What can I say about biscuits that does justice to how wonderfully delicious they can be? What can I say about biscuits that does justice to how incredibly dry and disgusting they can be? A good biscuit is like nothing else in the world. It’s not dry, it is delicate and flaky, but it won’t fall apart too easily; it’s buttery, it’s salty, and it is just slightly sweet! A good biscuit is so many things and it can be eaten in so many amazing ways.
You can eat a biscuit loaded up with eggs and cheese and meat (or veggie meat in my case!). You can eat a biscuit toasted with butter. Biscuits are great with honey, they are delicious with all kinds of jams and jellies. Biscuits are delicious just by themselves. You can even add a bunch of silly stuff to the recipe to cook into the biscuit!
Okay, okay, I know I sound ridiculous. Seriously, though. I have missed biscuits. For some reason, California restaurants make biscuits that are more like scones. These biscuits are pretty dry and dense, and just not what I’m looking for when I am up super early in the morning interacting with people, “Can I have a biscuit please??” Now, don’t get me wrong, I love scones. It’s just, when I use the word biscuit, I am referring to something completely different.
So, several months ago I set out on a quest to find an amazing biscuit recipe. I read a bunch of sciency articles and thought about what kind of biscuit I was looking to make. This is the result! This recipe is incredibly easy to make, and if you aren’t in the mood to go out and buy cake flour for it, you can even use AP flour if you like. The cake flour just makes the biscuit more flaky, fluffy, and light- all qualities that I love in biscuits, and it keeps them from being too dry! Another flour alternative (for the purist) is White Lily. Personally, I am not always able to use White Lily because I have to special order it (California grocers don’t carry biscuit flour). However, White Lily is the flour of standard use for biscuits in the south. If you’re interested in a true, Southern biscuit experience, White Lily is the way to go. It is specially formulated for biscuit making, as it is lighter (think Italian 00″).
Makes about 8 large biscuits
2 1/4 cups cake flour/White Lily flour
3 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
9 tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
parchment paper for baking
To start, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
Next, cut the butter into little chunks and melt it in the microwave on low power. You want to make sure it doesn’t sputter or cook too much, it just needs to be liquified. Pour the melted butter into the flour mixture.
With your hands, mix the butter in until it has a mealy, gritty texture. You want all of the flour to soak up butter so that it all looks wet, but it shouldn’t be smooth.
Finally, pour in the buttermilk and carefully mix everything together until you have formed a semi-smooth dough. It will still have some mealy bits in it, but don’t worry too much about this, they bake out!
Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it in parchment paper and buttering the parchment paper.
Next, prepare a rolling station. Cover a flat surface with flour and roll the dough out into a 1/2″ thick sheet.
Using the rim of a cup or a biscuit cutter, carefully shape your biscuits.
Note: Make sure when you do this that you push the biscuit cutter down into the dough but do not twist it to sever the dough. If you do that twisting motion (as natural as it feels), it will seal the edges of the dough and the biscuits will not rise to perfection!
I prefer to do this in small increments. I take just a handful of dough and flatten it and only make one or two biscuits, then continue until I’ve finished with the dough. You can also re-incorporate scraps into the larger dough mass this way.
Next, take your sharpest knife and slice a shallow nick around the entire circumference of each biscuit. This will aid the rising process for the fluffiest biscuits possible!
Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet, leaving enough space in between them for rising.
Bake them for 15 minutes, and then remove them. Butter them generously to make for the browned tops. (Alternatively, you can do a basic egg wash in the last five minutes of baking.)
Place them back into the oven for another 2 or 3 minutes just to let them brown.
Biscuits are best when they’re fresh!
Dress them in whatever way you prefer and enjoy!