Quick, Easy and So Much Better Than a Mix
There's absolutely nothing wrong with serving biscuits from a cardboard tube or a boxed mix: They're quick and convenient, and you can have them in the oven in moments. That being said, making homemade biscuits with self-rising flour requires barely any more time and effort, and the finished biscuits have that unmistakable scratch-baked flavor. The next time you're tempted to reach for a mix, try this recipe instead. You'll wonder why you haven't made your own all along.
Total Time: 20 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Yields: 12 biscuits
- 2 cups self-rising flour, plus more for dusting your counter
- 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
- 3/4 cup cold buttermilk or regular milk (you might not need all of it)
- Heat your oven to 450F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and set it near your work surface.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour and butter until the butter is in lumps the size of peas, then pour it into a mixing bowl. If you're mixing by hand, use two knives or a pastry cutter to bring the mixture to the same stage.
- Add most of the buttermilk, keeping back a few tablespoons. Stir the dough a few times with a spoon, just enough to combine the flour and liquid. If it isn't fully moistened, add the remaining milk. The dough should be very sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and dust it with additional flour. Knead three or four times, lightly, then pat out the dough into an oblong that's roughly 1/2-inch thick.
- With a sharp, lightly floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Stack the trim pieces together and pat them out into a smaller oblong, and cut a few more biscuits. You should have 10 to 12 in total. Gather up any remaining scraps with your fingers, and shape them into a final small biscuit.
- Place the cut biscuits on the parchment-lined sheet, spacing them so they're almost touching if you prefer soft-sided biscuits, or 1/2 inch to 1 inch apart if you like your biscuits to have crisp edges. They'll rise slightly higher if you place them close together.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the biscuits are well risen and the tops are golden brown. Biscuits baked close together will take slightly longer. Remove the biscuits from your oven and serve immediately, while they're hot.
- With self-rising flour both regular milk and buttermilk will work equally well, though buttermilk lends a pleasantly old-fashioned tang to their flavor. If you don't keep buttermilk on hand, whisking a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt into your milk makes a pretty good substitute.
- For extra-flaky biscuits, pat out the dough and then fold it into thirds, as if you were folding a letter to go into an envelope. Pat it out, and fold it twice more. Then cut them as described. They'll be extra light and high as a result.
- If you wish, you can brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. It's optional, but a nice extra touch.
- If you don't have self-rising flour in your cupboard and your local supermarkets don't always carry it, you can make your own. For every 2 cups of all-purpose flour, sift in a tablespoon of baking powder and a teaspoon of salt. That basic batch gives you enough to make this recipe, but you'll need some extra all-purpose flour for dusting and rolling.
Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.