Do you love biscuits? Crave them? Or ignore their very existence (the horror!)?
I’m a biscuit lover and one of the main reasons is that they are a perfect side dish to whip up that fulfills that carb craving without having to plan ahead like you need to do for breadsticks or rolls. Plus, the biscuits you see here combined with this other-worldly ham make up the most perfect combination in the history of ever and may be the only reason needed to make these lovies.
Flaky, soft and tender, these beautiful buttermilk biscuits are absolute biscuit perfection. In fact, I consider myself pretty much a biscuit failure when it comes to the classic kind (these drop biscuits, on the other hand, are easy and fabulous) until these buttermilk biscuits came into my life. I’ll admit, it does help to have a food processor because successful biscuits are more in how you handle and work with the dough than anything – the key being not to overwork and let the butter get too warm since the little bits of cold butter melt and sizzle while baking creating pockets of steam and thereby making the biscuits ultra-flaky. And trust me, you want ultra-flaky. However, if you don’t have a food processor, never fear, you can still make these babies, just take care to work quickly and carefully.
A really fantastic buttermilk biscuit recipe needs to reside in every person’s recipe arsenal, wouldn’t you agree? So save this recipe, or better yet, just make them! Then you’ll have no choice but to be convinced of their awesomeness.
I struggled making biscuits for years. They were never very tender. Until I got a food processor and I firmly believe that delicious biscuits are more about how you work (the key being not to overwork) the dough rather than the actual ingredients. Using a food processor keeps the butter colder and the dough comes together more quickly. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender or two forks or knives to combine ingredients, just take care not to overwork the dough and let the butter get too warm.
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons very cold butter cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, more or less (here is a guide for making your own buttermilk)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is like coarse meal and the butter is in small, pellet-sized pieces (slightly smaller than a pea). This will take a few short pulses in the food processor.
- Pour in the buttermilk and mix/pulse only until just combined. The dough should start to come together but you don't want to overmix the dough. If there are lots of dry patches throughout the dough, add a bit more buttermilk, just a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough comes together.
- Scrape the dough out of the food processor or bowl onto a lightly floured counter. Gently pat (do not roll with a rolling pin!) the dough to about 1/2-inch thick. Gently fold the dough in half or in thirds, repeating for a total of 4-5 times and pressing it gently to 1-inch thick after the last fold. These folds, combined with the cold butter, are what help to create flaky layers in the biscuits.
- Use a round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut into circles. Do not turn the cutter while pressing into the dough, just press firmly enough to cut all the way through the dough.
- Line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper. Place the biscuits on the pan with the sides barely touching each other. This helps the biscuits rise up instead of out. If you like crustier sides to your biscuits, space them further apart. They won't rise as high but they'll have golden edges.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the biscuits are lightly golden on top and bottom, taking care to not overbake. Serve immediately.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from this recipe at southern.food.com