German Biscuits – a VERY vintage ((and equally delicious)) recipe
One of my favorite things?? — vintage cookbooks! I have a pretty extensive collection, thanks to one of my other favorite things — estate saling. ((PS did you know there is a whole mass of people wondering what’s the correct spelling for garage/estate saling — sale-ing? Some “scholars” actually insist there is no appropriate “hyphen-ing” addition, rather a writer should pen the following “today I went to a few garage sales”. Humphf.))
Back to the biscuits.
I snatched up The Art of German Cooking and Baking by Mrs. Lina Meier; 1909 ed. 1949 many months ago and have been amused by the recipes ever since. I actually keep this cookbook on my nightstand, close by when an unexpected quiet moment arises. This treasure is FULL of recipes that will never ((ever)) be resurrected in my kitchen; dozens of rabbit recipes, numerous ways to cook any animal organ you can imagine & many funky food combinations that make me chuckle and gag all at the same time.
Yep, that’s my kind of entertainment.
But tucked in neatly among all of the unmentionables, a bounty of Old World, semi-forgotten treasures await:
- coffee cake with almond frosting
- sour cream cake
- cheese tart
- chocolate mousse
- chocolate pudding
- champagne cream
- yeast doughnuts
- many, many more just begging to be brought back to life AND
Let me just say, there are a lot of things I can pass up ((as far as eating goes)) but a hot, buttered, homemade biscuit made by a professional isn’t one of them. Oh, and yes, I am pretty sure, after perusing her cookbook for countless hours, Mrs. Lina Meier is a professional biscuit-maker and all around cook & baker extraordinaire!
Now let’s REALLY talk biscuits. Let me just start off by saying, a few things about this recipe were on the verge of ((if not past the verge of)) confounding. For starters, I really do wonder what 1½¢ worth of yeast looks like. Oh, and that little blurb about beating the dough for 20 minutes – I thought that was for the birds. But there was an overall vagueness to this recipe that really left me feeling like a baking buffoon.
“Mrs. Meier? How long should I set the batter to rise?? While we’re at it, how long should the biscuits rise?? And one last question (well two I suppose), what temperature and for how long should these biscuits bake??”
I am pretty sure she gave me a few German scowls, at least 3 or 4 head shakes and I am almost certain I heard her mutter she would be better off doing it by herself. I will admit, there were at least 3 times I was completely certain that I had botched the entire recipe.
But, as any really good, basic recipe seems to go – these biscuits were AMAZING. In spite of my naivety, inexperience and long list of questions, after 21 minutes in a 375° oven, out popped the most delicious, fluffy, slightly sweet yeast biscuits. Certainly better than I could have EVER hoped for.
Mrs. Meier’s short list of ingredients & limited instructions combined with a few of my inexperienced assumptions produced a budding family favorite. ((stretchy pants here I come))
The aroma — it’s as if grandma worked her magic in my kitchen.
So good & clearly fool-proof ((haha)).
- 5 cups AP flour - divided
- 1 pt. milk, lukewarm ((I used 2%)) - divided
- 1½ t, AD yeast
- lb salted butter, melted
- 1 egg
- ½ c sugar
- ½ t kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 365°. Prepare 2-12 count muffin tins (flour and butter). Add yeast and ¼ c lukewarm milk to a small mixing bowl, stirring to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes. In a medium glass mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour with remaining milk, whisking until smooth. Add the yeast dissolved in the milk, stirring to combine. Set to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Next, mix melted butter, egg, sugar salt into the flour/yeast mixture. Beat for 2-5 minutes on high (using a hand mixer).
- Add remaining flour, stirring to combine. Roll out dough on a floured surface, to approx 1" thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out 24 biscuits, using remaining scraps to form biscuits. Place biscuits into prepared muffin tins and allow to rise 1-2 hours.
- Place biscuits in preheated oven, baking until lightly golden, approx 21-23 minutes.
- Serve with softened butter and jam.