Nothing says southern hospitality more than hot biscuit straight out the oven, especially when you have a house full of people. Buttery and fragrant, these biscuit can be the foundation of a great southern breakfast. They’re not the easiest…then again, I wouldn’t say they’re hard to make either. I guess the best description would be messy. Yes. They’re a big, fat mess but well, well worth it. While testing this recipe I found out several things. 1. If you eat too many biscuit you’ll get sick of them and never, ever want to eat them again. At least for a day or two. 2. If all your ingredients and tools are in place this recipe is infinitely easier. And 3. If you are the least bit fussy or persnickety, making these biscuit will most assuredly help you lose that type A mantle we all sometimes wear. The messy part is when you gently mix together the flour and butter with the buttermilk. You DON’T want to over mix the dough yet it seems impossible to mix as it all clumps up on your hands. I’m here to tell you, it’s okay! When I couldn’t mix the dough anymore because it was stuck like a big, heavy ball on both hands, I squeezed it off each finger, back into the bowl it went and onward I mixed…gently…almost coddling the dough. After that it was pretty smooth sailing. Here are some tips I wish I had had prior to baking these nuggets of love. Believe me when I say, freeze your butter. You’ll use a box grater to grate it into the flour and you don’t want it to melt while you grate. Clear off your counter. You’re going to need more room that you think. Do not use parchment paper. For some reason the bottoms of the biscuits kept browning waaaay too fast when I used it. I used a large, non-stick, light-colored baking sheet. Have it out and placed next to the area you plan to roll out the dough. Generously flour the area where you will be rolling out the dough with all-purpose flour, not self-rising flour, along with your rolling-pin and bench knife if you have one. If you don’t have a bench knife then grab a sharp chef’s knife. Keep your flour bag for dusting close at hand. Have a ruler close by to measure the rolled out dough if you can’t eye-ball it. I can’t. I have to measure everything so I keep an old, thin ruler in a kitchen drawer. It also has all the presidents on it ending with President Clinton so I like to impress myself with all the presidents I’ve forgotten. Could you identify President A. Johnson? Didn’t think so. It’s my favorite as it’s plastic so it can quickly be washed then stored. I think the last tip would be to move as quickly as you’re able to maintain a cold dough. Wait, one more tip. Never twist the bench knife, knife or biscuit cutter while cutting the biscuit dough. Cut straight up and down and you’ll have lots of pretty layers. I prepared 3 sweet butters to serve with the biscuits. Cinnamon butter which consisted of butter, confectioners sugar and cinnamon. Blueberry butter made with blueberries, butter and confectioners sugar. And the last was strawberry butter prepared by finely chopping a few strawberries and mixing them into butter and confectioners sugar. Add to this breakfast some thickly sliced bacon prepared in the oven for easy clean up, some spicy Southern sausage, a beautiful, freshly made fruit salad and you are a belle of a hostess!
As I mentioned above I baked these biscuit on a light-colored, non-stick baking sheet. If a dark-colored baking sheet is used make it a point to keep a close eye on the biscuit bottoms as they will brown much faster. You might want to consider baking them at 400° so as to avoid rapid browning. I haven’t tried it with these so I’m not certain what the outcome would be but it is a suggestion. These biscuit don’t color up much; the tops remain blonde so don’t go by overall color in terms of how done they may be. I cut this dough into squares in order to have fewer scraps to re-roll. Feel free to use a round or square biscuit cutter, just make certain it’s sharp. A soft wheat flour will make all the difference in your biscuit. White Lily is my all-time favorite but King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill are perfectly fine. Try to find buttermilk from a local or small dairy. Whole Foods has a great one by the name of Lazy Meadows. It’s whole, not homogenized, non-GMO and from north Georgia. Good stuff!
Southern Buttermilk Biscuit
- 5 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) salted butter, frozen
- 2 cups ice-cold buttermilk
- Pre-heat oven to 425°.
- In a large bowl mix flour and salt.
- Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the butter directly over the flour.
- Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is coated with the flour and the butter is in lumps the size of peas and smaller. If you have naturally cold hands you may use your hands to cut the butter into the flour. If they’re naturally hot, as are mine, use either the pastry cutter or fork because the heat from your hands will melt the butter.
- Make a well in the middle of the bowl and pour in the cold buttermilk.
- Using your hands gently mix the ingredients together, scraping the dough off your fingers when you need to.
- When the buttermilk is almost incorporated into the flour transfer the dough, with your hands, to a floured board or counter.
- Gently fold the dough over and over, maybe 7-8 times, then gently roll out or pat into a 11″X9″ rectangle.
- Cut off any rounded edges and set the scraps aside to re-roll if using a square biscuit cutter or cutting the dough with a sharp knife. If using a round biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuit and set the scraps aside to re-roll.
- Place the cut biscuit on a baking sheet, close to each other if you like an all-soft biscuit or 1″-2″ apart if you prefer crispy corners.
- Bake 13-15 minutes or until golden on the bottom.
- Serve immediately.
- To re-heat, warm in a 225° oven for 10-15 minutes. These biscuit are warm and tender again after re-heating.