The Delicious Biscuit - Heidi's Book of Noms Blog at - 89753

Heidi's Book of Noms

The Delicious Biscuit 
Apr. 15, 2009 7:25 pm 
Updated: Apr. 16, 2009 1:34 pm
Another beautiful morning in Austin, a morning that said to me "Get in that kitchen and make some biscuits!" Today I'm going to use my standard Betty Crocker biscuit recipe. I almost feel bad for not trying a new recipe, but there's something to be said for warm, soft dusty buttermilk biscuits that I don't care to experiment with this morning.

I inherited my love of biscuits from my Dad who made them for us as a special treat on weekends (usually Sunday before Church). He always insisted on buttermilk and I just thought that was THE way to make them, I also thought it was weird since that was the only thing we used buttermilk for. That is how my parents approached most meals: one recipe, no experimentation. They probably did experiment with meals when they were younger, but as we grew up I knew one version. So I always use buttermilk, and so should you! I only recently learned that buttermilk makes for a "lighter" fluffier product when compared with milk.

My Dad has a mental recipe he's developed that uses less sugar, but I just use the one taken from good 'ol Betty Crocker. I'm sure this recipe is on this site somewhere or other, but here it is

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients together (this is an important step according to Dad for making them light and fluffy), then cut in the shortening with pastry blender or two knives until it is coarse looking "meal." I used to hate this step till I got a pastry blender, which gives you more evenly cut meal and less work. Lots of recipes say to get it to "pea sized" grains, but the rule of thumb I use is to just cut in the shortening until the meal is dense enough to cling together in a loose lump when spooned over, but soft enough to crumble when you touch that lump with your spoon. The lump might look like its a big shortening ball but really its meal. I included a pic of my dough down there.

It doesn't seem to matter how you pour the buttermilk in (I usually add between 3/4 and 1 cup), what matters most is how you mix it. You want it to look like a wet soft dough. Mix by turning the dough with your spoon, don't swirl it. You don't want to perfectly blend it like for cake batter or brownies - if you do that makes the biscuits tough. After maybe 30 sec of mixing turn the bowl over and let the dough fall out on a floured surface. There's no need to make it into a nice tight ball.

Then put some flour on your hands and gently press the dough till it's kneadable. I like to put a good bit of flour on my hands when I go to knead it because biscuit dough can be VERY sticky and get ALL over your hands, which you'll discover when you touch the dough. I used to hate that about biscuits. Knead it gently a few times, but's not a yeast bread. I just turn it over in half and press a few times. The biscuits separate in nice, neat halves if you fold the dough in half before cutting it out.

You can roll out the dough with a pin but I don't like to make more dishes, so I just pat it down to about 1 inch thick. Cut out the biscuits with a sharp slightly twisting push motion, and flour the edge of the cutting piece. Once I had to use the end of a drinking glass because that was all we had but a biscuit cutter's best.

Gently place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet. The dough should be cool to touch, light, and soft. A tip: Biscuits don't spread out, they spread up, so you can fit about 15 on one sheet. Bake them for 10 minutes at 450, then check them every minute after until they're the right "doneness" for you. The bottom of the biscuit is the best judge. It should be golden brown, but not burnt.

Make very sure that your oven isn't too hot or too cold. I use my trusty oven thermometer which lets me know my oven is always about 50F too hot.

I think one of my favorite parts is the odd biscuit out, the "goofie" biscuit, the one that is made of leftover dough not big enough to cut out. They always end up in weird shapes.

Practically says this about making biscuits: "The dough is mixed just enough to blend all the ingredients, but not enough to develop any gluten. The dough is rolled out about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and cut into pieces, and cooked for about 15 minutes.  When cutting the dough, try to use as sharp a blade or cutter as possible, as a blunt one will end up sealing the edges thus affecting rising."

I hope my biscuit tips help you make a GREAT batch o plain, simple, buttermilk biscuits :)
Cutting Shortening into Flour for Biscuits
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Oven Thermometer
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Biscuit Dough
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Buttermilk Biscuits
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Buttermilk Biscuits
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Apr. 15, 2009 10:48 pm
Thanks! I am so bad at biscuits but I see that I've been doing a couple things wrong. I'm going to try them again. Thanks for the tips :)
Apr. 16, 2009 4:43 am
Girrrrrlll, I gotta stick of butta and me and "Paula" are on our way!!! K?
Apr. 16, 2009 8:46 am
I have never made biscuits before. I was always scared to! But these look great... I might just have to try them out on the weekend. Thanks for tips!! :]
Apr. 16, 2009 9:44 am
I have to tell you.. truth is, I do biscuits the hard way; the southern way. You MUST have buttermilk and only God knows how many of us have made these delights using lard! Hey, Emerill uses "LAWD". But most of us from my neck of the hood (Tarheel) use "LARRRRRDD! Stretch those R's girls, you'll get it. We mix it by hand, knead it just so and pinch off the dough and put it in a "biscuit pan" that's a dedicated pan no longer used for anything else; generally a 9 inch round cake pan for those of us with smaller families. My daughter watched me make biscuits from the time she could climb up into a chair until she was well into her 20's before she got brave enough to do them herself. We did switch from Larrrrrdd to solid vegetable shortening (Crisco). Is it any wonder my poor hubby's BP is sky high? Silly Gramma.
Apr. 16, 2009 9:46 am
Those "must haves" are buttermilk, not the low fat or non fat kind, self rising flour and Larrrrrrdd! Okay, Crisco.
Apr. 16, 2009 12:11 pm
Larrrrdd!! I was born and raised in the south Gma and know the importance of lard!! haha My grandma makes biscuits the same way!! Although, she is from Germany. But she makes her biscuits like her mother in law used to. (my great grandma RIP)
Apr. 16, 2009 1:34 pm
Whoa I thought I loved biscuits but you ladies put me to shame! I wouldn't even know where to get real lard...does HEB sell that? Maybe the Fiesta grocery store?
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About Me
I enjoy trying new recipes and unusual ingredients. There are few foods I will turn down without a second thought - sweets is one of them, and fiery hot spicy food is the other. As I'm getting older that is changing, though. I love reading cook books and doing research about food. It fascinates to no end! I usually create a recipe from several different ones. On the non-cooking side of things, I'm a Christian, native Texan and faithful Longhorn with two cats and a great boyfriend! I love the outdoors and spending time with my family and friends. I'm also somewhat obsessed with the nuclear winter and extreme survival situations.
My favorite things to cook
In general I try to cook from scratch. Any kind of bread - rolls, loaves, boules, baguettes, buns, biscuits, quick breads - will catch my eye. Pastas, soups, and cookies. I am absolutely in love with cake batter. Once I had a party in middle school where we just made a bunch of cakes and ate the batter.
My favorite family cooking traditions
The Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey/waldorf salad/mashed potatoes with gravy by my mom, buttermilk biscuits on Sunday morning before church from my Dad, grilling hamburgers in the summer in the backyard, black eyed peas for new years dinner, decorating sugar cookies on Christmas Eve with my sister, coffee any time of the night.
My cooking triumphs
I can rival my dad in his biscuit making ability. I have the perfect dinner roll recipe - my very own. I taught myself how to make jam and jelly. I taught myself how to make bread!
My cooking tragedies
dense as a stone wheat bread, homemade condensed milk tastes weird key lime pie, onions and sugar have no place hanging out together in mashed sweet potato, there's nothing puffy about my lemon meringue, and the bottom of the fish tank poached salmon.
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