Is there anything more quintessentially Southern?
I mean…yeah. There probably is, but for the purposes of me gloating about having finally found a recipe that produces nothing but glorious, fluffy, butter-filled bites of heaven in the form of a biscuit, let’s all pretend that there truly is nothing that makes you think of a good home cooked Southern meal more than a buttermilk biscuit.
So here’s the deal. We marinate chicken in buttermilk prior to frying it, and we never seem to use up all of the buttermilk which then sits in my fridge for an ungodly amount of time, turning into some other substance that shall not be described here. One day it hit me that buttermilk biscuits are actually made with – gasp – buttermilk, and the rest is history.
Y’all, those biscuits…oh, my word. Those biscuits. I’m a carbs girl, and these did not disappoint, other than the fact that my large brood of children made them disappear with stunning speed and I only got to eat one. So, I made more. And more. I think I made them four times the first week after I discovered this recipe.
Here’s how it goes:
Start with a medium-sized bowl. As for calling it a medium-sized bowl, how vague is that, really? To me, a medium-sized bowl is my 2.5 quart Pyrex mixing bowl, but to you it might be a gallon drum or a bathtub. Who knows. Just find something that you feel like will hold two cups of flour and a couple teaspoons of other various ingredients. In that bowl, add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and mix those guys up. Just a quick tip – if you only have salted butter like I did, you should drop the amount of salt you’re adding now to about 1/4 teaspoon so as to avoid ending up with fluffy delicious salt blocks instead of biscuits.
At this point you should take your butter out of the fridge and chop it up into little cubes. Drop those cubes into the flour/baking powder/sugar/salt mixture and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter in. If you use your hands, be careful not to melt the butter with the body heat from your fingers. When the butter is done being cut in, which should end up looking kind of like a mix of tiny pieces of gravel and sand, stick the bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes so the butter goes back to the coldest state possible. This is SO FREAKING IMPORTANT if you want your biscuits to be splendiferous. <— that’s a technical baking term.
During this 15 minutes you could take a few moments to get your baking vessel ready. My standard go-to is covering a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and then spraying just a teeny bit of cooking spray on the foil so as to prevent sketchy biscuit removal. You could also bake these biscuits in a cast iron skillet. If you’re more prepared than I am and already have your preferred method of biscuit cookery all set and ready to go, you could always just play some Words With Friends or do a quick load of laundry or sit and stare at some obscure show on the Food Network while the butter is chillin’ (see what I did there?).
Now for the moderately tricky part. Grab that bowl out of the freezer and get ready to pour the buttermilk in. I start with 3/4 cup, but I always end up having to add to it until I just feel like the consistency is right. Mix the buttermilk in very gently with a spoon, taking great pains to incorporate all of the flour but DO NOT OVER MIX THIS or the biscuit gods will not shine brightly upon thee! The dough will probably be looser and more moist than you expect it to be. That’s ok, y’all. Do not lose heart.
Take this very loosely mixed substance and turn it out on to a lightly floured surface and gently, lovingly mush it together just a bit – an action more professionally referred to as kneading, but I prefer my way of saying it. You don’t want this dough to be smooth and even or anything like that. If you’re OCD, it might mess ya up a little bit but again, that’s ok. Just roll with it. And by roll with it, I mean literally get your rolling-pin out and very gently roll the dough mixture out to about an inch and a half thickness.
You should then use something round to cut out pieces of dough and place those pieces of dough on your baking sheet/cast iron skillet and pop them into a 425 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.You know your oven better than I do. Just keep an eye on these babies and once they start turning nice and golden brown, wipe the drool from your mouth and pull them out of the oven.
I like to brush a little melted butter on the tops of them, but that’s just me. They’re excellent with or without that little touch.
Then – THEN! – you should slowly and lovingly enjoy every last bite of the biscuits you just made. If you’re like me, you’ll be quite shocked at how unbelievably delicious they taste, and by how relatively simple they are to make. No more canned biscuits for you, no sir.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (not self-rising!)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (1/4 teaspoon if using salted butter)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
- ¾ cup - 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons melted butter, to brush on biscuits after baking, optional - but encouraged.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
- Cut butter into small chunks, add to flour mixture, and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture.
- Place flour/butter mixture into freezer for 15 minutes.
- Remove flour/butter mixture from freezer.
- Add in buttermilk. Stir just until mixture starts to come together, adding a little more buttermilk (up to an additional ¼ cup) as needed.
- Dust your counter or butcher block with flour and turn the dough out on it. Dust the dough with a little flour as well.
- Form the dough into a ball and gently knead it until it starts to come together, no more than 7 to 8 times. Use a rolling-pin to very lightly roll the dough to about an inch and a half thickness and use a biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits.
- Gently re-roll any leftover dough to cut as many biscuits as you can from what is left.
- Place biscuits on cookie sheet or cast iron pan and bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
- If so desired, brush biscuits with melted butter once they come out of the oven.