Warm and buttery, these flaky biscuits are great with sausage gravy for breakfast or a little jam for a quick afternoon snack.
I’ve been making biscuits and sausage gravy for years, long before I was married. My old roommate’s now husband used to request this now and again when he would stay at our place. It’s taken years for me to perfect this. I’d tried using different amounts of butter, adjusting how much baking powder I added, and even fiddled with oven temperatures and baking times. For some reason, the bottoms always came out tough.
Eventually, I turned to shortening. This is the one and only recipe in which I will use the product. The flavor of butter is much better, but unfortunately did not produce the soft biscuit bottom and tender crumb I was seeking on it’s own. After much trial and error, I think I’ve adjusted the butter to shortening ratio and quantities to my satisfaction. Here’s what you need (best part is most of this will already be in your pantry and fridge):
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 8 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 8 tablespoons (one stick) very cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons very cold butter flavored shortening cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups buttermilk
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
Add your butter cubes to the flour. Once I cut the cubes, I typically put the butter and shortening into the freezer for 10 minutes to make sure it’s well chilled. This is especially true on a warm day. The key to making your biscuits flaky and tender is to have the butter very cold when it hits the hot oven.
Cut the butter into the flour. I like to use the pastry blender pictured below. Before I had one, I found the best tool for this job is two hands. Just get in there with your fingers and rub the butter and flour together until it looks like wet sand. There will still be many pea sized butter pieces, but that’s ok.
If the room is warm, or you used your hands, it would be a good idea to put this flour-butter mixture in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. You’d be surprised how quickly the heat from your hands can soften and melt your butter.
Next, make a well in the center of the bowl, and pour in the buttermilk. Stir until it JUST combined. Do not overmix. You will be sorry.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface, dust the top with flour, and knead 4 or 5 times to bring the dough together.
Once you bring the dough together (again, work it as little as possible), pat it out into a 1 inch thick round on your work surface. You may want to re-flour your work surface to ensure the biscuits don’t stick when cut.
Begin cutting rounds with a 2 inch biscuit cutter. Re-flour the biscuit cutter between each cut and place biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Rework the scrap dough as little as possible, and pat into a 1 inch round again. Make cuts, and place remaining biscuits on the pan. Throw away remaining scrap dough. It will be too overworked if you try to make a third cut. Today I got 14 biscuits. Sometimes I get 16. It just depends on the day I guess.
Bake the biscuits in a 425 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking time.
When the biscuits are GB&D (golden brown and delicious), transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes.
You can serve them once the 5 minutes are up, or cool them completely and store in a plastic container at room temperature for a couple days.