Thursday, August 27, 2009

Buttermilk Biscuits

biscuitsbakingpowder (3)

The day it was 40C (104F) outside, I had the sudden urge to bake biscuits... the kind of recipe that requires the oven to be preheated to 425F! I don't even like biscuits, but when I want to bake something, I have to or else it drives me crazy. These were so much fun because everything is done by hand. I made easy drop biscuits before, but I've never attempted buttermilk biscuits because I was afraid they wouldn't get those flaky layers or rise. These were inspired by Em and Kelly (who offers really great tips for getting those perfect layers and height). I used the recipe from Chris Kimball because I had all the ingredients available except that I subbed the shortening for butter. It's probably me, but the last time I made banana bread with shortening to see if there was a difference in texture with butter, it sort of had a meat aftertaste. Since these are not flavoured, I didn't want beef tasting biscuits...gross!

I was pretty pleased with the rise, but the texture wasn't as soft as I would have liked. I think it was my fault for over working the dough though. I wanted those layers so badly that I folded and patted the dough down more than I should have. Next time, I'm going to buy some lard so I can try Em's recipe. Overall, I would say that these were a success because my brother who I usually have to beg to try a cookie, brownie or cupcake had 4 of these!


Baking Powder Biscuits
Chris Kimball

If you do not have buttermilk, you can substitute regular sweet milk as indicated below. For extra height, let the cut biscuits sit on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before baking.

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons chilled butter
3 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening (I used butter)
2/3 to 3/4 cup buttermilk

(I just used my fingers to rub the butter in and skipped the food processor)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 2 seconds to mix.
Add the butter, cut into 1-tablespoon bits, to the flour and pulse 6 times for one second each. Add shortening and pulse another 5 times or until mixture looks like coarse meal (the flour should take on a slightly yellowish hue from the butter).
Place mixture into a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold mixture together while adding buttermilk in a very thin stream. When mixture starts to hold together, press the dough with the side of the spatula. Note that you may use a little more or less than the 2/3-cup of buttermilk called for in this recipe.
Turn onto a floured surface and roll out dough very gently to a thickness of 1/2 inch. (I patted the dough down and folded it over a few times)

Use a biscuit cutter to cut the biscuits and then place on a cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, turning the sheet after 5 minutes in the oven.
Makes 10 thick 2 3/4-inch biscuits or 16 2-inch biscuits.
Substitute milk for buttermilk, add 3 teaspoons cream of tartar, and reduce baking powder to 1 teaspoon.


  1. Your biscuits look so tall! They rose extreemely well :)

  2. Your biscuits look so tall! They rose extreemely well :)

  3. I have never made biscuits because of the whole texture thing as well. I am sooo used to the berfect fluffy biscuits..and to make them and then them not turn out would just piss me off!!! lol

  4. They look flaky and perfect to me! I've been afraid to try biscuits, but I hope to give it a go sometime this fall (or this summer, if an intense urge strikes :->) You did an incredible job on these!

  5. Stunning. I loooove biscuits. What kind of shortening do you use that tastes like meat? I want some of that!

  6. Yours look beautiful!! So flaky!

    Hey are you going to the foodbuzz festival in Nov?

  7. Too bad you were not pleased with the texture, but they do look great!

  8. These look great and I'll bet tasted pretty good too! Biscuits are one thing I have never been able to make happen - no matter how hard I try or how closely I follow the recipe..... it must be something in my aura - or something.......... LOL

    They look flaky and I'll bet would be wonderful with (a lot) of butter!

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Those really do look wonderful. So flaky! I love trying new biscuit and scone recipes so I will add this one to the list of must-tries.

  10. These are absolutely gorgeous! They look like they have so many light and fluffy layers :).

  11. These biscuits look so fluffy...light and yummie! Great pictures!

  12. Biscuits are the ultimate comfort food for me. These look so fluffy and delicious!

  13. Mmm they look so flaky and delicious!!

  14. These are sooooooo beautiful and flaky!

  15. Hahaha a beef taste? Are you sure you used shortening and not lard? Lol j/k ;P These biscuits look great! :D

  16. I love biscuits. I'm glad you gave them a shot.

    I have to say that the secret to making good biscuits is to get rid of all of your expectations. For years the only biscuits I ever knew came from a can. I have to confess I loved those biscuits. When I started making my own, I couldn't let go of the ideal that biscuits were supposed to have the taste and texture of the ones from the can.

    Once I realized that my biscuits would never taste like Pillsbury, I came to accept that and love my biscuits for what they were. I make them much more often now.

  17. wow this is a perfect recipe for me because my son loves biscuits.



  18. Oh wow, your biscuits look perfect! You got great rise on them. Sorry the texture wasn't quite right, but it just gives you an excuse to try them again :)



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