We recently held a fundraiser bake sale at MooShoes for Burrito Project LA—a group that fights hunger issues in the city by making vegan burritos and distributing them among the hungry and houseless of Los Angeles. You can read an interview we ran last week with the group’s co-organizer and MooShoes employee, Kathleen Truffaut to find out more about their work and visit their site to donate to the cause.

Prior to the bake sale, Kathleen asked us if we’d be interested in donating a baked good, so it seemed to me like the perfect time to re-debut a recipe I’ve been working on evolving over the past few months—our homemade biscuits. Formerly, we’d leaned heavily on vegan margarine for the biscuits’ buttery flavor and flakiness, but, of late, we’ve been pushing the more processed foods out of regular rotation, so I’ve been refining a version of the recipe—originally written up on these pages in 2011—that employs extra virgin olive oil instead. The result—a little less flakey, but much easier to make and, honestly, a little tastier in the end. The lack of fake buttery taste allow the vinegar-milk approximation of buttermilk to step forward into the spotlight a bit more and, overall, results in a rich, full flavor.

Here’s what you need:
• 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (we like King Arthur brand)
• 1/2 tbsp Sea Salt
• 1/8 tsp Baking Soda
• 1 1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
• 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (we like the California-based companies, but we’re biased)
• 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond, Soy, or Oat Milk
• 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

First off, yield: This recipe should give you about four extra-large biscuits or six medium-sized ones. Feel 100% free to double or even triple the quantities, as we did this past weekend for the bake sale. I’d just recommend breaking it into equal batches so you’re not dealing with twice or thrice the dough at once.

Now, before you start in on the dry goods, mix the milk + vinegar together in a measuring cup and let it sit for a few minutes. You’ll notice this’ll start to kind of curdle as it sits. This is a good thing—when it’s mixed in to make the dough, it’ll create little pockets of sharp flavor that will simulate the sour-sweet bite of buttermilk. If you’re not a huge buttermilk fan, use less or no vinegar, compensating with the milk so the total mixture equals one cup.

While that’s sitting pre-heat the over to 375°F and then combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly. With a utensil or your hand, make a little well in the middle of the flour mixture. Once the milk-vinegar mixture’s sat for a minute or two and started to separate out, slowly pour into the well along with the olive oil and mix gently with a fork until everything’s well-combined and you don’t have any pockets of dryness. This’ll result in a pretty wet mixture. If you feel like the dough’s too dry, add a little milk…but this might take some trial and error to spot. Don’t worry about it too much up front though—again, this is a pretty hard recipe to mess up too terribly.

Now, flour a clean counter-top or cutting board and turn the dough out onto it. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and, using your hands, gently fold the dough over itself three or four times, evening it out and flattening it down a bit each time. Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough out so it’s about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Try to move toward an end shape that’s roughly rectangular, keeping in mind how you’d like to divide it up for individual biscuits.

Place the resulting dough undivided on a baking sheet or (even better) baking or pizza stone. Cook for 10-15 minutes, watching for the dough to turn a light golden color, slightly darker at the edges. Once that happens, carefully remove the dough from the oven and divide into individual biscuits as desired, attempting to cut to the bottom and separate out the biscuits but not mangle them too much. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes or so, looking for an overall golden brown color and crispiness on the tops.

Once that happens, remove and allow to cool. Then enjoy with preserves, as little ham + cheese sandwiches as we made for the bake sale, or as slightly more involved ones, like the tofu, steamed greens, sriracha, and cheese biscuit sandwiches we made a while back (pictured above). You can check out pictures from the bake sale on Burrito Project LA’s Facebook page.

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