How to Make Biscuits

This Southern staple is light as a feather when made with a delicate hand.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Southern-Style

A good Southern biscuit recipe may vary slightly by ingredients or style. Some call for self-rising flour, others use a combination of baking soda and baking powder. Some include butter, while others employ shortening or lard. Some bakers let the dough drop from a spoon onto the pan; others neatly roll out and cut it. But one thing’s for certain, the most celestial biscuits are made by stirring together the dough with a very gentle hand.

 

By Mindy Fox

Cold Butter Is Key

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in the middle. With a knife, cut your butter into small pieces, then place it on a small plate and return it to the fridge until ready to blend with the flour, or even place it in the freezer for 5 minutes — cold butter does not readily absorb into flour and this is what allows those great flakey layers to form. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and/or yeast (if your recipe calls for a self-rising flour, it may only call for little, if any, leavening), salt and, if using, sugar. Add the chilled butter pieces and, using a pastry blender, two butter knives or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until mixture is sandy with some larger pieces of butter still intact. Do this quickly to avoid allowing the butter to warm.

Make a Well

Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the chilled liquid, which will generally be buttermilk or milk. 

Don't Overwork

Stir quickly but with a light touch just until the dough comes together. 

Roll the Dough

The dough can be dropped onto an ungreased baking sheet, using a soup spoon, to make “drop biscuits”, or pressed out and cut. If rolling and cutting, turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, dust top with flour and very gently fold it over onto itself 5 or 6 times, then with floured hands, gently press out into a 1-inch-thick round.

Cut Out Biscuits

Using a floured 2-inch cutter, cut out biscuits and transfer to a baking sheet, spacing them 1-inch apart. The remaining dough can be reformed and cut, though the biscuits from the reformed dough will be a tad less light. 

Bake

Bake the biscuits until they rise and are lightly golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Biscuits are best eaten warm from the oven. Try them slathered with butter and perhaps a little jam; with eggs and bacon; turkey and gravy; or butter and ham. Now that you know how to make biscuits, try making Alton's Southern Biscuits.

 

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