and put in a freezer-safe bowl in the freezer while you measure the flours.
  3. Weigh the flours into a medium-sized bowl, or gently spoon or sift the flours into the measuring cup, leveling off with the flat blade of a knife.
  4. Add to a medium-sized bowl and whisk together until it is a uniform color. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. When you measure the baking soda and baking powder, use a fine sifter or wire mesh to remove any possible lumps. Whisk again until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Cut in the frozen butter using a pastry sieve or two knives in a cross-wise pattern until the butter is reasonably well mixed in and about the size of aquarium pebbles (or small peas).
  6. Stir in the buttermilk with a spatula, turning over from the bottom, until all the flour is mixed in. Do not over-mix.
  7. Return the bowl to the refrigerator for ten minutes.
  8. Turn on the oven to 425F/220C. The oven should be preheated in about ten minutes.
  9. Scoop the dough (if it is not scoopable, let it stand another five minutes to set up) onto a parchment-covered baking sheet using an ice cream scoop or large spoon.
  10. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown and lightly cracked on top.
  11. Serve immediately for best flavor and texture. Store for a day in a zippered bag, or in the freezer.
  12. Reheat in a 300F/150C for 10-15 minutes, not in the microwave.

Stephanie Weaver

Stephanie Weaver, aka The Recipe Renovator, currently lives in San Diego, and loves taking recipes and remaking them with healthier ingredients. She has a Master's in public health in nutrition education from the University of Illinois, and writes as a home cook with a love of delicious, healthy food. Please visit her blog Recipe Renovator.

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