Saturday, June 29, 2013

Classic Buttermilk Biscuits

After the 2013 Southern Baking Retreat, I couldn't help but come home and bake biscuits.  This resulted in a delicious explosion of flour in my kitchen, but it's so worth the mess.  Homemade biscuits have always been a favorite thing of mine to make.  Mostly in part because it brings back all those wonderful memories of being in the kitchen with my grandmother, cutting biscuits with an upside-down sweet tea glass.  Plus, I'm a self-proclaimed "bread girl," so no meal is complete without some sort of biscuit, toast or roll on the side.

When it comes right down to it, is there any food more quintessentially southern and delicious than a well-made buttermilk biscuit?  

It's an art form in itself.  Even though there's really only 3 ingredients involved - flour, butter & buttermilk - so much can go right, or so much can go wrong on any given biscuit-making day.

It's all about the technique and ingredients that you use: 
  • Southern flours, like White Lily, are made from soft winter wheat, and therefore have much lower levels of protein.  This results in lighter, fluffier and more tender biscuits.  
  • In addition, always use COLD butter and buttermilk.  
  • Work quickly while making the biscuits, so that the ingredients stay cold.  Once that cold butter hits the hot oven, it will create steam, which helps the biscuits rise higher. 
  •  And most importantly - Use a gentle hand and do not over-mix.
This recipe is a delicious, yet basic one that I've always used.  Biscuits only get better with lots of practice, so don't be afraid to make a flour-y mess of your own.  :)

Bon Appetit, my friends!

Classic Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups Southern, self-rising flour (such as White Lily brand)
1/4 cup COLD, salted butter, cut into cubes
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk 
2 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or coat with no-stick cooking spray.

Pour flour into a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender, cut 1/4 cup cold butter into the flour until butter pieces are the size of peas.

Slowly blend in buttermilk using a fork, just until dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl.  Do not over-mix!

Place dough onto a lightly floured work surface and very gently knead the dough 2-3 times, just enough to bring it together.  Do not over-knead. 

Pat or roll the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick.  Cut biscuits using a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, being careful NOT to twist as you cut.  (This will seal the edges and prevent the biscuits from rising as high.)

Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, so that they are almost touching.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

While still hot, brush additional melted butter on the top of each biscuit.

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Jennifer | Bake or Break said...

Yum! I've been wanting to bake biscuits ever since I got back from Nashville. They are on my agenda next week. Yours look delicious!

Celeste said...

Thanks, Jennifer! So happy to have met you at the Southern Baking Retreat! :)