Did you know that buttermilk, clabbered milk, yogurt, kefir, and sour cream are all basically interchangeable? They are all soured and/or cultured products that start as the same ingredient: milk. The way soured milk products work in baked goods is to add protein (tenderness) and acid, which reacts with the baking soda or baking powder to create extra bubbles. These bubbles increase the rise and add lightness to the crumb. This recipe calls for kefir but you can substitute buttermilk, milk you clabber yourself with vinegar, sour cream thinned with a little milk, or plain yogurt and get close to the same results. Looking at a recipe that calls for sour cream and you only have plain yogurt? Give it a try!
These “shortcakes” are a sweeter variation of buttermilk drop biscuits. I love drop biscuits because they’re so fast and fuss-free… and this recipe doesn’t even call for cutting in butter. They turned out incredibly tender with a nice sweet tang from the kefir, which balanced nicely against the sweet strawberries and rich whipped cream.
The topping for these shortcakes is made with a technique called maceration, where you add sugar or salt to fresh fruit or vegetables to draw out the juices. When you sprinkle sliced strawberries with a good amount of sugar and a pinch of salt and leave them overnight, you get strawberry “sauce” with a bright fresh strawberry flavor that you just don’t get with a cooked sauce.
Goats Milk Kefir Drop Biscuits with Macerated Strawberries and Whipped Cream
(also known as Strawberry Shortcake)
1 lb strawberries
1 c raw or demerara sugar
1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c spelt flour, or any whole-grain flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c raw sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c cold Glades Ridge Dairy goat’s milk kefir
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2-3 tbl demerara or other coarse sugar
1 c whipping cream, cold
The night before you plan to serve the shortcake, prepare the strawberries. Wash strawberries and cut them into chunks. Place in a container with a tight lid. Pour the sugar over the strawberries and add a pinch of salt. Place the lid on securely and shake the strawberries to distribute the sugar. Put in the fridge overnight.
Heat oven to 475. Put a sheet of parchment paper over a cookie sheet.
Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then stir together the kefir and melted butter. Quickly beat the kefir mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing only until there’s no more dry flour visible. Moving quickly, use a 1/4 c measuring cup and a spoon to scoop the dough onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar if you have some. Immediately put them into the oven. Bake for 12 minutes or until the tops are nicely golden. Set aside to cool.
When you are ready to serve the shortcake, beat the whipping cream with a whisk or electric beaters until soft peaks form. Let each person break their shortcake open, ladle strawberries over the warm shortcake, and then spoon whipped cream over the top. Hooray for springtime!