Buttermilk Biscuits

We WERE speaking of buttermilk just yesterday, remember?  Okay, so.  I thought today I would write a post on How To Make Homemade Biscuits.  Because the making of homemade biscuits is a lost art.  Or an art that never was, here in Yankeeland. Either way, it’s a sad, SAD state of affairs when homemade biscuits become a dying breed.  It’s a sure sign of the decline of a culture.

But never fear.  Making a homemade biscuit is not difficult.  It just takes a little bit of know-how.  And a fresh carton of buttermilk.  (Or a buttermilk substitute.)

Buttermilk Biscuits

This recipe is from the Mrs. Rowe’s Favorite Recipes — a cookbook I got from the Rowe’s Family Restaurant in Staunton, Virginia.  This cookbook is LITERALLY falling apart and I can’t seem to find it online.  I’d love to replace it.  The next time my parents stop through Staunton on their way to visit me (they always stop at Mrs. Rowe’s for b’fast) I am going to have them inquire.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. baking powder
  • ⅔ cup shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. With a pastry blender (or two knives if you don't have a pastry blender) cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  This part is important.  Unlike a pie crust, you do not want big chunks of shortening.
  3. Stir in just enough buttermilk so the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and rounds up into a ball.  (You may not need the entire cup of buttermilk.)  Do NOT overmix.  This makes the dough tough.  You want it light and flaky.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly 10-15 times.  Roll out or pat into a circle that's about a half-inch thick -- not too thin.
  5. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter (or the rim of a glass, if you don't have a biscuit cutter) and place them in an ungreased baking pan.  You can space them about an inch apart if you want them crusty around the edges, but I usually place them close together so they are softer.
  6. Bake at 475 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until they are light brown on top.  Eat them immediately, slathered with butter and topped with your choice of condiment -- honey, molasses, apple butter, sausage gravy...  The list is infinite.

Photo credit: purchased on iStockphoto