Sure, you could press a spoon into the side of a can of Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits to open the container with a satisfying pop. But if ever there was a time to attempt the from-scratch version something delicious, Thanksgiving week is the time. I have southern roots, and buttermilk biscuits feel like part of my heritage - I've always thought I should be able to make some from scratch. Someday. But popping that Pillsbury container open is just so easy...and making biscuits from scratch seemed like an ancient art more suited to my grandmother and her sisters, who I see apron-clad in vintage kitchens in black and white photos.
Until today. Today I made buttermilk biscuits from scratch!...just like my grandmother, while my baby ran under foot and the wind whistled outside and a record spun on the turntable. Taking the time to make something classic in the old fashioned way seems like the real beginning of this nostalgic holiday season. Try it! This "ancient art" I was so intimidated by beforehand is actually really fast and easy - one of the easiest baking projects I've ever tried! And they taste so much more satisfying than the kind from a can.
One thing Southern Living was adamant about is the type of self-rising flour they use. They swear by White Lily brand...and I was so determined to follow their recipe to the T that I ordered it on the internet (after striking out at every Brooklyn store I tried). This recipe also taught me a great trick for combining butter and flour - they grate the frozen butter on a box grater to make small, uniform pieces before adding it to the flour. I love this trick! This could work on all kinds of pastry - I'm going to try it next time I make pie dough.
I'm showing lots of photos of to include all of the steps here, and the recipe is below - but don't forget to pop over and check out the video if you need a bit more confidence before starting out.
Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), frozen
- 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 cup chilled buttermilk
- Parchment paper
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 475°. Grate frozen butter using large holes of a box grater. Toss together grated butter and flour in a medium bowl. Chill 10 minutes.
- Make a well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk, and stir 15 times. Dough will be sticky.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly sprinkle flour over top of dough. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Fold dough in half so short ends meet. Repeat rolling and folding process 4 more times.
- Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch floured round cutter, reshaping scraps and flouring as needed.
- Place dough rounds on a parchment paper-lined jelly-roll pan. Bake at 475° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with melted butter.
I like to think that my grandmother is smiling down on me with lots of pride today...perhaps even more importantly, my biscuits passed the Vivi test (okay she's not a very discerning judge, but she is my grandmother's namesake after all).
These biscuits are totally worth the effort. Whether it's biscuits or some other daunting recipe you try, we're wishing you many worthwhile family traditions this coming holiday!
(all photos, Jamie Grill Photography)