Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

Growing up in the south, biscuits were expected to be at every family gathering.  Whether we were eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner - biscuits were there.  I always thought my mom made the best biscuits until I met Joey.  And hands down, his grandmother makes the best (sorry, Mom!).  They are light, fluffy, and buttery.  I've always been too intimidated to try a proper biscuit.  I've made drop biscuits and cheddar biscuits, but never an honest to goodness, fluffy, flaky, buttermilk biscuit.  However on New Year's morning, I wanted nothing more than a big, fluffy biscuit.  The weather was yucky, and fast food biscuits are too greasy, so I decided to go for it and finally try my hand at them.  Plus, how can I call myself a proper southern lady if I've never made fluffy buttermilk biscuits?

Enter the Lee Brothers.  Anytime I am searching for a classic southern recipe, I turn to them first.  They have yet to disappoint me, these biscuits included.  I knew the important things about biscuit-making:  keep your butter cold and use a light hand with handling the dough.  I know lard is considered to be a must of southern cooking, but I just can't bring myself to use it.  So I just used all butter, and maybe my layers weren't quite as flaky, I will take the trade-off.  I also brushed the tops with a little melted butter - because I just felt like it would be a good addition.

Joey has been totally spoiled all his life by his Nana's biscuits, but he gave these his stamp of approval.  And Caroline probably would have eaten the whole batch if we'd let her. These were perfectly flaky (look at those layers!), nice and fluffy, and soft and tender with a crispy outside.  All things I love in a biscuit, and I have a feeling these will be making another appearance this weekend for breakfast.

One Year Ago:  Pork Tenderloin with Pears and Shallots

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits
adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
makes 10-12 biscuits
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 Tbs plus 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • 2 Tbs melted butter, for brushing
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Pulse several times to combine well.  Add the butter and lard and continue to pulse in 2-second increments, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized pieces (about 5 pulses).  This can also be done using a pastry blender or 2 forks if you don't have a food processor.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, pour the buttermilk over it, and use a fork to mix for about 1 minute, or until the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead with floured hands, and pat into a rectangle about 6x10 inches and 1-inch thick.

Fold the dough like a business letter (the righmost third over the center third, then the left third on top).  Turn the dough a quarter of a turn, pat it into another 6x10 inch rectangle, and fold it upon itself in thirds again.  Repeat one more time, then pat the dough into a 6x10 inch rectangle a final time.

Using a floured 2-3 inch biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits from the dough and place them about 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Pat the scraps into a 1-inch thick rectangle and cut more biscuits.

Brush the tops with half the melted butter, and bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are just beginning to brown.  Brush the tops again with the remaining butter and serve warm.


Unknown said...

Wow, gorgeous biscuits - look at all of those layers! And on your first try? Congrats :)

Blog is the New Black said...

Your biscuits look wonderful! I've only made them once, and I thought they were fun to make.

Talar said...

The biscuits look great! My husband is from the south, so I always over-indulge on biscuits when we go to visit his family because you really never see them up in the northeast. And I've flipped through the Lee Bros. cookbook too many times to count (borrowed it from the library) -- tons of great recipes!

Nikki (Pennies on a Platter) said...

I'll take butter over lard as well, even if it means not as flaky. :) These are beautiful!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Jodi, how wonderful and flaky your biscuits look! Perfect~

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

JoSie!! So sorry :(

Rachel said...

These look amazing!

katie said...

I cannot wait to try them! Can you get your hands on Nana's recipe?

Culinarian said...

Baking good buttermilk biscuits is a priceless ability. I bet you worked hard to get down the utter tasty beauty that lies within those biscuits. Well done! If you ever want professional culinary advice, check out my blog :)

Heather said...

I've been using J.P.'s Big Daddy Biscuit recipe (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/JPs-Big-Daddy-Biscuits/Detail.aspx) off allrecipes for awhile and loved the taste, texture, and appearance. While the recipe is very similar to this one, I admire that this recipe uses butter rather than shortening and buttermilk rather than milk. I'll definitely be trying this one out. Thanks!

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

Oh Josie, these biscuits are making my mouth water, as are all of your other delicious photos - You truly are a talent in the kitchen and behind the camera! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Happy new year to you and your family, too! I'm so glad I found your blog.

Michelle said...

I found a good recipe a while back but two things failed. For one thing, I didn't have a biscuit cutter, I used a glass. Which I'm told does not givea good rise. And now I relaize the recipe did not have me fold in the layers. I think I'll give yours a try soon.

Josie said...

She keeps saying she'll teach me, but the hard thing about sharing it on the blog is that she doesn't measure anything - it's all done by feel and look. I do know she makes Angel biscuits though, which are yeasted. They are light and fluffy like you've never had before!

Josie said...

That is so sweet of you to say, thanks so much! You have a beautiful blog too - happy New Year to you as well!

Josie said...

You know, I'm not sure about the glass thing - the recipe actually said you could use a biscuit cutter or a glass. Joey's Nana actually uses an old soup can!

Kelsey said...

YES! This is the recipe I will use. I love, love, love my biscuits. They were a staple growing up in Oklahoma, too. To this day, one bite of a good biscuit takes me right back.

katie said...

I made them for breakfast this morning, they were wonderful!

katie said...

I made them for breakfast this morning, they were wonderful!

Michael and Natalie said...

I didn't see lard in the ingredient list, but I did see it in the directions. Is there supposed to be some lard or not? I want to make these tomorrow but I wasn't sure if I had the ingredients necessary.

Josie said...

Michael and Natalie,
If you are using lard, you would add it in that step. But I only used butter, so use the amount listed in the ingredient list. Hope you enjoy!

Alice said...

I made these today and they were so light and flaky! Very delicious - I think this replaces my previous "go to" recipe :)

Josie said...

Alice, I'm so glad you liked them! It has been awhile since we've had them; I should remedy that ASAP!!

Tandi said...

hi, do you think these would be ok if I made them ahead and froze them? we are so crazy in the mornings!

Josie said...

Hi Tandi, I haven't tried it, but I think it would work. Alternatively, you could freeze after cutting them out, and just bake a few extra minutes.

Unknown said...

Hi. I have been in search of a good biscuit recipe forever. I am biscuit challenged it would appear. However, I made these yesterday for Father's Day &, although I patted them out too thin so they weren't super tall, they were flaky & tasted AMAZING!!! I will definitely make them again! Thanks for helping with my challenge!

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