Buttermilk Biscuits

Tomorrow is the 4th of July here in the US, and I can think of no better way to celebrate our nation’s independence than with a hearty breakfast of flaky and tender buttermilk biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuits 

For years I struggled with buttermilk biscuits.  Drop biscuits I had down pat.  I could make batches of those fluffy little wonders in my sleep.  However, the tender, layered biscuits that I grew up with eluded me.  They would either be hard as rocks with no layers at all, or they would be too homogeneous and fluffy.  If I wanted a flaky biscuit I either had to go to my grandmother’s or whack open one or those tubes of canned biscuits.  Really, they were not an option.

Buttermilk Biscuits 

All this changed when I attended culinary school.  In our Fundamentals of Baking class I learned a few tricks that guaranteed loads of tender layers each and every time.  Because I want you all to experience homemade biscuit bliss, here they are:

First – When rubbing in the fat you want a good portion, around 90%, to be the size of pecans.  It will look, and feel wrong at first.  Trust me on this, big fat equals big layers.

Second – When I say knead the dough I do not mean the traditional push and turn.  I want you to flatten the dough with your palm until the dough is an inch or so thick then fold the dough in half over itself.  You will repeat this ten times.  You will see the dry mess you start with and say, “No way!  This will never come together!”  Trust me.  It will.

Third – When cutting out biscuits NEVER TWIST THE CUTTER EVER!  Did I say ever?  Yes?  Good.  Even after you press down and you are sure the biscuit is cut don’t be tempted to twist.  Just shake the cutter back and forth gently.

Last – Egg wash.  It will turn what would be a tepid biscuit into a gloriously golden, irresistible biscuit.  You can skip it, it makes no difference in flavor, but in overall appeal you will not regret it.

Buttermilk Biscuits   

You have the knowledge.  Ready to give it a go? 

Buttermilk Biscuits   Yield 15 to 20 depending on cutter size and thickness

5 ounces bread flour
5 ounces all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 ounce sugar
3/4 ounce baking powder
3 1/2 ounces lard or butter, or a mix of each
6 1/2 ounces cold buttermilk
1 egg, beaten well

Heat your oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Buttermilk Biscuits Buttermilk Biscuits 

In a medium bowl weigh out your flours, salt, sugar, and baking powder.  Blend well then add the shortening.

Buttermilk Biscuits Buttermilk Biscuits 

Rub in the shortening with your fingers leaving the majority of the shortening in large pieces.

Buttermilk Biscuits Buttermilk Biscuits 

Add the buttermilk and gently fold into the flour mixture with a spatula, about five folds.  Turn out into a floured surface.  The dough will be very shaggy.

Buttermilk Biscuits Buttermilk BiscuitsButtermilk Biscuits 

Press the dough into a fat disk, then knead it ten times by pressing the dough out 1″ thick, folding the dough in half , turning it 1/4 turn and repeating.  Do not over knead.

Buttermilk Biscuits Buttermilk Biscuits 

Dust the surface with additional flour, and dust the dough, then roll out to your desired thickness.  (These were rolled out just over 1/2″ thick, but you can make them as thick as 1″ if you want really big biscuits.)  Cut out the biscuits with a cutter of your choice (Mine was 3″) making sure never to twist the cutter.  You can press the scraps together, kneading then three times using the method above, and cut out additional biscuits.  Discard any remaining scraps.

Buttermilk BiscuitsButtermilk Biscuits  

Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking pan and space them 1″ apart.  Brush with the beaten egg, making sure not to let the egg drip down the side.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops and bottoms are golden brown.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Serve immediately with butter and jam.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Or my favorite way … smothered with homemade sausage gravy.

Buttermilk Biscuits

© 2009, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • This look absolutely delicious, I want some right know. I’m not very good at making the layered ones but your instructions are very easy to follow. thanks

  • Hot Biscuits and homemade jam-yum! I agree on the no twist method. Makes a difference!

  • So delicious looking…I want to make some now!!!

  • Mmmm…buttermilk biscuits. Nothing beats it. Pour a little gravy over it. Yummy!!! You posted this just in time for the 4th. 😉

  • They look delicious. Might have to make some in the morning.
    Is your rolling pin a cut dowel or some other improvisation? Looks a lot like mine which started life as a hoe or rake handle.

  • Thanks for this recipe. My biscuits usually come out like hockey pucks, which is not what I’m going for.

  • These looks so flaky you can see all the layers.

    Biscuits always bring back fond memories. They’re one of the first “American” things I’ve learned to make. My first batch was horrible. I did every single thing I wasn’t supposed to do. Great tip on not twisting the cutter! I didn’t know that.

  • Ooh – I am a biscuit fanatic!! These look amazing. I will definitely be giving them a try!

  • This looks really yummy! I like the step-by-step!

  • I just picked up some buttermilk today and this post just reminded me to make a delicious batch of these!

  • This looks fantastic…
    I must admit, one of my fav. is bisquits and gravy. My mom use to make it all the time when I was a kid.

  • Your description brings back memories of watching my sisters and aunties making biscuits. And of course, the gravy! *drool*

  • Wow — I love the transformation between the glazed and baked photos. My fingers are itching to peel the layers apart. I bet these would be awesome with the vanilla rhubarb red currant jam I brought from London.

  • These are so, so gorgeous! I love a good biscuit and always seem to capture the flavor but never get the rise I want. I’m thinking your tips might help.

  • Yum, now I want to go bake…no sausage though, and I want that gravy too…like your blog, and look forward to following more!

  • I will be trying these babies this weekend for brunch. They look light and flaky. Can’t wait. Yum…yum….

  • Pingback: Bourbon Bacon Jam | Evil Shenanigans - Baking & Cooking Blog()

  • Crashing Boulder

    Just to satisfy my curiousity, why is it NOT a good idea to twist the biscuit cutter ever, ever, ever?

  • jwolfgang

    Hey Kelly! I’ve been working up to making some “American” biscuits here in Ireland, so I tried this one. I only had wholemeal flour on hand, and all butter. BUT, your recipe and technique I think may just be spot on! Just sampled the runt of the batch, and though it’s whole-wheaty, with a touch of honey they are delish. The texture is lovely!

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