Whether homemade or canned(yikes), growing up, we always had biscuits on the weekends. Auntie always took the homemade route but, mama made due with canned Hungry Jack Buttermilk Biscuits. With a family of eight, I can’t blame her for taking a shortcut while preparing breakfast. I know that her heart wasn’t in those canned biscuits, because she’d go on and on about Auntie’s! Auntie’s buttermilk biscuits were the gold standard in biscuits….She made them with a blend of lard and pure butter!
Over the years, I’ve played around with her method and tried other recipes and techniques to come up with what is now my own gold standard. Although lard helps to create a nice flake, it produces a heavier biscuit. I replaced lard with all butter. I’d always used buttermilk but, after running out one time, I referred to Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate recipe. She uses a blend of milk and lemon juice. They don’t have a pronounced lemon flavor, but it does seem to brighten up the flavor of the biscuit. After seeing a photo of biscuits baked in a black skillet, I loved the look and found that this was done by Lisa Fain of the popular blog, Homesick Texan. It’s not just for looks, after baking them in this manner, I found that my biscuits cooked in an iron skillet have a slight crispiness to their exterior.
That’s one of the things I love most about blogging and other bloggers…the whole aspect of sharing. For example, jumping over to the Southern Plate blog is like calling up a friend in Alabama and saying “Girl, I was in here trying to make biscuits but I ain’t got buttermilk to first in this house!”. Her response being, “Girl, just add some lemon juice to your sweet milk*. They’ll turn out good!”
* In the South, you will often find whole milk referred to as sweet milk.
In the meantime, want a really good biscuit? Try these!
|Dry ingredients and cold chopped butter|
|Pulse until crumbly|
|Add wet mixture of milk, sour cream, and lemon juice|
|Kneaded dough is pressed out and folded in half before cutting into 12 pieces|
|Leave in squares or press edges inward to create rounds…Place 1/2 inch apart in a greased iron skillet. Bake|
My Best Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling(about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice(pure, not from concentrate)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together milk, sour cream, and lemon juice, set aside and refrigerate until ready to use. In a bowl, stir 2 cups flour and remaining dry ingredients together. Transfer to a food processor* and add cold, chopped butter. Pulse until crumbly. Transfer mixture back to bowl and add milk mixture. Stir until just incorporated, and still very sticky. Turn out onto a floured surface and sprinkle top with flour. Knead dough, turning 4 times, sprinkling a small amount of flour as necessary. Press out into a 6×10 rectangle, and fold in half lengthwise. Cut in half lengthwise and then 5 equal cuts across for 12 biscuits. Keep square or press edges inward to create rounds. Place about 1/2 inch apart in greased iron skillet and bake for 16-18 minutes. Brush with softened butter.
*Don’t want to use a food processor(I know, more to clean!)? Just use a pastry cutter or fork to cut butter into flour mixture. If you follow this method, place mixture in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to make sure that your butter stays cold.