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!)

    Ingredients needed

Stir together the flour, sugar, powder, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Dry ingredients

Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or a couple of knives, until the butter chunks are pea-sized or smaller.

Butter in tiny chunks.

Make a “well” in the center of the bowl.  Add a cup of milk and stir it in gently.

1 cup of milk

If the dough is too dry to hold together without packing it, add a little more milk and stir it in.

Flour around the edges and bottom, so I added 1/4 cup more milk.

Do not over-stir the dough- it’s better a little loose and crumbly than smooth and perfectly incorporated.

No more extra flour, and things are lumpy and under-stirred. Just how it should be.

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.

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).


Folded again.

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.


As thick as the biscuit cutter.

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!

Cut out, the dough is coming through the holes in the cutter- this is good.

Touching, and note that the right-hand biscuits look a little less smooth than the right-hand ones. That is due to the right ones being the second and third cuttings.

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.

Halfway through…puffy but still white.

Done to perfection! And sooooo delicious!

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!


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2 Responses to Biscuits

  1. Amie says:

    I’m going to make these this weekend. Thanks, Julia!

  2. Tim Holum says:

    As her husband, I am going to say these are delicious! It is very rare for there to be any left over if we have these at a party or potluck. I will give some advice make a double batch :)

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