Buttermilk Biscuits

About a year ago I was having some serious comfort food cravings so I set out to learn to make perfect biscuits.  I tried quite a few recipes but there was always something wrong – the biscuits were too short, the texture was off, the flavor wasn’t right.  Finally I decided to combine the best parts of the different recipes I had tried.  And voilà… my recipe for perfect Southern Buttermilk Biscuits was born.  Now I’m passing my biscuit-baking expertise on to you!

Buttermilk Biscuits

My recipe is based on Tupelo Honey Cafe’s biscuit recipe (if you’re looking for a great Southern cookbook you should check theirs out), but I altered the ingredients and techniques based on what worked in other recipes.  I used lard, but don’t let that scare you – it actually has less saturated fat than butter.  It gives an extra boost of richness but where it really makes a difference is the texture.  Having said that, don’t use the stuff you buy at the store.  It’s hydrogenated to make it shelf-stable (Yikes!).  I render my own from the heritage pork quarter hogs we order.  If you don’t have homemade lard, use more butter in place of the lard.  Your biscuits will still be delicious, I promise!

Buttermilk Biscuits

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4 biscuits

Ingredients

1 c. Bread Flour
1/2 tbsp. Baking Powder
1/8 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tbsp. Greek Yogurt
3/4 tsp. Salt
3 tbsp. Butter, frozen
3 tbsp. Lard, frozen
1/4 – 3/8 c. Buttermilk

1.  Combine the bread flour, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and salt in a bowl.

2.  Using a pastry blender, cut the butter and lard into the dry ingredients.  You need your fats frozen so that they remain solid and create the little air pockets that make your biscuits light and flaky.

Dry Ingredients

Fair warning, frozen butter is VERY hard.  This will take some elbow grease and I recommend a serious pastry cutter – the kind with blades instead of those wimpy round wires (I killed one of those the first time I made biscuits).  You want to keep blending until the mixture looks like a very coarse meal (see below).  The butter and lard pieces should be no bigger than a pea.

Cut In Butter

3.  Slowly add buttermilk until your dough comes together.

Biscuit Dough

4.  Transfer your dough to a well-floured surface and sprinkle with extra flour.  Roll out to ~3/4 – 1 inch thickness.  See how you can still see those pieces of butter?  That’s what you want!

Roll Out Dough

5.  Fold the rolled dough like a pamphlet, 1/3 over the center then the other 1/3 over the center again.

Fold Dough 1Fold Dough 2

6.  Once again roll the dough out to 3/4 – 1 inch thickness and repeat the folding procedure.

7.  After this second folding, roll the dough out to 1 inch thickness.  If you want nice, tall biscuits you have to keep dough thick before you bake it.

8.  Cut the dough using a biscuit cutter.  DO NOT twist the cutter!  This will seal the edges of the biscuit and prevent it from rising while it cooks.

You should be able to get 4 biscuits out of your dough.  I actually take the remaining dough after cutting and form it into a 5th biscuit.  It may not look as pretty, but it still tastes wonderful.

Cut Biscuits

9.  Place your biscuits on a baking sheet then cook on the top rack of the oven at 450° F until golden, about 20 minutes.

Bake Biscuits

You have the option of pulling the biscuits out after 15 minutes of baking, brushing the tops with melted butter, and returning the oven for another 5 minutes.  I usually skip this step because the biscuits are already buttery enough for my taste, but it will make your biscuits extra buttery, crisp, and golden.

Finished Biscuits

Split your biscuit and top with honey, jelly, or apple butter – or do what I do and eat them plain!  Pair them with eggs and bacon for a classic breakfast or enjoy as a side to a hearty Southern meal.

Buttermilk Biscuits

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