My "Secret Ingredient" Biscuits (and a giveaway from Cultures for Health!)

I love to tease Joshua when he compliments my cooking. "I used a secret ingredient." ;)

And one of my secret ingredients? Homemade kefir. It makes a great buttermilk substitute and turns out the best biscuits and pancakes! And since kefir keeps so long in the fridge, I pretty much always have some on hand when a recipe calls for buttermilk (or even just plain milk, in baking recipes).

Making biscuits with kefir
Making biscuits with my kefir

I've also found that my kefir grains are pretty hardy. I'd been using my current kefir grains for about a year when I got pregnant with baby #5, morning sickness hit, and Joshua cooked dinner every night for a month. (Or two. I don't really remember because I was, umm, napping!)

One thing Joshua didn't do -- and I didn't do either -- was to care for my kefir grains. I know, I know. Those little "babies" I'd been tending, even taking them with me on the airplane when I went to visit my family in May... were then left in a jar on the counter for several weeks. Every time I thought about giving them some fresh milk, I wondered if they were even still alive and then just didn't touch them.

Finally, probably about 6 weeks later, I pushed past the "I'm a bad kefir-mom" feelings and took out 2 little kefir grains and started giving them fresh milk every day. It did take about 2 weeks for them to revive, and even longer for my beautiful thick creamy kefir consistency to return. But it did! They're alive! I'm so glad. And next time "life" gets too crazy to make kefir, I'll put them in the fridge to rest like I should have done.

Giveaway this week (3 days only!):

Cultures for Health is a company located here in Washington state and they offer starters and cultures for a variety of different healthy foods -- like milk kefir, water kefir, sourdough, yogurt, buttermilk, kombucha and more! Cultures for Health also offers supplies for cheese making, sprouting, and other fun stuff.

Cultures for Health offers 9 different kinds of yogurt starters, including some that will culture right on your counter (like kefir), skipping the tedious warming of milk and monitoring temperatures. (I know some people say that homemade yogurt is super easy, but I beg to differ!) :)

The giveaway (3 winners!):

Go here to enter the Cultures for Health giveaway. Giveaway is open Monday, January 16th, 2012 through Wednesday, January 18th, 2012. THREE random winners will be given the opportunity to choose a culture of their choice from Cultures for Health! :) (Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Cultures for Health. But I love opportunities for you guys to win something I love!)

Use this code to get 10% off your order at Cultures for Health placed January 16-20, 2012: TR2012

New to kefir? Go watch my short video showing how simple it is to make!

I've also written about:

How I use kefir in recipes

Smooth and Creamy Maple-Sweetened Kefir (one of our favorite drinks!)

Photo tutorial for making homemade kefir

How to make homemade yogurt (and why I make kefir instead!) 


hi Tammy!

I would love to win. Thanks for the opportunity.

I've been making yogurt with a little I'd looooooove to make it from culture! =-) Definitely entering! Thanks!

I'd love to try it. I've always wanted to ,and it was just rising up on my radar again.

I would love to win. I've been wanting to try my hand at yogurt since my kids love it do much. Thanks for the giveaway.

Am I missing a baby in here somewhere? Or was this a sly way to announce it? As always love reading your blog!!!

Shay B.

Thanks, Shay! :) I've mentioned being pregnant... baby is due in about 10 weeks!! :D

Be sure to go here to enter the giveaway! (Comments on this post won't count as giveaway entries.) :)

Ohmy... I have been married for over 20 years and seriously... been trying to find the "perfect" biscuit recipe for most of those years. LOL. ("get a life", right?) Well, two nights ago I was perusing the America's Test Kitchen cookbook my mom bought me a while ago. Another biscuit recipe ~ I rolled my eyes. Well, I checked out the "hints" for the first time and my jaw flew open. I finally knew what I was doing wrong! I quickly made a batch of biscuits (using my homemade runny yogurt instead of the buttermilk,) and then I did the "hint".... I KNEADED the dough for about a minute!!! Who knew kneading them would cause them to rise and have a fine, velvety crumb?!??! I always treated my biscuits like my pie crusts ~ carefully and gently. They also suggested not twisting the cutter when cutting them out, but plunging straight down and then up to ensure an even rise. Another hint was to flip them over when putting them on the pan to bake. After all the hints, my biscuits came out gorgeous and about 3" tall. My family said they've never had better biscuits. Yum!!!
Thanks, Tammy, for your website. You probably already know these hints, but I had to share all the same :o)
Hugs to you and yours,

Thanks, Kate -- what great biscuit tips! I'll have to try the one about turning them upside down when putting them on the baking sheets!! How thick was your dough to get 3" biscuits?! :)

And... I have a few things I've been working on perfecting (slowly) for years, too! :) I think some times we just have an idea of the "perfect" end result and "almost" just isn't good enough. :)

Have you tried freezing your unbaked biscuits before? They freeze beautifully, I bake them frozen or only very slightly thawed (they sit on the cookie sheet about the time it takes to preheat the oven). It takes a few minutes longer to bake but they taste just like fresh :)

No! Now I want to try that! Next time we have biscuits, I'll make extras to freeze. :D

I make yogurt all the time and it is easy. Just had to say that when I read your comments about making yogurt. LOL I'm making cottage cheese today... We have a milk cow and she just freshened last week, so we have lots of fresh milk. :D

To bad, I missed the giveaway! I need to visit your blog more often. :)

~Tanya - mama to 7 treasures. :)

Oh, Tanya. :P :) I am going to get better at making yogurt, because I do like it... but it is a lot more time consuming than making kefir. ;)

I've never made kefir, so you are ahead of me there... LOL I'm sure you will master the yogurt making yet.

~Tanya - mama to 7 treasures. :)

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