Mama’s Buttermilk Biscuits
At my house, biscuits are what we do. They are a common staple; plain and simple.
Although, I have tried different recipes down through the years; you will more than likely only find one of two biscuit types being baked at my house. Buttermilk and butter or whole milk and Crisco. Otherwise known as “Mama’s biscuits”or “Daddy’s biscuits”.
These are the titles our children use to distinguish which biscuit recipe they are eating. They do not really know the difference in ingredients at this point.
They just know how “mama’s” biscuits taste and how “daddy’s” biscuits taste.
We have even had bake-offs just for “fun”. However, my kids always know which biscuits are mine and usually vote me in as #1, just because I’m “Mama”.
When Shane and I first got married, I couldn’t cook anything much except for pig-in-the-blankets and mystery box dinner kits with a popular hand spokesman suggesting an added pound of beef in the picture instructions.
Amazingly the fire department never needed to be called on any of my cooking episodes. However, I did manage to burn the skin off of my sweet husband’s arm one time.
Please don’t ask how.
Just believe me when I say, it is much funnier now than it was then.
Needless to say, I had to learn to cook by trial and error.
I am ashamed to admit it really, but as a southern girl born and raised, I never even knew how to make biscuits. I decided early on in my marriage; I would learn.
The hubs already had an idea of cooking. As a matter of fact, his own father could whip up a mean pan of biscuits which Shane watched and mimicked and before too long he had the skill mastered.
I, on the other hand, produced many batches of dry lumps of pale looking hockey pucks with a close resemblance in texture as really thick crackers.
I….. finally started making edible biscuits.
Edible turned into good.
Then finally, they turned into delicious. Shockingly, my husband now enjoys them.
It took me years.
After MUCH research on the perfect biscuit I learned the best methods for me.
Who would have thought that such a small thing as a biscuit could be so.. so… Temperamental.
For anyone struggling like I was. Maybe feeling a little domestically challenged due to the lack of biscuit know-how; listen closely and hopefully you can leave learning something to help you on your journey.
The first order of business will be discussing a little about ingredients.
Biscuits usually always contain the same sort of ingredients:
Soft Winter Wheat Flour has always made a huge difference in achieving the soft, fluffy biscuit that many southerners desire.
I have tried many other flours in the past and they do not compare to the texture of White Lily Brand Flour.
Also, I do not add leavens such as baking powder to my biscuits.
We buy Self-Rising Flour which already have the leavening agents included. I have tried many times using all-purpose flour and baking powder recipes without success.
I am not sure why, but my biscuits never turn out the texture I want them when I add my own baking powder. Which is no skin off of my teeth because it is easier and cheaper for me to just use Self-Rising flour.
P.S. If you’re making biscuits with flour which you have already opened and used in the past you might want to think back to the time you first opened the flour sack. Leavening agents may not be as active in older flours. The suggested time frame to use Self-Rising Flour is within 4 months of unsealing the bag.
P.S.S. If you did indeed decide that your flour may be old and you need to stop down the street at Billy Joe’s quick mart. Check that date! Sometimes smaller stores do not have a lot of turn-around for items like these and are extremely out of date.
There are many different variations in biscuit recipes regarding fats. The most common fats that I have seen used are butter, vegetable shortening, and lard. I prefer butter as being first on my list and vegetable shortening secondly. Keep in mind, that with this recipe I use butter.
Real butter. NOT margarine, buttery spread or whatever flavored chemicals that claim real butter taste.
Whole milk, buttermilk, cream, half and half. These are a few of the liquids I have seen repeatedly used in biscuit recipes.
I prefer To use buttermilk. Real Buttermilk, not the substituted, whole milk and lemon juice in a pinch “buttermilk”.
To me, it’s just not the same. With the substitute that the culinary textbooks recommend, the texture nor the flavor match the consistency of Real buttermilk.
Wash your hands VERY well.
Things are fixin’ to get messy.
Let’s get started!
You will need:
1 frozen stick of Real Butter( I use salted)
1 1/4 cup of Buttermilk, ice cold
2 1/4 cup of White Lily Self-Rising Flour
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Sift the 1 1/4 cup of flour and grate frozen stick of butter in the bowl.
Now that the butter has been grated; You must work quickly before the butter completely defrosts. Extremely cold butter is what helps develop the flakiness in the biscuits. We do not want the butter to start melting before they hit the oven.
Pour in the buttermilk and lightly stir until just combined as a wet dough.
Next, you will need to knead lightly (hehehe) for around 30 seconds
This is a pretty messy process. I would not advise placing your whole hand in the dough. Try using your fingertips mainly. This may help you avoid an even bigger mess.
Next plop that big mound of sticky dough on a heavily floured work surface. Roll the dough out about an inch thick.
Fold over the dough a few times and repeat once more. Lightly flouring just as needed to prevent heavy sticking. Next, look at pictures later as evidence to determine just whose tiny hand that was running their little fingers in flour while you were busy folding dough.
Roll once more. This time about 3/4″ inch, this is good measurement . Cut your biscuits using a biscuit cutter. If you do not own a biscuit cutter get inventive! Our great-grandmother’s probably had all sorts of gadgets they used for makeshift. Try using the rim of a mason jar. I’ve done it plenty of times in the pinch. Just make sure and flour it really well.
Next, place the cut out circles of dough onto a greased baking pan.
This is where I messed up. I normally use my 9×13 dark bottom baking sheet and place my biscuits just barely touching on the sides. However, we recently moved and I am still unpacking so I grabbed what I could. Just keep in mind the biscuits pictured will not rise as high as they normally would because they are packed together too tightly. Place directly into your preheated oven and bake until golden on bottom and lightly brown on top.
Sorry I am terrible with exact baking times with recipes like these. Every oven is different and you will just have to keep an eye on them until you get the feel of how long it takes your oven to get your biscuits just the way you would like.
This is the color I like my biscuits to come out looking! Slightly golden on top.
My hubby, however, would crank the broiler up and toast them more if he were in charge.
Like I said it is all according to what you prefer. After all, it’s your circus!
Whether you serve your biscuits with butter and homemade jam, or sawmill gravy; your crowd will sure to be pleased. Just remember….
practice makes perfect!