Southern Biscuits

From an excerpt of a book sent by Joyce
This makes 10.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board (if you can get White Lily flour, your biscuits will be even better)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (use one without aluminum)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, kept in freezer
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (approx)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined.
  3. Put the dry ingredients and the frozen butter chunks in a food processor, pulse a few times until it resembles coarse meal.
  4. Add the buttermilk and mix by hand JUST until combined. If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured board.
  6. With floured hands, gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick.
  7. Use a round cutter or drinking glass to cut into rounds.
  8. You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
  9. Place the biscuits on a greased cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other. If you like”crusty” sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.
  10. Bake for about 10-12 minutes- the biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.
  11. Do not overbake.

Note

The key to real biscuits is not in the ingredients, but in the handling of the dough. The dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits. I have found that a food processor produces superior biscuits, because the ingredients stay colder and there’s less chance of overmixing.
You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly. Rolling with a rolling pin is a guaranteed way to overstimulate the gluten, resulting in a tougher biscuit.
You can make these biscuits, cut them, put them on cookie sheets and freeze them for up to a month. When you want fresh biscuits, simply place them frozen on the cookie sheet and bake at 450°F for about 20 minutes.

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