My Grandma was always baking. An evening didn’t go by when she would call out from the kitchen, “Daddy, do you want cake or pie for dessert?” Grandpa always answered “both,” and that’s what he got because Grandma always had both freshly made resting on the washing machine. And on Sunday, when we had the traditional roast for supper, there were always Grandma’s homemade buttermilk biscuits on the table.
That’s where I learned to make biscuits in my Grandma’s kitchen, perched on the top of the chair/step stool, watching everything Grandma did. But that is not where this recipe comes from. See, Grandma never used a recipe for most of her baking. She had made biscuits, devils food cake, apple pie, peach pie cobbler, and chocolate chip cookies, so often, the recipes were all in her head. Baking was simply muscle memory for her.
I am not that talented. Even with something with as few ingredients as biscuits, I want a recipe to refer to. So I set to work reviewing all the homemade buttermilk biscuit recipes I could find, baking them up, and comparing them to my memory of that Sunday dinner so many, many years ago.
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What I Found In My Search for Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits
I learned you could get pretty fancy making biscuits using cream or honey. You can add a whole lot of other savory flavorings like cheese and herbs (there are pages and pages on the internet dedicated to mimicking Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits).
Most homemade buttermilk biscuits are round-shaped. You can use a cookie-cutter or a glass. A glass usually has a thicker rim and may press down and seal part of the dough, which is not ideal. I don’t have a round cookie cutter, but I do have a 3″ top to my cocktail shaker that works perfectly for my biscuits.
But if you don’t have anything round to cut your biscuits you can just cut them in squares, totally ok!
You can make “drop biscuits” Drop biscuits eliminate the need to shape and cut; you literally drop the biscuits onto the baking sheet!
Lastly, did you know scones are biscuits? Yes, they are, and you know how many shapes and flavors scones come in. And don’t even get me started on cookies, which in the UK is what you get when you go looking for a biscuit.
Tips For Making The Best Biscuits
- Don’t just guess you have two cups of flour; measure it out and level it off.
- It’s best to use unsalted butter, but if all you have is salted butter, that’s ok; just reduce the amount of salt in the recipe from 1/2 tsp to 1/4 tsp.
- I grate frozen butter on an old-fashioned box grater. Using grated butter makes the dough come together faster.
- Make sure your butter is very cold. After I gate the butter, I place it back in the freezer for 5 minutes or so. I usually put the buttermilk in the freezer at the same time to make sure it is good and cold too.
- Resist the urge to make the dough perfect. If you overwork the dough, you will end up with tougher, flatter biscuits.
- Once the dough is ready, cut the biscuits quickly and get them in the oven. The rising agents (baking soda and baking powder) start to work as soon as you add the liquid. You do not need to “proof” the dough as you do with bread. The longer you wait to bake, the less rise you will have in your biscuits.
- Don’t twist the biscuit cutter when cutting your biscuit dough. Twisting seals the edges of the biscuit and will prevent a high-rising biscuit.
- Placing the biscuits on the baking sheet just touching each other increases the rise. The biscuits are forced to go up since they can’t go out.
Light fluffy and tender, these homemade buttermilk biscuits have earned a place on your table.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter (frozen)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set it aside.
- Using a box grater - grate the butter using the large grates - return the butter to the freezer.
- Measure out the 3/4 cup buttermilk and place it in the freezer.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- Get the butter and buttermilk from the freezer.
- Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix until all the butter is coated.
- Add the cold buttermilk to the mixture and gently work all ingredients until the dough starts to come together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, gather the dough together
- Flatten the dough out into a 1/2" layer, fold it over on itself, and flatten it to 1/2" again. Take care not to overwork the dough.
- Using a round cookie cutter, dipped in flour, cut out as many biscuits as you can from the dough and place them on the prepared baking sheet touching each other.
- Gather together the scraps of dough and flatten it out to 1/2" to cut out the remaining biscuits.
- Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until the biscuits have risen and the tops are golden brown.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 467mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g