How To Make Buttermilk Biscuits
(Originally published July 1, 2008) I told my mother I was going to do a web tutorial on how to make buttermilk biscuits, a staple in the south. She said “Oh, you HAVE to do that new recipe!”. Now, admittedly, these are awfully good. So good, in fact, that my mother has abandoned the long taught family method in lieu of this one. The finished product is lighter and more tender than our usual biscuit and it is worth the effort. If you have had problems in the past with your biscuits turning out to be more like hockey pucks than our beloved southern staple, this recipe is the one for you.
The cast! Featuring milk from Piggly Wiggly, butter or margarine, a tablespoon of lemon juice added (because I rarely have buttermilk in the house so this is a homemade concoction), and self rising flour. That’s it! (The actual recipe is at the bottom of this page)
For those of you who have no idea what self rising flour is….
This is only IF you don’t have self rising flour available where you live.
Put your flour in a bowl (With the salt and baking powder stirred into it if you don’t have self rising) and toss in the margarine. Now you need a pastry cutter or just fork with long tines , which is what I use.
Reckon I’m just not fancy enough for the pastry cutter.
I actually own three of the dern things. They’re floating around here somewhere…
Sit down and turn on the tv, this will take a few minutes (make sure your butter is cold).
When it looks like this and you can’t find any lumps of butter, you’re good to go . Stick this bowl in the fridge for ten to fifteen minutes. If this is your first time making biscuits with this method, I recommend fifteen. The colder it is, the easier the next step is going to be.
Stir it around and let it sit a minute or two.
I like to roll out waxed paper or do this on a large baking sheet so I don’t have such a hassle with the counter top.
Most folks just use the counter top though.
Be generous with the flour, you’re going to need it.
Brush some flour on your hands and then wipe down your rolling pin really well. This is a family heirloom. My great grandmother bought it with green stamps for my mother when she was twelve. Once you have flour on your dough and on your hands, knead the dough with your hands two or three times. Don’t over knead your dough!
I always say: In dough, as in relationships, it is never good to be too (k)needy.
How do you knead your biscuit dough? If you’ve never done this before. Just place your dough ball (or wad as I call it. Attractive term, huh?) on a flat surface and then press down on it with the heel of your hand. Then fold it over into a bit of a ball again and repeat with the heel of your hand once more. You’ve just kneaded your dough twice. Stop there because we really don’t want to over knead and that is the most common mistake I’ve encountered in people’s biscuits turning out flat.
The second most common mistake I’ve encountered when biscuits turn out flat is someone who has accidentally followed the recipe for self rising flour biscuits using all purpose flour.
Roll it out until it is about 3/4 of an inch. Then lightly square it off with your hands. It should be about 9×5 inches at this point. You are going to have to stop after rolling it the first time and wipe down your rolling pin with flour again, as well as sprinkle some more on the dough to keep it from sticking.
Here is where these little suckers take on a bit of arrogance in my book. Normally, you would just roll it out and cut them, but in this recipe we want tender little pillowy biscuits, so we’re going to put a little more effort in them. Take one side of your dough and roll it over to the middle. Repeat with the next side until you have something like this.
I know this is awfully wet but go with me here……
Now pat or roll that out with your hands back to the original 3/4 inch and gently shape it back into a rectangle.
Repeat this process of folding over and patting out two more times. Don’t be afraid to dust your surface and your dough with a little more flour if need be. Oh, and you didn’t really have to use the rolling pin, you could have just patted it out all along with your hands, but I wanted to show you my heirloom rolling pin!
Now we’re ready to cut our biscuits. Most folks would use a biscuit cutter for this, but diehard southerners know one of the best way to do it is to use a swanky swig! Tin can is also acceptable as is a drinking glass. I used a smaller mouthed swanky swig because I prefer a bit smaller biscuits. I have small people in my house.
What is a swanky swig? Typically, it is a jelly jar which was decorated by the company to add charm and flair, thereby making it “swanky”.
Cut out your biscuits by pushing straight down with your glass, don’t twist it. I didn’t really waste all of this dough but I was trying to make it look a little more uniform for the picture. Normally, we cut them suckers one right on top of the other, then wad up the leftovers, pat it out, and cut again.
A lot of readers have said that they cut their biscuits with pizza cutters and just do a grid pattern. This ends up with square biscuits but no wasted dough! I do this every now and then myself.
While still hot, brush with melted butter.
Now you’re done!
Alrighty, here is the actual recipe and I promise I will put an easier one up on my blog eventually but after doing all of this work to get the tutorial posted, I’m thinking these aren’t that pretentious after all.
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*For instructions on how to make your own Self Rising Flour, please see the FAQ section of my site by clicking here.
VOILA!! I’m done!!!!
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