Who doesn’t love a buttery, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth biscuit? Whoever they are, these people are not my people. Though I grew up primarily on my mom’s yeast rolls and my mammaw’s cornbread, my history with biscuits runs deep.
This recipe is the result of hours of research and development and is, in my opinion, the best biscuit recipe out there. I tried every combination of butter versus shortening, low gluten flour versus everyday all-purpose, buttermilk or plain milk, etc.
The list of small tweaks that an individual makes to their biscuits can be endless, and the recipe that follows is the product of tons of testing.
I love to make biscuits and have tried many recipes over the years. This one is by far the easiest and most delicious. Everyone always focuses a great deal on “don’t overwork the biscuits” in a recipe.
You should never work or knead a biscuit dough for very long, but you also don’t want to be so dainty that everything isn’t totally combined. A little bit of working the dough ensures your biscuits have a nice chew and don’t crumble upon contact with a butter knife.
One taste of these biscuits and you'll be totally hooked on homemade instead of the canned variety. Let me know what you think of the recipe!
A pastry blender is such a great tool for the beginner, or hell even an expert baker. I think the biggest benefits of using a pastry blender instead of your hands are that it accomplishes the job faster and you reduce the amount of heat you apply to the pastry. Generally speaking, keeping pastry or pie crust cold helps make for a better end product. I use my pastry blender all the time for biscuits, pie crusts, crumb toppings, and loads of other pastries.
A sharp biscuit cutter helps seal the edges of your biscuits as you cut them which results in a better rise. I know it sounds kooky, but it's one of those unspoken rules of biscuits. Use a sharp edge and don't twist as you press down. I like to have a variety of sizes of cutters to use so I have plenty of choices depending on what I'm making and who I'm serving to. This set has 12 different options in an easy-to-store set.
- 2.5 C butter or 5 sticks
- 5 C flour
- 2 Tb + 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tb sugar
- 1 Tb salt
- 2 C buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by placing 1 Tb of butter on the pan and rubbing all over including on the sides with a paper towel. You can bake your biscuits in a cast iron pan for extra browning and crispness.
- Mix dry ingredients well with a whisk to aerate in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- The temperature of your butter is essential to the success of your biscuits. The butter should be cold straight from the fridge just before cutting. Cut butter into 4 pieces lengthwise and then dice into ¼ inch pieces.
- Using a food processor or pastry cutter, cut butter into dry ingredients until the mix resembles pea-sized crumbles. If I'm making a half recipe, then I usually use a pastry blender, but for the full recipe, I use a food processor just to save a little time and keep the butter as cold as possible. Unless you have a huge food processor you'll likely have to work in batches. Don't stress too much about getting exactly half each time. Just eyeball half the dry and half the butter, pulse, toss into large mixing bowl and repeat.
- Remove buttermilk from the fridge and add to butter mixture. Make sure your buttermilk is cold, straight from the fridge. First, stir with a strong rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until mixture comes together. Once the buttermilk is absorbed, ditch the utensils and bring the dough together with your hands in the bowl. Don't worry the dough will seem like a mess at first but as you work it, the heat of your hands will help bring it together.
- Flour your work surface and place the dough on top. Start by bringing the dough together and then fold the dough onto itself once, press down with your hands, turn the dough 90 degrees, and fold onto itself one last time. This ensures you get all the flaky layers of your dreams.
- Top the dough with additional flour and dust the rolling pin. Roll out to 1.5-inch thickness at a minimum. Do not roll the dough out any thinner than 1.5-inch or you won't get the fluffy biscuits you envisioned.
- Cut biscuits with a 3-inch or 2-inch. A mason jar or cup works fine, but a sharper edge is preferred. When you cut the biscuits, cut straight down without turning the biscuit cutter to improve the rise of the biscuit.
- Place biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and immediately bake for 20-25 minutes. You never want to set the biscuits aside for any length of time before baking as the magic of your leavening agents, baking powder and soda, will fade over time. Remove from the oven when golden brown all the way across the top.