A southern classic, the buttermilk biscuit can be found all over the place here in North Carolina. Local fast food joints (Bojangles, Hardees, Mcdonalds) serve them by the boxload (literally). People will put anything in them from eggs to fried chicken, sausage, country ham, gravy, and cheese… Yes, Bojangles serves a cheese biscuit. But I typically prefer mine plain with some jam or honey. Who makes the best biscuit is a touchy subject. Even our state farmer’s market restaurant can be found at realbiscuits.com. People don’t mess around with their biscuits in these parts, and for good reason. They are one of the most delectable, fluffy, buttery treats I could ask for. I’ve eaten a good bit of biscuits in my day, but today I decided to try making them from scratch.
I’ve always been a bit worried to try making these because of my mother’s horror stories. These do have a reputation for being very finicky. It’s important to handle the dough as little as possible and keep the the ingredients/dough cold, especially the butter. Here’s the recipe I used:
This recipe is inspired from food.com http://www.food.com/recipe/southern-buttermilk-biscuits-26110
I was also inspired by Deep South Dish http://www.deepsouthdish.com/2008/10/perfect-buttermilk-biscuits.html#axzz4aVKmlCNX
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (I used cultured low-fat buttermilk)
6 Tbsp unsalted frozen butter
Preheat the oven to 450F. I put the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, then used a cheese grater to grate the cold butter into the bowl. I folded in the butter, then added the buttermilk and mixed just until incorporated.
The dough was very wet and sticky, so I had to add a lot of flour to my hands and working surface. With my hands, I flattened the dough into about a ½ thick rectangle, then folded it into thirds and flattened it again. I did this once more before cutting out the biscuits and placing them on an oiled cookie sheet. Remember to try to handle the dough as little as possible so the butter doesn’t melt and the gluten is minimally activated.
My biscuits came out good… not great. They didn’t rise as much as I hoped and came out a bit tough. I think I can attribute this to the fact that I forgot to preheat the oven until I was ready to cut out my biscuits, causing them to have to sit for while. Also, the dough came out stickier than expected which probably led to some extra handling. The biscuits tasted really good with a crispy edge and somewhat fluffy inside, just not as fluffy as I hoped. Overall, I enjoyed making these and hope to make them again soon, I think I can do a better job next time.
***Once again, I’d like to thank food.com and deepsouthdish.com for the inspiration and techniques I used in this recipe***