Southern Biscuits Recipe
Yield: 6+ servings
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour plus extra for dusting the board.
- 1 tablespoon fresh baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt (use kosher if you have it)
- 6 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (more or less - see instructions)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.
3. Using a pastry cutter or fork, gently cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like "meal" (a very course powder). You can also use a food processor to cut in the shortening. Just pulse 3 or 4 times.
4. Add the buttermilk a little at a time, stirring GENTLY until a dough starts to form. You may need more or less than the 3/4 cup milk.
5. When you get a "sticky" dough ball, turn out on a floured surface and form a flat mass with your hands (do not use a rolling pin). Fold the dough over on itself and flatten again with you hands, repeat a second time. DO NOT KNEAD!
6. Gently pat and shape the dough to a 1 to 2 inch thickness. The thicker the dough the bigger the biscuits will be however very thick dough can result in mis-shaped biscuits. Cut out the biscuits with a biscuit cutter (see tip 1 below).
7. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If you do not have parchment paper just use an ungreased cookie sheet. Use your thumb to make a small indentation on the top center of each biscuit.
8. Place biscuits into the preheated oven. Bake until tops are a golden brown (about 15-20 minutes).
Note: Closely watch the bottom of the biscuits by lifting one biscuit and observing. Some cookie sheet materials tend to burn the bottoms quickly. If bottoms are getting too brown reduce heat, slightly open oven door and move cookie sheet to upper rack of oven.
9. Serve with SAUSAGE GRAVY
Tip 1: If you like big or small biscuits, fine...but we have found that using a 3 inch biscuit cutter makes biscuits that seem to rise better.
Tip 2: If you like thin biscuits pat out the dough to 1 inch thickness. If you like big, fat biscuits pat out the dough to 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches.
Tip 3: Obtaining the correct consistency of the dough takes a little practice. Just add the buttermilk a little at a time and watch for the dough to form a ball as you stir. You may need more or less milk than called for in the recipe.
Tip 4: Do NOT handle the dough any more than necessary. Over handling will make tough biscuits. When you turn the dough out on your board, try to double the dough over on itself only two or three times while flattening it out. Do not kneed.
Tip 5: If you do not have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tsp white vinegar in 1 cup regular milk. Stir and allow to sit for 1 minute before use.
Tip 6: Make sure to preheat the oven. Never start your biscuits in a cold oven.
Tip 7: When cutting out the biscuits, do not push down and "twist" or turn the biscuit cutter. Push straight down and slide your hand sideways to free the dough. Twisting the biscuit cutter compacts the edges of the dough causing uneven cooking.
Tip 8: Place the cut out dough on the cookie sheet with their sides just barely touching. The dough will not rise as much if there is space between the biscuits.
Tip 9:After placing the dough on the cookie sheet, use your thumb to make a small indentation (dimple) on the top of each biscuit. This promotes even rising to prevent lop-sided or domed biscuits.
Tip 10:The cookie sheet you use can affect the browning of the biscuits. Dark material like non-stick tends to burn the bottoms before the tops are brown. Light material like aluminum or steel (without non-stick) tends to brown more evenly.
Tip 11: Here is probably the most important tip to avoiding flat biscuits: USE FRESH BAKING POWDER! Check the expiration date on the container, if your baking powder has been opened over a couple of months, don't use it. It is relatively inexpensive so why risk a batch of flat biscuits. You don't have to throw away the old baking powder, just don't use it for your biscuits.