Baking Biscuits: Recipe and Technique

Reader Contribution by April Freeman
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This is the recipe that took me 10 years to perfect. Enjoy!

Preheat your oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl, mix the following ingredients with a fork:

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Take a stick of butter and chop it into small bits. I probably cut it into 20 pieces. The butter should be cold so that it will stay in small pieces in the dough.

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender. When most of the dough looks like cornmeal, with maybe a few larger chunks of butter, you’ve done enough.

Now add the buttermilk. This part is the hardest because I don’t measure it. I probably use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of buttermilk. Maybe. That’s just an estimate. I pour in a slosh or two, stir the dough gently with a wooden spoon and re-evaluate. I may need to add a touch more. When the dough looks evenly moistened, stop adding buttermilk. You want the dough to just be sticking together. Not too sticky to handle, but not too dry either. Like I said, it takes a knack. I promise when you make the recipe a few times, you’ll get the knack for it.

Scatter a generous handful of flour on a clean, scrubbed counter-top. Plop your biscuit dough on the floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough to ¾ to an inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut your rounds out.  

Place the biscuits in your cast-iron pan about a half-inch apart. If you don’t have one, use a baking sheet, and keep your eyes open at the flea market for a good cast-iron pan. It makes a huge difference in your biscuits, believe me.

Bake the biscuits in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on top.

Serve them piping hot with homemade jam. This is one of my kids’ favorite things to eat for breakfast. And, they munch on the leftovers all day.

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