Chilled ingredients, a light touch, and the proper ingredients are crucial to making buttermilk biscuits. I prefer a soft-sided biscuit, so I place the biscuits very close together on the cookie sheet. If you prefer more of a crust on your biscuits, simply place each of the biscuits farther apart from each other. If you are using a biscuit cutter to cut your dough, try to cut each biscuit as close to the other as possible. You can re-roll the dough to make additional biscuits, but it won’t have the same puff as the others have; I would avoid rolling the dough out more than once.
Biscuit dough freezes exceptionally well, after cutting the dough, simply place the biscuits on a cookie sheet and freeze them. After they have frozen, place them in an air-tight re-sealable bag and bake them as needed. There is no need to defrost them, just take them from freezer to oven (add on a couple extra minutes onto your baking time)
If you do not have White Lily flour or cake flour on hand, you can use 2 cups of bleached all-purpose flour; it won’t make for a near-perfect biscuit, but the flavor and puff should still be there. If you plan on using White Lily flour, simply use 2 cups plus 4 tablespoons in place of the all-purpose flour and the cake flour.
1 ¾ cups (224 grams or 7.9 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour
Scant ⅓ cup (32 grams or 1.15 ounces) cake flour
4 teaspoons (18 grams or 1.65 ounces) aluminum-free baking powder
2 teaspoons (9.5 grams or .38 ounces) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon (1.5 grams or .05 ounces) fine grain sea salt
1 stick (½ cup, 113 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, chilled
⅔ cup (5 fluid ounces or 150ml) buttermilk
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF / 200ºC / Gas Mark 6.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, sugar, and se salt. Add in the cold butter (shortening, lard, or duck fat) and toss the butter in the flour. Using your finger tips or a pastry cutter, quickly cut and rub the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles pea-size pieces (or oats); it’s okay if the pieces are not uniform, that is what you want.
Pour in the buttermilk. Using a fork, mix everything until it just comes together (it’ll look like a shaggy mess). Lightly dust a work surface with cake flour or White Lily flour. Turn the dough out, lightly dust the top with flour, and gently knead the mass until it comes together.
Using a rolling pin or your hands, quickly flatten the dough out into a rectangle. Fold the short ends over the middle (like a letter) to make three layers. This is the first turn. Give the dough a quarter turn and flatten into a rectangle once again repeating the folding process. Repeat the flattening and folding once more.
Shape into a rectangle ½-inch thick. Using the tines of a fork, dock the dough. This is entirely optional. If you are in a docking mood, go for it- if you aren’t in a docking mood- simply proceed to the next step.
Cut out the biscuits using a 2 to 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter (being careful not to twist the cutter as you are cutting the biscuits) or using a sharp knife, cut the biscuits into squares.
Gently move each biscuit to a parchment (or silicone mat)-lined baking sheet and place about 1-inch apart for biscuits with a crust or place the biscuits close to one another about ½-inch apart. Lightly brush the tops of each biscuit with some milk or buttermilk.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until they are tall, puffed and are blushing with a lightly golden brown color around the edges. If you intend on making smaller biscuits, check on them around 9 minutes of baking.