If there's something more Southern than made-from-scratch biscuits, I truly don't know what it is. One of my all-time favorite things, I'll take a hot, fresh, salty biscuit any time of the day.
You see, there's this thing about biscuits and recipes - the good ones don't exist. If you ask your mama or grandma, they won't give you their secret recipe, they'll put an apron on you and invite you into the kitchen to watch, test and practice your way to perfecting the biscuits you grew up with. I actually think biscuits tend to be one of the first made-from-scratch recipes folks generally learn to make for this reason.
When I was in the very early stages of the concept + design process for our new biscuit cutter, I consulted with my stepmom, the master biscuit maker of them all. She grew up in Kentucky and since I was a child, her biscuits and white gravy was always one of my favorites. I wanted to make sure the biscuit cutter was both beautiful AND practical / functional and her biscuit making tips truly helped to lead a few design elements of the cutter. And, helped me nail these buttermilk biscuits too.
A few things I know to be true for a good Southern biscuit - always use White Lily flour, buttermilk and lard, over another butter or shortening ingredient. It will give you that biscuit texture, hint to tang, and smooth, authentic flavor you can't quite put your finger on.
SOUTHERN BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
2 cups White Lily all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBSP baking powder
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
6 TBSP cold lard
1 cup cold buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix together. Take your tablespoon and scoop 6 TBSP of cold lard into your bowl of dry ingredients. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the lard into the flour mixture so it makes a coarse / pebble-like mixture.
Next, pour your buttermilk into the meal and stir just a few turns until combined. Don't over mix as it will only make for a tough biscuit at the end.
Generously flour your countertop or cutting board, as well as your hands. The dough will be rather wet and sticky at this point. Pat the dough out until it is approximately 1/2" thick and then add another dusting of flour across the top of your dough.
Then, proceed to fold the dough over onto itself a few times, finally patting the dough to about a 1" thickness. Remember not to overwork the dough or ever use a rolling pin.
Finally, use your biscuit cutter to punch out your biscuits. Remember not to twist and turn, but instead to cleanly punch out each biscuit so as not to "seal" the edges of the dough. I also learned to dip my biscuit cutter in a little flour before each punch just to ensure no dough sticks. Once you cut all your biscuits, take the leftover dough scraps and pat gently to another 1" thick to cut a final biscuit or two. With this recipe I was able to cut 5 good sized biscuits.
Choose a small-sized, high sided pan (I generally use my cake pan) and place biscuits next to each other so they are touching in the pan. While your oven was preheating to 375 degrees, once you place your pan inside the oven immediately crank up the heat to about 450 degrees for a super hot oven. This will help to give you a little crispness on the outside while keeping your biscuit moist and delicious on the inside.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes and try to refrain from opening the oven door to peek inside, again to keep the steam inside and get a super moist biscuit as a result.
If you happened to make our Homemade Butter recipe to go along with your biscuits, you're in luck and will have the tastiest breakfast around. And, you could have used the buttermilk leftover from the butter recipe to make your biscuits as well.
Enjoy! The secret to biscuits is watching, learning and practicing. It takes a while to perfect, so you might have many biscuit tastings ahead of you but once you get the mixture and combination right, you'll always know how to make the biscuits you grew up loving. A little trial and error goes a long way.
Love to know your family secret to making the perfect biscuit!