People are passionate about their biscuits!
Seriously, it’s easy to get into a heated debate about which type of flour, shortening or method produces the best biscuit. But this recipe was good enough for my grandma, so it’s good enough for me. Plus, I always have everything right on hand, so I’m never more than 20 minutes away from fresh, flaky biscuits!
The keys to great biscuits are:
- Fresh ingredients. Especially make sure that the baking powder still has a punch. If you haven’t used it in a while, test if by putting a teaspoon or so of hot tap water into a glass and sprinkling a little of the powder on top. If it bubbles up, it’s still good.
- Don’t overwork the dough. Just 3 or 4 stirs after adding the milk to make sure it’s mixed and then dump it out on a floured board to finish it up.
- Use a sharp cutter, and don’t twist it when cutting! A dull cutter, like a water glass, presses the edges of the dough together so that the biscuits don’t get a chance to rise. Likewise, when you twist the cutter, the cut edge is less likely to rise as much.
- Bake the biscuits towards the top of the oven. The heat from most home ovens comes from the bottom, and if the biscuits are too close to the heat source, the bottoms cook too quick and become dense and non-flaky.
Baking Powder Biscuits
- 2 cups all purpose flour the fresher, the better
- 1 tablespoon baking powder once again, fresh
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar optional - helps to eliminate the chemical taste of baking powders that contain Aluminum compounds
- 4 tablespoons cold Butter Crisco or Lard will work also - see notes
- ⅔ cup milk
Preheat oven to 425F.
Mix the dry ingredients
Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients
Cut in the butter with your fingertips or a pastry cutter
Stir in the milk until just blended. Don’t work the mixture too much, the dough should be very moist.
Sprinkle some flour on a dry board and dump out the dough
Pat the dough gently out until it is about 12″ round
Fold in half and pat out until it is a uniform, 1/2" to 3/4” thick
Use a biscuit cutter and press straight down into the dough (don’t twist as that action can seal the edges)
Place on cookie sheet spacing about 1/2" apart.
Bake on the top rack of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned on top.
Shortening - I prefer butter for no better reason than I always have it on hand. Some people find that lard imparts an undesirable flavor, but gives a more flaky biscuit. Crisco works fine but without the rich flavor of the butter.