Last month’s adventure brought Rendering Bear Fat, and with that yummy things are happening around here. The first recipe I made using this beautiful, creamy fat is from a bear guide’s wife in California. Maryann was the first person to introduce me to cooking with rendered bear fat. There is something so satisfying knowing that as hunters, there is more than just meat we can get from an animal. Using as much of the animal as possible feels like true subsistence, living like our ancestors. Fat is an essential nutrient and knowing exactly where it came from brings a new appreciation for this local, organic, free-range cooking ingredient. I hear it also makes great lotion and soap (I may tackle that one next year).
- 1 package yeast
- 5 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 5 cups flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup rendered bear fat
- 2 cups buttermilk
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Sift flour and other dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add bear fat and combine until crumbly. Add buttermilk to yeast and mix well. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Store dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Roll dough to a thickness of 1/2” and cut into desired biscuit sizes. Place biscuits in a greased oven-proof pan or baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 450º oven 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Dough will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Trial #1: I tried these as simple drop biscuits after dough had been refrigerated overnight. They turned out light and flakey but a bit on the crumbly side. Although rolling out the dough doesn’t take but a minute, I am a fan of the one-step method of drop biscuits.
Trial #2: Kazden wanted to roll them out so on day 3, we rolled them out and cut them in random shapes. He rolled a few into balls and snakes and the dough held up well to kid-creativity. Biscuits were light and airy and held together a bit better than the drop method.
Trial #3: Day 5 of the dough being refrigerated I actually rolled them out to about 1/2” and cut them with a traditional round biscuit cutter. The first go around was light and fluffy but the second cutting (the one where you take all the scraps and re-roll out the dough) was a bit heavier. Still wonderful with butter and jam but a bit more dense as expected.