Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
No discussion of southern cuisine is complete without talking about biscuits. Buttermilk biscuits to be precise. I mean, it doesn’t get anymore southern than this. There are families that serve these biscuits at every meal. Most likely the recipe has been handed down for generations. I was inspired to make these buttermilk biscuits from some biscuits I had eaten on a recent road trip.
Southern biscuits are considered a quick bread. They don’t take long to form, and they don’t take long to bake. But, you need to work fast so that everything stays cold. Most biscuits are defined as either tender or flaky. Tender biscuits are a lot like a muffin. The dough is very wet. Usually they are made as drop biscuits. Flaky biscuits are made by folding the dough on top of itself. They resemble the canned biscuits you buy at the grocery store. Southern biscuits are both flaky and tender.
Buttermilk Biscuits Technique
Making this dough is more about technique than a recipe. The number one rule is that everything has to be cold. By everything, I mean everything. Put the bowl, and any utensils in the refrigerator the night before. The butter needs to go into the freezer. We want the butter to be cold when it goes into the oven. Some people even dip their hands in ice water before starting. When working with the dough be gentle. Handle it as little as possible. Don’t press or overwork the dough. This will make the dough dense and tough.
More Southern Biscuit Technique
Another aspect of these biscuits is the flour. Some folks swear by Lily White flour, and others use all-purpose flour. Either one is fine, but don’t use too much. Use the amount in the recipe, but go easy on the flour when working with the dough. The dough should be somewhat sticky. Please do this by hand. A mixer or food processor will create too much heat. When cutting the biscuits, cut straight down. Don’t twist the cutter. It’s best if you flour the cutter between biscuits. Finally, you need to grate the frozen butter, and this is key. It will help keep the butter cold.
These Buttermilk Biscuits Will be Good
While this is a lot to remember, your biscuits will be tasty. It may take some practice to fine tune the process, but don’t forget to enjoy the results. People seem to fret over making biscuits, but you shouldn’t. Relax, and enjoy your time in the kitchen. When these biscuits are done, the smell will permeate your home, and it’s magnificent! Break out some butter and honey or preserves. Put some country ham on these beauties, and serve them to your guests. Hell, put anything on them, and you will see what I mean. This is southern food at it’s finest.
Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Frozen
- 1 Cup Buttermilk, Cold
- 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted
- Pre-heat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda.
- Grate the butter using the large holes of a cold box grater. Transfer the butter to the dry mixture. Quickly break up any clumps of butter with your fingers as you add the butter.
- Mix in the buttermilk, stirring with a cold wooden spoon. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but it should also be very sticky. Put the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured board or counter top. Sprinkle a little flour on top, but just a little. You can add a little more flour as you go, but just enough so that the dough is manageable. Gently pat the dough out into a one inch rectangle. Fold the dough end over end onto itself, then pat it down again. Alternate folding from side to side and patting down four to five times.
- Pat the dough out to a one inch thickness. Use a two inch cold biscuit cutter, and cut out rounds. Dust the cutter with flour between cutting the biscuits.
- Place the biscuits on the baking sheet so that they touch each other, but not the sides of the pan. Bake 14 to 15 minutes or until they are a light golden brown on top. Remove the biscuits from the oven, and immediately brush them with the melted butter. Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.