Over the years I
stubbornly kept trying again and again and tweaking ingredients and methods. It was a happy day when I finally had a batch turn out and I think I may have worn a smile all day when my husband could honestly say that they tasted good. Since then, I guess I like to think that I have perfected them (smile).
Sometimes I hesitate to post recipe tutorials because in all honesty you're probably the one that could teach me something! Nevertheless, I thought I would share my biscuit recipe with you and a step-by-step tutorial of how I make them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
I use three simple ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached Self-Rising Flour (I've been buying the King Arthur brand for years... their flour is unbleached and contains aluminum-free baking powder) + a little extra
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 3/4 cup Buttermilk*
Before baking biscuits, I bring out my "biscuit-baking" tools:
- Pastry Blender (although I consider this a must-have inexpensive gadget, two butter knives will work also)
- Biscuit Cutter (a round glass would also work)
- Rolling Pin
- Cast Iron Skillet (mine is around 12")
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour and pour into a large mixing bowl. Keep your flour handy - we'll be using it again!
Cut 4 Tbsp of cold butter into small chunks and place in the bowl with the flour.
Using a pastry blender (or two butter knives) cut the butter into the flour until the butter looks like little crumbs.
For a long time I made biscuits with shortening. However, when I cut hydrogenated oils out of our diet, I wondered if I could substitute an equal amount of butter. What resulted was a buttery, flaky biscuit full of flavor.
Measure about 3/4 cup of buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk) and pour into the flour/butter mixture.
I personally use whole buttermilk which is why this is so clumpy. I started buying milk from the nearest natural foods store and it still comes in a glass bottle... isn't that neat?
Stir the ingredients just until everything comes together. Do not worry too much about all the flour being incorporated... we will knead it into a smooth ball soon!
This is when I "prep" my kneading station. I use a cutting board because it makes for easy cleanup. Begin by sprinkling a little flour over your flat surface and keep that flour handy still.
Dump the dough onto your floured surface. You're going to start kneading it, so if the dough is sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on top. Knead the dough until it becomes a soft ball... it won't take long. As you knead, the dough will likely turn sticky again, so just sprinkle in a little more flour if that happens.
You want your end result to be soft and silky, but not sticky. Shape the dough into a round disc with your hands.
What I've learned about baking is that you have to keep at it even if you have less-than-desirable results. So much about baking is learning the texture of your dough. It won't be long before you will rely more on what your dough looks like and feels like than exact measurements.
Using your rolling pin, roll out the dough until you achieve a desired thickness. We love fluffy biscuits, so I roll mine out about 3/4" thick.
My girls looove "helping" me with biscuits Saturday mornings. Jillian likes to help me stir and cut out the biscuits. Rosetta, on the other hand, likes to play with the rolling pin and poke holes in the dough.
Now you're ready to cut out your biscuits! You will have to roll out your dough again a couple more times before all the dough is used up. If the dough is so sticky that it won't come out of the biscuit cutter, lightly pat a little flour over the top of the dough.
See what I mean about poking holes into the dough? (smile)
As you cut out your biscuits, place them in an ungreased cast-iron skillet. This will result in a biscuit that is slightly crunchy on the outside with a light, buttery texture inside. Yum! Now pop them into the oven.
I'm going to be honest here... I don't usually leave my biscuits in the oven for a specified amount of time. I know it will take them anywhere from 13-17 minutes and I keep an eye on them until they are just golden. But for the sake of this post, I timed this batch and I took them out after exactly 15 minutes. We all know oven temperatures differ, so I recommend keeping an eye on them.
These biscuits are worth the effort, although after a while I promise you won't think of it as an effort at all!