Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

CATEGORIES: Biscuits, Louisiana

So I’ve been on the hunt for a good cut biscuit for a long time. We have our Cat Head Biscuits, which are magical in just about every way, but they’re also very, very large (as big as a cat’s head, not actually made with the heads of cats–let’s just clear that up before things get weird.) We have scones. We have flavored biscuits. But no good ol’ circle-shaped Southern-style biscuits. And I’ve made a lot (Alton Brown, I love you, but that biscuit recipe of yours that I tried was as disappointing as staying in a hotel with a toddler for the first time.)

And then I found this recipe on Food.com. It was simple (so it didn’t involve two different kinds of fat, three different kinds of flour, and the tears of virgin unicorns), it was fast, and it had rave reviews. So I decided to give it a shot. And these biscuits were everything I was hoping for–quick and easy, fluffy and layered (but not too flakey), perfect for butter and jam or biscuits and gravy.

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Preheat your oven to 450 F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

You’re going to need 2 cups of all-purpose flour (lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled with a knife), some baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt.

southern buttermilk biscuits

A food processor reeeeeeally comes in handy here. I know, I know, people have been making biscuits by hand since the beginning of time, and it’s still totally do-able. But. It’s really easy to over-mix the dough when you’re doing it by hand and it’s just really easy, period, to do it in a food processor. This is the newer version of the machine that I have and I highly recommend it–I’ve had mine for about 10 years and KitchenAid has been nothing but a delight to work with (and they’re not paying me to say it–long before my food blogging days, the handle of my work bowl cracked and I was outside the warranty window and they sent me a whole new machine. I’ve been hopelessly loyal to them since.)

Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your food processor…

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and pulse the dry ingredients a few times. Then chop up 6 tablespoons of cold butter.

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Add the chopped butter to the flour mixture and pulse until it resembles coarse meal.

Add 1 cup of buttermilk or plain kefir (remember when I talked all about that here? Yeah, that happened.) Pulse until just combined. The mixture should be quite moist and sticky.

Flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto the floured surface.

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With floured hands, gently pat the dough down until it’s about 1″ thick. Fold the dough in half horizontally, then vertically, repeating until you’ve folded the dough 5 times.

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Gently pat (don’t roll…just leave that rolling pin alone and no one will get hurt) the dough into a disc about 1″ thick. Be sure to handle the dough as little as possible–the less you touch it, the better your biscuits will be.

Using a biscuit cutter that’s about 2″ in diameter, cut the biscuits out–I get about 8, then gently press the scraps together and can get two more biscuits that aren’t nearly as soft and delicious as the first 8. Place them on the baking sheet. These will not spread at all, so you can stick them close to each other–the closer they are, the softer they’ll be. I could have gone a little closer. I like my biscuits soft. 

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If you want, brush some melted butter on top and sprinkle them with a little sugar. It’s hard to go wrong with butter and sugar, even if you’re planning on going savory with these guys.

Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until just golden on top–you really don’t want to overbake them. Remove from the oven and serve however you want–hot, cold, right now, tomorrow. It doesn’t matter. You made biscuits and you should get a medal.southern buttermilk biscuits-7

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Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Yield: 10

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, lightly spooned into a measuring cup and leveled with a knife
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (reduce to 1/2 teaspoon if using salted butter)
  • 6 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain kefir

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add chopped butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add buttermilk and mix until just combined. The mixture should be very moist.
  4. Dust a work surface with flour and dust your hands with flour. Transfer the mixture to the floured work surface and gently pat until about 1″ thick.
  5. Fold the dough in half horizontally, then vertically, repeating so you fold the dough a total of 5 times. Gently pat into a circle about 1″ thick and use biscuit cutters (I use 2″) to cut the dough. You should be able to get about 8 biscuits, then gently pat the scraps back together and cut two more biscuits. Place close to each other on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter and lightly sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are golden. Remove from oven. These can be served at any temperature.

Notes

  • The key to these biscuits being light and fluffy is handling the dough as little as possible. Mix, fold, and press the dough just enough to get the job done.

28 comments

  1. These are similar to Betty Crocker’s buttermilk biscuits I’ve been making for decades. I usually cut my dough into squares just so I won’t have any scraps left (the scrappy ones just aren’t as wonderful, are they?), although the round ones are prettier. I adore buttermilk biscuits–and I’ll try yours to compare. Butter ‘n honey ‘r jam, yum!

  2. If I don’t have buttermilk (don’t cringe-I usually do!), isn’t there a substitution for milk + vinegar? If you know it, can you share the formula for that? I imagine it’s best to use whole milk if you’re doing that substitution, right? And does it matter if it’s apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar? (pretty sure my mom used apple cider vinegar) Thanks πŸ™‚

    1. Yep, you can add a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and let it stand for about 10 minutes. I’ve always used white or white wine vinegar, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use apple cider! πŸ™‚

  3. I have a trick (I’m pretty sure I learned it here? with a scone recipe?!) for making flaky biscuits when I don’t want to haul out the food processor: before I start with the dry ingredients, I grate butter that is frozen and then put the bowl of frozen and shredded butter back into the freezer. Once the dry ingredients are measured and whisked together, I toss in the frozen shredded butter and quickly distribute it, add the liquid ingredients and handle the dough quickly and lightly and get it in the oven fast.

  4. Wow! I can not tell you how elated my children will be if I can learn to make biscuits! They absolutely love them and my first attempt failed. Also thank you for the heads up on kefir. I read that post and was so excited that a bottle of kefir now plants itself in my frig. I make your caramel syrup on a regular basis. My son will eat nothing else.
    And again I must mention that I am currently making your crayons/pretzels for the start of the school year. It is now my tradition and the neighbor kiddos ask and expect them. You guys are the best!

  5. Question on the number of times for folding: Does the “horizontally and vertically” count as one fold? Or do you count every folding motion until you have folded it 5 times? I know it is important to not over work the dough—thanks for clarifying it for me!

  6. I just left a comment and it disappeared. I also do the folding of the dough. Has made my biscuits better than ever. I use self rising flour and still add more baking powder. Works great and they are so light and tender. I make mine a little thicker too.

  7. I have been doing the folding of the dough for a good while now. That when when my biscuits improved the most. Much more light and tender now. Love this method. I do make mine a little thicker. Ingredients are almost the same as yours. I use self rising flour and also add more baking powder to them even though the flour already has levening.

  8. Southern style biscuits are my FAVORITE and (like you) I have not been able to find the ‘right’ recipe – but these ones look absolutely PERFECT! I can’t wait to make them!

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