I've always wanted to make really delicious biscuits. I've never really known the tricks, and I've always been jealous of women who could bake really well. For some reason, I felt like if I could master biscuits, I would be finally be a "true" Southern woman. After lots of questions and yucky trials and a very serious pow-wow with Mrs. Sue, an amazing cook and one of the local judges' judicial assistant, I've discovered this recipe:
recipe from the White Lily package and my brain
2 cups All-Purpose Flour (I used White Lily, a flour available in most Southern stores)
1Tb. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter (salted) (VERY cold)
3/4-ish cup buttermilk (use enough until the dough is just barely wet enough)
Cut butter into small pats and lay out on a cookie sheet lined in wax paper. Stick in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Prepare cast iron skillet with a tiny amount of bacon grease, if available. Easiest thing: fry one piece of bacon, wipe out the pan, and you're good to go!
Combine all the dry ingredients together and then cut in the butter. Cut in until the butter is about pea sized, relatively well mixed in. Add buttermilk. Add slowly until you have just enough where the dough separates from the sides of the bowl. Stir until just combined and roll it out onto a well-floured surface.
Before kneading, cover with some flour. Knead a couple of times and flatten out to about 1" thickness. (Honestly, the thicker the better, because they rise so beautifully!) Using a biscuit cutter, or just a glass cup, cut out biscuits. Press straight down, don't twist the cup/cutter.
Place biscuits in a cast-iron skillet and be sure biscuits are touching.
This recipe doesn't make a ton of dough. Especially if you end up using a large biscuit cutter. See the butter?
This is how thick I usually keep my dough. It rises the best if you can keep little chunks of butter in it! Please ignore the very messy kitchen area.
The finished product!
Bake at 500 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. At about the 6 minute mark, take the skillet out of the oven and brush the biscuits with melted salted butter. You pretty much have to brush the tops with butter. This is an integral part of the baking process. And be liberal with it, brush on the sides of the biscuits if they are showing.
There are some really important notes that go along with this I need to share:
*White Lily flour is important. Apparently its made with a certain kind of wheat that makes it have a lower protein count than most generic flours. It makes the biscuits lighter and fluffier. Even if you don't have that kind, try to get one that is made with a soft winter wheat.
*Make sure the butter is salted and SUPER cold.
*Cooking the biscuits in the cast iron skillet is the best part! Use one for best results, and try to put some sort of grease on the bottom. You don't want a lot in the pan. If you do fry up something in the pan, be sure to let the grease cool, pur it all out, scrape the pan, and use a paper towel to soak up the rest. All you are looking for is a faint sheen on the bottom!
*You can use whatever size biscuit cutter you want. I've made big "cat-head" biscuits (as my North Carolinian husband called them) and small ones. However you adjust the size, just be sure to watch them carefully while in the oven and keep the dough THICK, regardless of the size of cutter you use.
Go give this recipe a try, they taste amazing!
Update: this was my very first submission to Tasty Kitchen! Go check it out!