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Aug 7, 2008 10:36 AM

Conquering Biscuits! The ongoing quest...

In the past I have posted several requests asking for biscuit recipes, and I've always received wonderful feedback. But there's this certain biscuit that I desire, and so my search continues even after achieving a few pretty good results. News Flash! Yeah I'm slow. Is that what one person considers to be the ultimate biscuit, may not be my ultimate biscuit, or even yours for that matter.

I love a light golden smooth top, uniform exterior with the inside light and almost flakey, but moist. Recipes that require you to drop them from a spoon and pat them out or just stir until the ingredients are combined is not it, that is not the biscuit I want. Slowly I'm learning little tips, things like, how you place them on the baking sheet is crucial, close or spaced. This little item is pretty important to a biscuit lover that wants either a crusty or a softer biscuit.

Okay so here is my "AH HA!" moment. I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and if you've ever watched that show, they make biscuits pretty often. I always pay attention to that part, because some of the biscuits look exactly like just the thing I'm hoping to make.

One of the last programs shown ( this past week) included a cook/owner making biscuits. I was amazed at his formula. He threw some flour in a bowl, salt, and ( I don't know if there was baking powder cause I missed that) then added a big glob of shortening. He mixed it with his hands until he got the consistency of a rough meal, and then he added (buttermilk-I think) could of been milk. So two things that I didn't catch for certain were milk or buttermilk, and baking powder or not.

So I thought to myself, he didn't measure one thing, not one ingredient and he turned out the most gorgeous biscuits. Why can't I do that. And he patted them out, to about 1 in, they were thick, and then cut big biscuits.

I tried this method this morning. And I have got to say I turned out the best biscuits I have ever made. I have no idea how much flour, shortening, salt, or baking powder I used. I did pat them out, and then lightly rolled the top for eveness, they were thick about 1 inch.
Heck since I'm really getting daring I used a largish square biscuit cutter, and then baked them at 450 for 13-14mins. (lightly brushed the top with milk first.)

Ok.... so all this time... well of course my memory card on the camera is broke and I need to buy another or I'd be taking pictures trust me. They look good and they taste delicious!

So has anyone else ever done that? Or am I just so out of it that I should of tried this a lot sooner????

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  1. That's exactly how my grandmother did it, and thus why I have so much trouble replicating. She used self-rising flour, which further allows you not to worry about how much baking powder. Congrats on your success.

    1. No, it's really that easy. Most biscuits go bad because people fuss too much with 'em. 3 cups white lily self-rising flour, 1/4 cup crisco shortening, 3/4 cup buttermilk. I use two knives to cut in the shortening, leaving it pretty lumpy. Pour in enough buttermilk (or milk or heavy cream) until the dough is pretty wet (not quite batter, but very shaggy). Turn out onto a floured counter and knead three times with a smearing motion, turning the dough between passes. (Smearing leads to flakiness). Cut into your favorite size with a sharp-sided cutter and place on a baking sheet, sides just barely touching (putting 'em close together leads to taller-rising biscuits). Bake for 10 minutes at 500 degrees. There truly is nothing to it, once you get a feel for the consistency of good dough.

      I'm glad to know that you've discovered the joys of fearless, improvisational cooking! Sometimes being bold leads to a breakthrough.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        Thanks hc I'll give your style a go too. Biscuits are so subjective. We all love different things about them, so the chase to find the best biscuit is rather ongoing...

        1. re: chef chicklet

          Except that I realized this AM when stirring up a batch of biscuits--the ratio is 2 cups self rising flour to 1/4 cup shortening.

      2. My father did it,he also made/blended his own baking powder.

        5 Replies
        1. re: lcool

          And that is my next thing. I've read where oh my gosh his names escapes me.Scott/??/something..anyway he makes bisucuits and his own baking powder for the best biscuits. I am convinced, one cannot follow a recipe for making biscuits, too many variables.

          1. re: chef chicklet

            I have his recipe/formula,all be it not handy now.Will dig it out over the weekend and post it here for you Sunday or Monday.I only do a batch once a year for scones and waffles,a noticable difference in finished product.
            Also take note from Hungry Celeste,her prep/handling tips are spot on.I would add only one thing,don't allow yourself time to overwork anything.
            Try making a batch when you have just enough time,minus a minute or two.

            1. re: lcool

              It's quite impressive when you see a person throw flour, shortening, buttermilk and whatever in a bowl, use their hands & mix it up with all the confidence in the world. And then they turn out batch after batch of the most delectable biscuits, I have got to respect that kind of intuitive knowledge. I want that!

            2. re: chef chicklet

              Scott Peacock, Watershed restuarant in ATL. His book (along w/ the late Edna lewis) "The Gift of Southern Cooking" was an interesting read. Many of the same dishes I've seen all my life in the south...interesting to see some recipes identical, some very, very different.

              1. re: danna

                I thought it was a chef from the South! I understand he makes his own baking powder too.Can't remember where I recently read about him and this. But thank you for the book information, I'll check it out.
                Now for Pimento Cheese....

          2. as both a professional and home baker most people who make things over and overuse the same bowl and cups and visually measure pretty close to using cups and teaspoons.remember Justin Wilson on tv;I guarantee it....

            1. The 3D guy would've used self rising flour and buttermilk.