There are many, many variations on biscuits. I’ll get around to making a few different kinds, but this time I wanted something easy, quick to prepare, and not greasy. I was looking for light and fluffy drop biscuits. No rolling or cutting rounds out of the dough needed here. Just mix the ingredients together and plop the dough in individual piles onto a pan. Done and done.
I like using a combination of shortening and butter to get both a light texture and a good flavor. The other addition for flavor is to use buttermilk as the binding liquid. Actually, there is more to buttermilk than just flavor. The natural acidity in the buttermilk helps act as leavening agent when combined with the baking powder and baking soda. Science works!
One thing I have learned living in the South is that White Lily flour is essential to getting the best biscuits. No science backing this one up, just good ol’ southern tradition. Using the self-rising White Lily flour is a great standard and lends some fantastic results if you just follow the instructions on the back of the package. I accidentally picked up the non-self-rising White Lily flour, so I had to add my own leavening. You can use other brands of all-purpose flour, but be careful with the protein content. High protein, which is essential for gluten formation, is all kinds of bad news for southern-style biscuits. Not good, people. Not good. Don’t even try to make these with cake flour. In fact, if you have some cake flour, consider using about 1/2 to 3/4 cups less of the regular all-purpose flour and replacing it with the cake flour.
A word of caution before use these biscuits as a base for your sandwiches: These are kinda crumbly. These light and fluffy biscuits are not like the dense, high-fat kinds that are common for biscuit sandwiches. Don’t let it get in your way though, it didn’t pose too much of a problem. Besides, I think I prefer these to the denser kinds. They are much less greasy and have a wonderful buttermilk tang to it. I’ll make some denser rolled and cut biscuits another day. Until then, the ease of these will likely make them my go-to biscuit for the time being. (Besides, I have a bit more buttermilk to use up!)
Light and fluffy biscuits
2 cups sifted flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, chilled
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled
1. Preheat oven to 475F.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar together.
3. Cut in the butter and shortening. If you have a food processor, just whir it together a few times until it looks like cornmeal. I don’t have a food processor, so I just try to work the fats into the flour using my fingertips. Try to work fairly quickly so the fats don’t melt too much.
4. Add the buttermilk and stir to combine. It will be a gloopy mess, that’s fine, these are free-form, messy drop biscuits.
5. Try to make about 6 evenly sized biscuits on a sheet pan and place into the oven. Immediately increase the heat to 500F and bake for about 10 minutes, until the tops of the biscuits have become golden and some of the craggy peaks become browned.
- Southern Fried Chicken
- Scrambled Eggs
- Don’t Fold It, Roll It
- Cheese grits