Classic Buttermilk Biscuits

I usually research a recipe I’m interested in, combining 4 or 5 before I come up with something I like. This one is from the blog The Kitchn that needs no adjustment. I highly recommend this blog for the culinary adventurous and even the newbie.

Makes 6 large or 8 medium biscuits

Tips for great biscuits:
1. Keep the butter super cold. Cut up my butter in small cubes and place it in the freezer. Even just 5 minutes in the freezer will give it that extra chill.
2. Don’t overwork dough. It should look like rough gravel. The less handling the better. Use a light touch once the buttermilk is added. Go quickly gently pressing and gathering into a mass. The movement is more like patting than kneading. A food processor is great to prevent overmixing.
3. A very hot oven is also key to good biscuits.
4. For flaky biscuits, cut the dough into thirds and restack it one layer on top of another, pressing gently and quickly to bring everything together with the heel of your hand. Repeat.
5. Square biscuits mean less handling, though they can be made round.

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk plus a little more for brushing on top

1. Freeze the butter: Cut the butter into small chunks and place in the freezer. Preheat oven to 425°F. Get out equipment and ingredients, leaving the butter in the freezer and the buttermilk in the refrigerator.

2. Blend the dry ingredients: Place flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Cover and pulse 4 or 5 times to mix. Alternatively, mix in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

3. Add the butter: Remove the butter from the freezer and add it to the flour mixture. Cover and pulse 6 to 8 times or until the mixture is crumbly and the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than a pea. Alternatively, work the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your finger tips.

4. Add the buttermilk. Pour in the buttermilk, cover, and pulse 4 or 5 times or until the mixture just comes together. It should not be completely blended but look like gravel. Alternatively, stir until the liquid is just barely incorporated and a rough mass is formed.

5. Shape the dough: Sprinkle your counter with a little flour and dump the contents of the food processor out on top. Working quickly, gather the shaggy mass together, pressing it lightly to form a rectangle. Cut into 3 even sections and pile each section on top of the other. Using the heel of your hand, quickly and firmly press the sections together. Repeat once.

6. Roll and cut the dough: Roll the dough with a few quick strokes into a thick rectangle, about 1/2″ thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 pieces for larger biscuits or 8 pieces for smaller biscuits. Can also be cut into bite sized nuggets.

7. Bake: Place the biscuits on a unprepared baking sheet. Paint the top of the biscuits with a little buttermilk. Bake for 12 minutes or until puffed and golden-brown.

8. Cool: Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Serve fresh from the oven, if possible.

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