Way, way back in the middle ages, when I was a teenager working at Hardees, I was the biscuit girl. I would wake up at 3:30 am in the morning and go in and make biscuits. Getting up so hellishly early may have seemed like a crap job, but from my perspective, I would get done early enough to enjoy the rest of my day. I would make the biscuits by hand in a giant bowl: add the dry ingredients, cut in the shortening by hand, add the ice-cold buttermilk and then use my short little arms to mix away. Don’t worry, I washed up first. My hands would ache with the cold from the buttermilk. You would think, after such a glamorous adventure, that I would hate biscuits, but I loved them, even as a surly teenager. I had not attempted to make them as a surly adult until now, but I always order them at restaurants. Minus the gravy. I do not love sausage gravy. Please feel free to send all the hate mail you want. This surly adult eats her biscuits with butter and honey.
One of the secrets behind a great biscuit turns out to be the mixing by hand. Go ahead and use a spatula if you must, I will not judge because I too hate having crap all over my hands, but it really is the best way. The recipe below is for a small batch of biscuits, enough for one meal, which is good, as they are best fresh from the oven. As indulging in a tray of biscuits as supper seems like a bad idea, I made a chicken as a side dish:) Enjoy!
- 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted
- 1 cup buttermilk.
- Preheat oven to 450º
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and cut in the cold butter until it looks like coarse meal. I always think it looks like sand.
- Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the buttermilk and mix just until combined. The dough should be very wet.
- Place the dough on a floured board and, using your hands, fold dough four times. You will probably want to flour your hands..unlike what I said earlier about the spatula, a rolling-pin is a big no-no at this point.
- Press the dough to 1 inch thick and use a round cutter (or a cold glass if you don’t have a round cutter) to cut out the biscuits. You can gently put the scraps together to make more-the purists will tell you it isn’t as good, but why waste the dough?
- Place the rounds on a cookie sheet, or even better, a baking stone and bake for 10 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
- Remove from oven and brush the tops with melted butter.