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Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits (makes 6)

With inspiration from Peter Reinhart

-6 oz (1 and a scant quarter cup) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling and dusting

-2 oz (1/2 cup) cake flour

- 1 tbsp sugar

- 1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder

- 1/4 tsp baking soda

- 3/4 tsp salt

- 1 stick (8 tbsp) cold butter

- 3/4 cup buttermilk

If you plan to bake your biscuits right away, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a food processor, and pulse two or three times to combine. 

Take the butter out of the refrigerator and cut it into very small pieces - the easiest way to do this is to divide it into four long pieces by making two perpendicular lengthwise slices, then setting it down and cutting chunks of about a half inch. Distribute the butter pieces across the flour mixture in the food processor.

Pulse the food processor about 5 times, each pulse lasting about one second, until the butter has been reduced to rough, pea-sized chunks. Pour in the buttermilk and turn on the food processor until the dough collects into a ball.

Put the dough onto a floured work surface. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top and with your hands, pat it down into a rectangle about three-quarters of an inch thick (you don't need to be too precise, just be sure you have enough surface area to carry out the next step). Fold the right one third of the dough over the middle third, then fold the left third over that, like folding a man's wallet. Then pat the dough again into a rectangle as before, and do the tri-fold again. Repeat this process one more time, sprinkling a little flour on top each time and moving the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the counter. Then pat the dough into a rectangle about 5x7 inches. 

Use a sharp knife to cut it in half lengthwise, then make two vertical slices to cut six biscuits. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown on top and have risen to about twice their size.

If you want to freeze biscuits for later, set them on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour. Then remove the biscuits and put them in a plastic bag, and return them to the freezer.

When you're ready to bake frozen biscuits, if you don't have time to defrost them just add about two minutes to the total baking time.