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Biscuits are among the most iconic southern foods. And let’s face it; there really is nothing better than a tender, buttery, freshly-baked biscuit.
My great-grandmother, Bigmamma, used to make her biscuits in an old dough bowl. They were a simple combination of flour, salt, baking powder, lard, and buttermilk. Nothing was ever measured, just dumped into the dough bowl and gently mixed. She rolled them out with a wooden rolling pin and cut them with a vienna sausage can that the top had been cut off of. She always baked them on a cast iron griddle (she always called it her biscuit pan).
My grandmother, Nanny, started measuring her ingredients and switched from lard to shortening. She still cut them with the same vienna sausage can and baked them on the same cast iron pan.
My mother didn’t make biscuits. She said she tried to make them one time, and they were so bad that even the chickens wouldn’t eat them. She was overjoyed when I started taking Home Economics in 9th grade, and the first thing we learned to make was biscuits. (I can’t prove it, but I’ve always had a feeling that was at my mom’s request.) From then on, it was my job to make biscuits every Sunday morning.
By then, we were using self-rising flour along with shortening and buttermilk. Through the course of my life and the thousands of breakfasts I have made, I have evolved it into a recipe that I love. To be honest, when I started to write it down for this blog, I realized I have never measured anything in this recipe. I guess I’m channeling Big Mamma, and I can’t imagine a more wonderful thing when it comes to cooking!
How do you make biscuits?
The most important things I can tell you about making biscuits is DON’T OVERWORK YOUR DOUGH! Other than that, always sift the flour and make sure the butter is cold. Grating the butter in instead of cutting it in with a pastry blender or fork or even your fingers (I was definitely guilty of this before I discovered grating the butter) and tossing it lightly with the flour makes for a much flakier biscuit. Mixing the buttermilk and sour cream together makes it much easier to incorporate into the flour and butter mixture without overworking it. Turn it straight out onto a floured surface, flour the top of the dough and roll it out. Don’t try to form it into a ball (or anything else) before you roll it out. When re-rolling the scraps, place them gently together. Don’t compress it back into a ball of dough! The rolling pin will do the work. Make sure you flour your biscuit cutter so that your cuts come out clean.
Can biscuits be frozen?
Absolutely! We do it all the time. Once every couple of weeks, I make a big batch of biscuits for breakfast. We put the leftovers in a ziploc and freeze them. They are great for those morning you are in a hurry and want something hot. Just pop your biscuits into the microwave for a few seconds, and you’re good to go. If you have a little more time, you can wrap it in foil and heat it in the oven. When it has thawed, open the foil and let it crisp up a little. That’s about as close as you can get to fresh baked.
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Tender, buttery, flaky. Everything a biscuit should be.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: app. 15 biscuits
- Category: Breads
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Southern
4 cups self-rising flour (or 4 cup all purpose flour + 2 Tablespoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon salt)
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream
1–3/4 cups buttermilk
- Whisk together sour cream and buttermilk. Set aside.
- Sift flour into a large mixing bowl.
- Grate (most important!) butter into flour and toss gently to combine.
- Stir in buttermilk mixture just until mixed. DO NOT OVERWORK!
- Turn out onto heavily floured surface and roll out.
- Cut biscuits with cutter, gathering up and re-rolling scraps.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
- Serving Size: 1 biscuit
- Calories: 269
- Sugar: .9g
- Sodium: 113mg
- Fat: 15.9g
- Saturated Fat: 9.9g
- Carbohydrates: 26.9g
- Fiber: .9g
- Protein: 4.6g
- Cholesterol: 40mg
Keywords: biscuits, buttermilk