These Buttermilk Biscuits are light, layered, and flexible. I love them hot from the oven, with or without a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey. Of course the biscuits are marvelous for sandwiches, too, and you can’t beat ’em for sopping up gravy.
My paternal grandmother, Nova Ethel Metzger-Jacobs, was a biscuit QUEEN. She turned out these quick breads the old-fashioned (and decidedly not very quick) way, by patiently rubbing butter and flour together with her fingertips. Buttermilk was added in small increments until the dough mixture seemed “just right.”
Yours truly did not inherit his grandmother’s patience for biscuit-making. I use a food processor to blend the butter and flour together in about 5 seconds. And I know the correct amount of buttermilk to use. No guessing for me.
Buttermilk Biscuits: Making the Dough
The following recipe yields about 10 tall biscuits. You can double the recipe to double your pleasure. Buttermilk biscuits freeze and reheat perfectly.
Pour 2 cups of flour into a sieve or sifter placed over a medium mixing bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons!) baking powder…
1 teaspoon sugar…
And 1 teaspoon ordinary table salt.
Dump the sifted works into a food processor, and add 6 tablespoons of cold, diced butter.
Pulse the machine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Return the flour and butter mixture to the mixing bowl, and add 1 cup of buttermilk.
No buttermilk on hand? Make your own, just as I did for the biscuits here. Stir 1 teaspoon of white vinegar into 1 cup of whole milk. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.
Stir the flour and buttermilk with a fork until a shaggy dough develops — about 1 minute.
Forming and Baking the Biscuits
Scrape the dough onto a generously floured work surface. Flip the dough so that all sides are lightly coated with flour.
Use your hands to press the dough into a rough 1-inch-thick rectangle.
Fold the dough into thirds, as if you were folding a business letter. (Honk if you remember how to fold a business letter.) We’re making layers here!
Then flatten the dough, and form it, again, into a 1-inch-thick rectangle.
Repeat the folding-into-thirds step 1 more time.
Then shape the dough into a fairly neat 1-inch-thick rectangle, and press out biscuits with a floured, 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter. Do not twist the cutter as you work. Twisting will muck up the walls of a biscuit, and interfere with its ability to rise.
As you work, knock each biscuit into the palm of your hand…
And place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather the remaining scraps of dough, and press out additional biscuits. These last ones won’t look pretty. But they will taste just fine.
Immediately pop the biscuits into a preheated 425°F oven until they’re puffed and lightly browned — about 15 minutes.
Then do what my grandmother always did, and immediately brush the hot biscuit tops with melted butter.
Because we folded the dough, our biscuits can be pulled apart in layers.
If you’re like me, you’ll put a pat of butter between two layers. And you’ll eat the biscuit while butter runs down your chin.
Well. I hope you’ll give these easy breads a try. And if you do try them, I hope you’ll post your review in the comments field below. Also, let me know if biscuits were a part of your childhood. My grandmother made them for every family meal. And I routinely ate waaay too many of them!
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Here’s the printable:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, diced
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Center the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, and add the diced butter. Pulse the machine just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Return the mixture to the mixing bowl, add the buttermilk, and stir with a fork until a shaggy dough develops -- about 1 minute.
- Scrape the dough onto a generously floured surface. Flip the dough so that both sides are coated with flour. Then pat the dough into a rough, 1-inch-thick rectangle. Fold into thirds, as if you were folding a business letter (see illustration). Pat out and fold into thirds again. Then pat the dough into a fairly neat 1-inch-thick rectangle.
- Press out biscuits with a round, 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter dipped in flour. Do not twist the cutting gadget; simply push it straight down into the dough, and then pull it out. Arrange the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the biscuits puff and brown lightly -- about 15 minute. Enjoy hot or warm, with or without a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey. Freeze leftover biscuits.