Who doesn’t love tall Traditional Southern Buttermilk Biscuits? These are perfect for jam and butter and they make EXCELLENT breakfast sandwich material.
Biscuit making is usually saved for the weekend or for special guests. We put down our oatmeal spoons and allow ourselves a morning of indulgence. This usually involves crepes, pancakes or buttermilk biscuits.
With the abundance of rhubarb jam that I have on hand, I have a feeling I’ll be making these for the weekend breakfast table with some frequency.
Now, I am married to a southerner whose father makes infamous biscuits, so the bar is set quite high. I have an entire cookbook dedicated to buttermilk biscuits – I take my biscuit making seriously!
Most crispy buttermilk biscuit recipes are similar – a combination of flour, buttermilk, and lots of butter. The key to biscuits is in the method. In order to create those flaky layers you have to follow some guidelines. With practice you’ll get them exactly how you want them. I’ve shared my mainstay recipe below and along with tips that have helped me in my biscuit adventures.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (if you can find White Lily brand flour - the biscuits will have a softer and fluffier texture on the inside - use 1 cup white lily and 3 cups regular)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¾ sticks very cold salted butter, cubed and kept chilled or frozen & grated into mixture
- 1½ cups cold buttermilk
- toppings: honey, butter, jam, eggs, cheese, bacon, spinach.
- Preheat the oven to 400° and position racks in the upper and lower thirds.
- Line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- Add the cubed butter or grate in the frozen butter. If using cubed, loosely toss it in the flour until coated and then use your fingers or a pastry blender to cut in the butter until it is the size of peas. Add the buttermilk and stir using a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
- Place the shaggy dough on a floured surface and knead until it comes together. Keeping in mind that you don't want to overwork the dough and it's ok for it to remain a bit shaggy and dry.
- Softly press out the dough to desired thickness - I go for 1".
- Using a round biscuit cutter, stamp out the biscuits, combining the scraps to make more biscuits.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and lofty.
- If you have two pans baking, switch them halfway through the baking time.
- Let them cool for a minute or two and slice for sandwiches or honey, butter and jam.
Tips for Making Amazing Traditional Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
Tip #1: Butter
Instead of cubing your butter, consider freezing it ahead of time and grate it into the dry ingredients instead of cutting it in. Both ways are perfectly fine – find which one works best for you.
Tip #2: Mixing
Never overwork the dough. You want to get the dough to come together and still be crumbly when you put it on your work surface.
Tip #3: Folding
Once the dough has come together enough to flatten into a rectangle (I always use my hands, no rolling pin here), fold the dough over itself like the photo below. Press out, fold and repeat about 3 times. This is creating layers for you.
Tip #4: Cutting
Never twist your biscuit cutter when stamping out the biscuits. That simple movement presses the edges of the dough together that prevents the dough from rising to maximum heights.
Never poke the tops of the dough like some recipes suggest and keep the biscuits close together on the baking pan. You are trying to keep the steam inside the biscuit to make them rise higher. If I’m only making 2 biscuits, I use a small ramekin that leaves little room for horizontal expansion.
Freeze extra biscuits in a single layer on a cookie sheet before baking. Once frozen, move them to a freezer bag. Just a few extra minutes in the oven when you’re ready to eat – no thawing required.
Check out my other buttermilk biscuit recipes!
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