A quick and easy one-bowl southern buttermilk biscuits recipe. A great recipe and great tips for making perfect buttermilk biscuits.
At one point in my life, I spoke with a southern accent and made this buttermilk biscuits recipe everyday for two weeks. Why? Because I thought it was cool. I often try to convince myself that I was switched as a baby; and my real mother is from the South (I only do this because I have nothing better to do). Sadly, I burst my own bubble by staring in the mirror to always come to the same conclusion, “Eh, you couldn’t have been switched- you have a Siddiqi nose!”
Although I may not be from the south (Hi, My Imaginary Southern Mom!), my appetite screams for southern cookin’, y’all (okay, I’ll stop). To me, southern food is pure American comfort food without a lot of fuss and a sink full of dishes.
At the center of it all are my favorite anytime-of-the-day quick breads- buttermilk biscuits. Soft, tender, buttery, and purely delicious. I maybe a Yankee, but I think I know biscuits pretty darn well. I am a very picky biscuit eater and I only believe in soft-sided biscuits. Some southerners are either agreeing with me and some are probably saying, “What the heck? Crusties are where it’s at!” It’s your personal preference.
Here are some tips to making great buttermilk biscuits:
- Make sure all of your ingredients are chilled (translation: chill the bowl and all of the ingredients you will be working with)
- The flour used when making biscuits (including buttermilk biscuits) is crucial. You’d think that it really doesn’t matter, but it does. Many great southern biscuits makers swear by the oh-so-famous White Lily brand; I rarely find find White Lily anywhere, so I use a combination of bleached all-purpose (unbleached has too much gluten in it) flour and cake flour (I prefer the Softasilk brand). Yes, it’s not the same, but as they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention” and when I have a biscuit craving, I need quick and fast; looking for White Lily in New York and New Jersey is like looking for a needle in a haystack– not my idea of a good time.
- Cold, Unsalted Butter is a necessity in my world. It’s delicious and adds a lot of flavor to the biscuits. I prefer using unsalted butter when making biscuits. Some might argue that salted butter is much better, but salted butter A) has less fat content than unsalted butter (which means that it has a lot more water content = less flavor [fat = flavor] and less tender biscuits). B) salted butter is not always fresh– the salt in it acts as a preservative; the last thing I want to eat is preserved butter. And finally- C) I prefer to control the salt content of anything I bake; most bakers do, but if salted butter is all you have on hand, use it, just keep in mind that you will have to cut back on the salt used in the recipe.
Unsalted Butter is not your only choice! There’s also shortening and lard (and dare I say duck fat?). Many people prefer using shortening or lard to make their biscuits because they make for very tender, flaky biscuits– it’s all a matter of preference. If you are one of those people that likes using shortening, lard, or duck fat- go for it!
Keep the fat cold
Make sure whatever fat you choose to use is cold (or frozen, if need be).
Use aluminum-free baking powder. The other kind is made with sodium aluminum sulfate and it makes baked goods taste bitter
A light touch is essential.
The less you touch the dough and worry less about uniformity- the better your biscuits will come out. Touching and working your dough too much melts the butter, and develops the gluten in the dough, making for tough biscuits.
Biscuit cutters or the rim of a glass make for uniform, beautiful southern biscuits, but please oh please- flour your biscuit cutter and DO NOT twist the biscuit cutter when cutting into the biscuit dough- cut straight down.
Twisting the biscuit cutter prevents your biscuits from puffing up to their full potential. If you are lazy like I am (and prefer more rustic-looking biscuits), simply cut your biscuits using a sharp knife. Remember: cut straight down, no sawing back and forth!
Pricking with a fork is entirely optional, it’s traditional, but it’s up to you. I am an occasional docker; it really depends on my mood.
For soft-sided biscuits
Crowd those babies on the pan, like it’s nobody’s business.
For biscuits with a bit more crust
Follow this biscuits recipe and space each of the biscuits evenly.
Once the biscuits come straight out of the oven
Serve them immediately- there is nothing as sad as a cold biscuit. Sure, you can keep them overnight in an air-tight container, or a re-sealable bag, and then re-heat them in the oven, but it really isn’t the same.