Just the name alone causes my mouth to water and memories of the smell of baking biscuits right at the edge of being done filling the kitchen and rest of the house. It is a sure fire call to breakfast and is something I quite often crave.
When I moved into my North Carolina house I decided I was going to not only perfect my biscuit recipe I was going to amp up my technique for them. The recipe I use (and have since modified) was handed down several generations on my mom’s side of the family and now I’m the happy curator of the same. I was happy with my recipe that I used many times cooking as part of the Hospitality Ministry for my church making sure that fresh baked goods were available with the coffee after church service. Our church by tradition always had a fellowship time in the “Pier 29” of our church after every service. Smells from the church kitchen almost caused a stampede during the pastor’s message more than once between my biscuits and my cornbread.
What makes a good biscuit. Ask that question among a lot of folks and you’ll get different answers. “Beaten Biscuits” which is something I never made are popular around the Baltimore area where baking powder biscuits hold sway in Northern New England and buttermilk biscuits hold sway in the south. I know that the southwest and cowboy country have their own biscuit traditions but I don’t know what they call their biscuits other than “biscuits” so I won’t comment.
The style I now make has its roots in New England style baking powder biscuits and has been melded seamlessly into a southern style buttermilk biscuit. I like the fact that the biscuits rise very nicely have a flaky texture to them and make a great foil for biscuits and gravy (article coming soon).
While if I’m just interested in feeding myself and my wife I can “stand” pop-em in the oven frozen biscuits I much prefer making mine from scratch.
Besides some tweaks to my recipe there is the question of technique. Somewhere along the line I had been taught to keep a small amount of distance between biscuits while they are cooking. Turns out that’s bogus.
As you can see in the picture I nestle them right up against each other. This helps them “support” one another and improves the rise. This part of the technique also works for pop-em in the oven frozen biscuits.
The other technique I changed for the better was in “rolling them out.” Instead of using a rolling pin I use my hands. This helps the texture of the biscuits a lot. Something I added to my technique is before they are cut I fold the dough over on itself several times patting it down each time. First I take one side and fold it over so the dough as been folded in half. I then take the other side fold it over folding the dough in half and pat it down. Same for the top edge and then the bottom edge. This adds layers to the biscuit and also helps them rise in the oven.
Once they go into the oven, no peeking. If you’re a lookin’ they ain’t cookin’ as a Southern lady told me in 1975.
- 3 cups All Purpose Flour
- 3 tbsp Baking Powder
- 2 tbsp Sugar, optional
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup or slightly more whole buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Put first four ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly
- Add the melted butter and mix until mixture resembles flour mixed with gravel
- Add the buttermilk adding more if necessary to combine ingredients fully. Should be a sticky dough
- Dump dough out on floured surface. Add dusting of flour on top of dough and pat out to about ½ inch thickness.
- Fold each edge over the dough and pat out after each edge is folded over.
- Using a biscuit cutter cut biscuits and place on a pre-prepared baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Bake in a 450F oven for 15 minutes