Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Buttermilk biscuits are a traditional American comfort food and meal staple. Little thing can make a difference between flat and tasteless and high and delicious when you are baking biscuits.
- 2 cups flour (not self-rising)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter (or half butter and half lard)
- 3/4 cups buttermilk
||Whisk or sift together all dry ingredients. |
||Cut, or squeeze in with fingertips, the butter into the flour mixture, until largest clumps are the size of peas. (See note) |
||Make a well in center and pour in buttermilk. Mix with spoon lightly until you can handle with hands. |
||Right in the bowl, fold over, turn a quarter turn, fold again. Repeat a dozen times. Do not overmix. |
||Pat dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/2" thick. (A wooden ruler comes in handy at times like this.) |
||Before working the dough, turn on the oven to 450 degrees. Place an oven proof small dish in oven with 2-3 Tablespoons of butter to melt, or melt it in a microwave. |
||Remove the melted butter from the oven and let it cool as you mix the dough. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. As you cut biscuits with a biscuit cutter or glass, do not twist the cutter! Dip one side of each biscuit in the melted butter. Put them on the baking sheet buttered side up. Place the biscuits close together so they will raise up--not outwards. |
||Bake 15 minutes. Watch carefully the last five minutes so they do not over brown. Serve with butter and jam, or just settle for the buttery goodness just as they come out of the oven. |
Everyone has a favorite method when it comes to making biscuits, but one thing everyone agrees on. Keep the butter and buttermilk COLD until you use it. In fact, I picked up a tip to dip your hands in ice water before you start mixing the dough. I rubbed an ice cube around my hands and I do think it made a difference. You don't want the biscuit dough to get greasy--you want each grain of fat to be surrounded by flour.
I describe mixing the biscuit dough by hand in the bowl rather than kneading, and patting out rather than rolling, in order to minimize handling. See some other methods in the accompanying article.
Be sure to mix those dry ingredients thoroughly, because otherwise, you'll take random bites where you can taste the baking powder, and you'll get brown freckles on the biscuits.
It is very important to work quickly between the time you add the liquid and the biscuits go in the oven, so do your prep work before you start measuring flour, etc.
Cut butter in small bits and put back in the refrigerator until you need it.
Get out the pan and the biscuit cutter, and flour the surface on which you will pat out the dough.
Preheat the oven.
Melt the butter that you are going to dip the biscuits in and give it time to cool--have it sitting near the board where you will pat them out.
All of these steps will help you seamlessly get the biscuits in the oven quickly, so they don't lose their "oomph."