Biscuits are easy to make, and relatively inexpensive too. When making them, keep in mind that overworking the dough will result in hard pucks instead of the flaky softness you’re going for. It’s better to handle it less than you think it needs.
Time: 30-40 minutes total
Temperature: 450º F
- 3 cups all-purpose flour or 1.5 cups all-purpose, 1.5 cups whole wheat
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 very heaped Tablespoon (or 4- 5 teaspoons) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter (one and a half sticks), soft or at least slightly softer than fresh from the fridge or 3/4 cup shortening
- 1- 1.5 cup milk or buttermilk (I often use slightly expired milk for this – nothing chunky though!)
Stir together the flour, sugar, powder, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or a couple of knives, until the butter chunks are pea-sized or smaller.
Make a “well” in the center of the bowl. Add a cup of milk and stir it in gently.
If the dough is too dry to hold together without packing it, add a little more milk and stir it in.
Do not over-stir the dough- it’s better a little loose and crumbly than smooth and perfectly incorporated.
Flour a counter top and dump the dough onto it, scraping the stuck bits out of the bowl. Form the dough into a loose ball.
Flatten it a little with your hands, fold it in half on itself, give it a half turn and fold it again (the shape of a baseball diamond).
Re-shape it into a circle. Folding the dough will act like gentle kneading, and it will help the biscuits flake horizontally.
With your hands or a rolling pin flatten the dough until it is about 3/4 to 1 inch thick, or as thick as your biscuit cutter. Try to keep the dough the same thickness on the edges as in the middle.
Cut out the biscuits and place them, touching, on a baking sheet. Repeat the flatten/cut stage as needed, but try to be especially quick and gentle since the extra handling will make the second and third cuttings tougher than the first. If they don’t look perfect, they will taste better!
Bake in a 450° F oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and fully cooked. If you are using whole wheat flour, it could take 20 minutes or more for them to cook all the way through. To check for doneness, press gently on the top of a biscuit near where it touches another – if it feels firm they are probably done, if it feels soft or sticky, bake them longer.
I like to eat them immediately with soup, as open-face sloppy joe buns, or for the cake in strawberry shortcakes. They are also a favorite among friends and family!