I'm whole-heartedly for eating and living healthier, but homemade biscuits are one comfort food I refuse to scratch off the list. Warm, flaky, right out of the oven and slathered in homemade blackberry jam and butter, it's a childhood memory I love to recreate for my family.
This treasured bit of baking knowledge has been handed down from both sides of my family – from mamaws and grandmas. My dad, however, is the biggest biscuit making influence, and I wait eagerly every year to get home for the holidays just to have some of "Brad's Biscuits."
The trick, my dad says, is not about measuring, although I recommend some form of it. He does it by feel. It's a method that takes some practice, but the result is so gratifying when you pull your first batch of perfect biscuits out of the oven.
Dad says that growing up, they had what was called "the biscuit bowl." Basically it was a large ceramic bowl with flour in it – quite possibly mixed with baking powder and baking soda, I don't rightly know. But his mother or grandmother would just pour in the necessary milk and, most likely, lard until the dough just came together.
They would toss out the dough and roll out the biscuits, covering up the rest of the flour until the next meal. As a Southerner, homemade biscuits for many folks were just as necessary at every meal as cornbread. This is still pretty common.
Even though I do not have a bowl sitting around ready for me to throw in some lard and buttermilk, I do have a particular bowl I like to use. Also – I don't use lard. Some people use vegetable shortening, but I use butter. You can switch out the butter for shortening if that is what you prefer.
If you'd rather use vegan options, soy or rice milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice can be substituted for buttermilk.
Twinkle's Buttery Biscuits
Adapted from Brad's Biscuits
3 ½ cups of whole wheat white flour
1 ½ cup buttermilk
1 tbs. + 1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. kosher or fine ground sea salt
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
Whisk your dry ingredients together – flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt – and set aside.
Chop your butter into squares or small cubes and sprinkle evenly across the top of the flour mixture.
Use your fingers to mix the butter and the flour, squeezing the butter into smaller pieces, drawing in the flour little by little.
When you've got the consistency – feel and look – of a soft cornmeal, then you can move to the next step. You can use a fork or a mixer, but you'll still need to feel the texture for your biscuits to come out just right.
Pour in the buttermilk little by little, just mixing it in the middle, until you get all the dry mix from around the edges incorporated.
Once it just comes together, knead once or twice into a blob and move to a clean, floured surface. You don't want to overmix it or the biscuits will be chewy and hard.
Press out the dough with your fingers. You can just make cathead biscuits – Southern-style biscuits made the size and shape of a cat's head, basically putting similar sized globs of dough onto the pan without rolling out the dough. I prefer to roll mine out a bit, a little less than an inch thick. I use a canning jar lid to cut out the biscuits.
Place your cut out biscuits on an ungreased, floured baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are brown.
Let biscuits cool a little, then slather with butter, jelly or gravy.
This recipe made about 10 large biscuits.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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