All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

making buttermilk biscuits

When I was 9 years old and newly arrived in Pascagoula, Mississippi, my mother signed me up for the local 4-H club, where I learned to make these biscuits. I think that time was where the foodie germ came from, because I went on to win a blue ribbon for my biscuits - and from that moment on I never stopped cooking.
In Mississippi, many folks eat biscuits every day - and not just for breakfast. I still remember visiting my next door neighbor, Linda Gail Ivy, after school and sitting at her table dipping buttermilk biscuits in pools of sticky molasses, while her sister blasted the music of local-boy-made-good, Elvis Presley. We looked at each other and rolled our eyes, then got back to the business of eating biscuits.
After years of trying to find a recipe that resembled the one I remember making - I found it, or close to it - on Homesick Texan ( She's listed on blogs here, so if you click on her blog, then click on top favorites, you'll find the recipe.
I made several batches today - and three sizes of biscuits. I use a drinking glass to cut out two of them, and a pastry tip to punch out little tiny ones for my granddaughter's "tea party". Big, big hit - and big mistake, since she spooned at least a tablespoon of that strawberry jam on each tiny biscuit and down her sparkling white Mexican dress. The big ones are being frozen for our 4th of July strawberry shortcakes - and the medium ones? Gone in a flash............

While the ingredients list seemed to be what I remembered ( except we used lard instead of butter), Ms. Homesick Texan and I have very different ways of technique. The technique I learned was to handle the dough as lightly as possible, and the dough was as soft and silky "as a baby's bottom". Some of my taste testers preferred my method, which made for a softer biscuit, and one that didn't toughen as much after baking.
So herewith, the directions:
Preheat oven to 400.
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled, cut in little pieces (or 1/2 lard, 1/2 unsalted butter)
2 cups flour ( if you have a flour bin , fluff up the flour before measuring, and use a knife to even off the cup measure)
1 T. baking powder
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
3/4 ( plus or minus) buttermilk
Fluff up flour and measure into a mixer bowl. Add the baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the cut up butter and/or butter and lard and mix until you see pea-size bits of butter in the flour. Add the buttermilk, starting with between 1/2 - 3/4 cup. Mix briefly. If it holds together well, and looks moist, then do not add any more buttermilk. If it still looks dry, add a little buttermilk at a time until it holds together in a damp ball. Remove from bowl to floured board.
Briefly, squeeze dough and form into a ball. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out gently to about a half inch thickness. The dough should feel silky and soft as "a baby's bottom".
Using a drinking glass, cut out biscuits and place on a baking sheet that has been fitted with foil. You can re-use the scraps, but don't handle it too much or it will toughen.
Place biscuits close together, and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes.
Remove and cool.
This will make about a dozen medium sized biscuits, about 9 large, and a zillion little pastry tip baby biscuits for tea parties.


Barb said...

Those biscuits look AMAZING!!! If I could only just reach in and take one off the screen, I'd be in biscuit heaven! Guess I better go find that recipe and give 'em a try. I can see why you won a blue ribbon - heavenly!!!!

katrina said...

Hi Barb

Thanks! I just added the recipe with my very different technique than Homesick Texan ( who I hope will understand!) Hope you try out both and let me know which you preferred...........


katrina said...

Please note the buttermilk is 3/4 CUP more or less on the ammended version of the recipe - which seems to have disappeared on Blogger!


Barb said...

Thanks Katrina for posting your technique - I'll give it a go.

I just found your blog from a link from Farmgirl Fare (aren't blogs amazing?). Yours seems especially interesting (and yummy!), so I'll be visting you often.

thanks again.

katrina said...

Barb, thank you SO much - and thanks to Farmgirl for mentioning my little blog!
I'm passionately interested in food - and I try to make sure my recipes work - so get back to me if there are any glitches for you!

dina said...

I love your photo on the top of your blog - reminds me of some old family photos that I have around here... My roots are in Mississippi, too... have scads of cousins, aunts, and uncles there. Sadly, I've only been once - I'm the "yankee" cousin.

Interestingly enough, I also have a culinary degree - in baking. (My Mississippi grandpa was a baker and owned a bakery, as well.) I'm thinking we must be kin somehow! :) LOL!

Thanks for the great buscuit recipe - I've got several that I couldn't imagine life without - one of my faves is very similar to tis one. I'll give yours a go soon!


katrina said...

Dina - I was forever the "Yankee" and I left Mississippi three years after I arrived - going North again. You have a degree in baking? With that photo of you with an iguana on your head, it figures. We bakers are an odd lot, that is too true. But sweet hearted and just a tad wacky! Thanks for dropping by to check out the blog - and introduce yourself!

Andrea said...

I completely understand the daily biscuit addiction having grown up with my mother's and grandmother's amazing biscuits. My mother and grandmother always did the pinch method, no cutting required. Good memories!

katrina said...

Andrea - for a minute I was frowning and saying "pinch method - for biscuits?" and wondering what they'd look like. Then I realized you were talking about the butter! I see you're reading Sherry Yard's book, too! Fantastic - and I have to stop borrowing it and get my own...

Linda said...

I can't wait to try these biscuits. I'm from the east coast but currently living in Alabama and my husband loves buttermilk biscuits. I have attempted to make these for the past 5 years and they come out like little rocks. I'm going to make yours this weekend and let you know how they came out. I agree, the photo is amazing. I want one now! Linda,

katrina said...

That's great, Linda! Let me know how the recipe works for you.....I too love biscuits, and I think it's just about time to make a dozen of these for eating and freezing. I've been thinking of making a chicken pot pie with the biscuit dough - but not until the weather cools off a little!

jessie said...

i love biscuits more than anything. YUM!!

katrina said...

Delighted, jessie- and hope you have fun making them!

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