Whatever the list of ingredients may be, the preparation instructions are always the same. Mix dry ingredients, cut in binder (butter or shortening) to resemble cornmeal, add liquid, roll out dough, cut biscuits, bake, consume.
If you are wondering what those little rolls are in the middle of the picture, they are little cinni-minis. My grandmother used to make little cinni-minis with her scraps so that nothing got left behind. Waste not, want not! I roll out the scraps, spread it with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, roll it up, and cut it into little minis. Mmm, mmm!
Here’s what I know about a good biscuit:
Don’t use bread flour. Recipes call for different flours but bread flour is not good for biscuits. All-purpose and cake flour seem to work best. Self-rising flour is ok but kinda salty.
Use cold ingredients. The butter or shortening needs to be icy cold. Once the biscuit goes in the oven, the little pebbles of butter begin to melt, allowing the biscuit to rise and become nice and flaky. If the ingredients are room temperature in the beginning, by the time they get to the oven, they’re done for.
Do not over mix or over work the dough. Once you put that liquid in the dry ingredients, timing is of the essence. Mix quickly with a spatula and then bring it all together to a sticky dough using your hands. Don’t handle it too much. Your warm hands will melt the binder and develop the gluten in the biscuits, making for a hard, tough biscuit.
Keep the dough thick. When you roll out the dough, leave it thick, (like 3/4 in. thick). Nobody wants a thin biscuit.
Use a cast-iron skillet. While the oven is pre-heating, stick the cast-iron skillet in the oven. After you have cut the biscuits, take the skillet out and load it up, keeping the biscuits about 1 inch apart. Brush the tops with melted butter. Your biscuit will have a nice crusty bottom and a fluffy, soft top.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients together with a fork. Cut in the shortening using a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk. Quickly fold dry ingredients into buttermilk with your hands until a sticky dough forms.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface. Gently fold the dough over itself 3 or 4 times to create layers. Roll dough out to 3/4-inch thick. Cut with a 3-inch biscuit cutter. Transfer dough rounds to a sheet pan. Gather scraps and repeat. Make a dimple in the center to help the top rise evenly. Brush with butter. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown.
Recipe Source: Food Network