I might have mentioned my obsessive tendencies when it comes to food. For the most part I can control it but there are certain dishes that stay on the brain and whenever the opportunity arises, i.e. a restaurant that features it or I find a new recipe…I AM COMPELLED TO TRY IT. This is true for cookies like shortbread and lemon bars but it is especially true for biscuits. Having kids in the South has added fuel to the fire. As soon as I know I am going to the South, I scour the internet looking for the best biscuits. My current favorite in Nashville is Biscuit Love, (their Bonuts, fusion of biscuits and donuts served with fresh fruit and lemon curd, kill me now good). A trip to North Carolina began and ended with biscuits. No sooner had we arrived at the Raleigh-Durham Airport we made a bee line for Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen in Chapel Hill, a drive-thru that closes at 2pm. We made it just in the nick of time for their fried chicken biscuit sandwiches, freakin delicious. Heading to the airport to fly home we took the circuitous route so we could stop at Rise Biscuits & Donuts in Durham for our last biscuit fix…delicious ending! I have found yummy biscuits in Portand, Oregon at The Tin Shed and Pine State Biscuits and right here in California at The Nickel Diner in LA and Brenda’s French Soul Food in SF. I love biscuits, its my crack.
In my mind there are 2 kinds of biscuits, soft tender almost cake like biscuits and buttery FLAKY biscuits. My current quest is for the latter, biscuits so flaky you can peel & eat them by layers. I came across a recipe from Dishes and Dust Bunnies that I wanted to have a go at. My first batch accompanied me to Mom’s Monday morning coffee where they were gobbled up. Flaky, buttery, slightly salty, tender, I inch ever closer to the perfect biscuit.
I made a few changes to the recipe….somewhere along the way I learned the addition of baking soda to biscuits made with buttermilk reduces the tangy flavor. Despite being a native San Franciscan I am not fond of sour flavored food. Sourdough bread, I’ll take a pass (blasphemous I know). I used unsalted butter and reduced the salt to 1 teaspoon. Remember the golden rules for making biscuits, keep the ingredients cold and don’t over mix. After chilling the dough, I rolled the dough into a 1/2 inch rectangle and folded the dough like an envelope (thirds) rolled again into 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Repeat twice. For taller biscuits roll dough to 1 inch thick on the final time. Expect biscuits to about double in height when baked.
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more on the side for dusting
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ¾ cup cold unsalted butter (1½ sticks), cut up into 1/2 inch piecs
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Combine dry ingredients bowl of food processor, pulse 2-3 times to mix
- Place butter on top of dry ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. It is ok if there are some pea sized pieces of butter left.
- Pour mixture into shallow bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the buttermilk to the mixture
- Combine with your hands or a dough scraper gently mixing to blend. The dough is supposed to be crumbly so don't over mix.
- After the dough has come together, chill in the fridge for about 10 - 15 minutes.
- Take the dough from the fridge and drop it onto a floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough.
- Roll the dough out into the shape of a rectangle about ½" thick. Sprinkle with a little flour.
- Fold the dough in thirds and roll it out to about ½" thick again.
- Fold over 2 more times and roll out to 3/4 - 1" inch thick. Sprinkle with a little flour.
- Use a circular cookie cutter (2" cutter), cut out the biscuits and place them onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Do not twist cutter when cutting out biscuits, press straight down.
- Alternative use a pizza cutter and cut cut dough into squares.
- Leave at least 1" of space around each one.
- Bake for 11 - 12 minutes until tops are golden.
- Optional - Brush melted butter over the tops of the biscuits once they come out of the oven.
- Serve with jam or butter