Flakey buttermilk biscuits are a Southern favorite. If you’ve been following my blogs, you know I didn’t inherit strong cooking genes. My sweet Southern grandmother, bless her heart, made biscuits (naturally!) but they were “Cat Head biscuits” – meaning if you threw them at a cat’s head, you’d probably kill it. Like a rock.
Despite her biscuits, I have fond memories of the huge breakfasts she used to make for us. Gravy, sausage, eggs, bacon.. cholesterol hadn’t been invented yet! She’s the main reason I love to make a big breakfast on the weekends, so I’m dedicating this recipe to her. Thank you, Nanny.
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1/3 cup Crisco shortening
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp melted butter
Self-rising flour really is the key to biscuits. I know you’re not supposed to have to add baking powder and salt to self-rising flour, but different brands of flour vary slightly. I’m using Gold Medal here, and so I’ve added the baking powder and salt.
You can also make a smaller batch of these biscuits by dividing the recipe in half. The small batch makes about 4 – 6. A full batch makes 6-8, depending on the size of your biscuit cutter. I like to use a small cutter. The biscuits seem to cook more evenly and rise more. Here we go…
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Prepare a pan to bake the biscuits. I use a small cast iron skillet. Cast iron makes the bottom of the biscuits a little crispy. You can also use a baking pan. Whatever pan you use, make sure it will fit in your microwave (I’ll explain later!). Rub the pan with butter or Crisco.
Start with 2 cups flour in a bowl and stir in your baking powder and salt. Use your fingers to mix the shortening into the flour until crumbly.
Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Again, mix with your fingers until you have a very sticky dough. If it’s too wet, sprinkle it with a little flour and mix in. You don’t want dry dough – you want the dough to be sticky enough to get all over your fingers, but not dipping wet.
After washing your hands, sprinkle flour on the counter and pat the dough into the thickness you desire. About 1/2″ or slightly more is fine.
Here comes the fun part: biscuit cutting!
Another great tip (besides the self-rising flour) is to put your biscuits in a proofer for a few minutes before baking. Don’t have a proofer? Sure you do! Heat a bowl of water in the microwave for 2 minutes until it’s steamy. That’s your proofer! Now put your pan of biscuits into the microwave for 3-5 minutes and let sit (don’t turn the microwave back on!).
After letting them proof, you should notice that they are slightly risen. Put them in the oven immediately for 8-10 minutes. The time will vary slightly depending on the size biscuit you cut.
After 8-10 minutes, they should be nearly done (risen but not quite golden). Take them out and brush them with the melted butter. Now put them back in the oven on broil just until golden. Watch them closely! They can go from golden to “too dry” quickly!
Serve with jelly or gravy for breakfast, or fried chicken for dinner. If you’re not sure how to fry chicken, that’s coming up soon!