Gentle Readers, though The Practical Cook is deeply Southern, she has yet to settle on the perfect biscuit recipe. Though I’ve been eating them professionally (at least in my mind) for more decades than would be polite to mention here, that perfect home recipe has eluded me. Now I have some requirements: I don’t care for the hockey puck styles, I do like them fluffy, and please don’t make them wringable.
Fluffy little buttermilk biscuits!
You know, wringable, as in so greasy you can squeeze them. There’s a certain Bojangles in Charlotte, NC, where I performed this feat many many years ago (looking at you Miss Clairol), and it was not appetizing. But shy of that, I like them big, I like them petite, I like them with flours of all stripes, I like them with cheddar and scallions, plain, with gravy, etc.
The Biscuits of My Childhood, Courtesy of The Practical Cook's Mom!
So when the Eldest asked for biscuits on a slow Saturday morning, we started looking for a simple recipe that used what we had on hand that she could help with. This one rocks.
Simple Scratch Recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits
After consulting various Southern tomes, we went with, gasp, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything recipe for buttermilk or yogurt biscuits. He uses the food processor, my fave trick in making dough (it’s the secret behind my scones, too, which are really British Biscuits, to my way of thinking).
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 scant teaspoon salt (I went extra scanty because my butter was lightly salted)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 to 5 Tablespoons cold butter (Bittman says more is better, and I took him at his word)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Yes, that hot. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in the work bowl of your food processor, a few pulses should do it. Add the butter, pulse it a few more times, until the butter is thoroughly cut into the flour mixture.
Mix the dry ingredients in the food processor. Lid on people.
2. Add the buttermilk and pulse the food processor a couple more times to stir it in, just until the mixture forms into a cohesive clump. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it 10 times (Mark Bittman says NO MORE, we dutifully counted, an excellent way to involve the Juniors). If the dough is too sticky, add just a little flour, it shouldn’t be completely unsticky.
Dump the dough onto a floured surface. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get it out of the food processor.
Biscuit dough that has been kneaded exactly 10 times per the instructions. (Thanks Eldest for shooting this, since my hands were floury.)
3. Press the dough to a 3/4-inch thickness and cut into rounds, the size of your choice. Now, he says that you can use a glass. I must respectfully disagree. Get a biscuit cutter, or a cute little set. We picked the middle size. Cut straight down, like a Ginsu knife commercial, don’t twist. Your biscuits will be higher, and you can thank me later.
My beloved pastry mat and biscuit cutter. It's sharp and lovely.
Biscuits in the oven! Don't fret imperfect shapes, they still eat well.
4. Put the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet that’s been covered with parchment paper. Reshape any leftover dough gently and cut until you have no more. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, depending on your biscuit size, or until the biscuits are a light golden brown (see, No Hockey Pucks, above).
Light golden-brown biscuits!
Serve fast, and grab one for yourself on the way out of the oven. Otherwise, you may miss your chance.
My favorite, biscuit with molasses. On a pony plate of course.
What do you like on your biscuits? What do you like in your biscuits? Post a comment below!
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Up next, The Practical Cook’s Mom takes the helm for Weekly Menus!