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Basic Biscuits

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This is probably the simplest biscuit recipe that I know. It's pretty fast to throw together and I like to top my chicken pot pies with this dough.

Set aside 2 cups all-purpose flour in a large mixing bowl. Prepare 6 tablespoons cold butter, 3/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.


Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Then, using a pastry cutter (shown on left), a pair of knives, a spoon, or your hands, cut the butter into the flour. Basically, cut the butter and mix with flour to coat and separate the pieces. Continue until you get pea sized pieces of butter. It is important that the butter be cold for this process and not begin to melt. If it starts to get a little mushy, you can slip it into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm back up a bit before continuing.


Pour the milk in and mix gently with a spatula. We're not looking for a kneading action her, just a gently mix. (Kneading will produce gluten which will make the biscuit bread like instead of light and flaky.) Using your hands, form the dough into a ball once the milk has been evenly distributed through the dough. You might need to use a kneading action to get it into a managable shape and to remove some dough fromt eh sides of your container, but try not to knead too much.


Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper or clean surface and roll out into a large sheet about 1/4 in. in thickness. Use a cup or biscuit cutter to cut rounds out of the dough. Do not twist the cup or cutter (unless you have already cut all the way through). Twisting will result in uneven or failed rising. Usually it's a good idea to press the top of the biscuit down a little or else you will get biscuits with rounded tops.

Now, biscuit placement is key to getting good rise out of the biscuits. Place the biscuit dough circles into two 9" cake rounds or onto a half sheet pan. Have the biscuits just touching. This should give enough air between the biscuits to allow even heating, but not so much space that the biscuits spread out when they rise. Bake in a 425°F oven until golden (about 15 minutes).


Basic Biscuits
2 cups flourmixcut into pea sizemixroll out and cutbake at 425°F until golden
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. butter, cold
3/4 cup milk
Copyright Michael Chu 2004
Perhaps this is a good time to discuss baking pans with respect to biscuits. The use of a nonstick baking pan will result in your biscuit bottoms turning black while the tops are not yet golden. Aluminum foil and dark metal pans often have the same affect. Probably the best pan to use for biscuits is a gray aluminum pan.
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Written by Michael Chu
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96 comments on Basic Biscuits:(Post a comment)

On November 09, 2005 at 09:18 AM, TheSims (guest) said...
FYI: "Southern Biscuits" like my mother-in-law makes start with crisco and are best topped with "Cane Syrup" or home made jellies.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:18 AM, an anonymous reader said...
If you add 1/4 cup of milk, you can make "drop biscuits" (i.e., without kneading or rolling), just drop lumps onto the pan.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:18 AM, an anonymous reader said...
For non-Americans: - these are also known as scones! They taste especially yummy with whipped cream and raspberry jam.
Or else to make them savoury put lots of cheese in the mixture.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:18 AM, an anonymous reader said...
this is hilarious
to me a biscuit is a crunchy kind of cookie. that's why I love this site from the other end of the world we see how different recipies morph into different names morph into something delicious. thankyou Aussie


On November 09, 2005 at 09:19 AM, an anonymous reader said...
No, these are not scones. My wife makes both biscuits and scones from scratch, and they are very different. I'm sure that the difference is mostly in the proportions, and perhaps an ingredient or two, but if I had a biscuit with whipped cream on top, I would be very disappointed.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:19 AM, an anonymous reader said...
these worked great. i didn't knead them, or roll them out. i just shaped them with my hands and tucked them into a baking pan because I don't have a cookie sheet right now. they disappeared faster than the hot cakes.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:19 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Alton Brown says that if you can master a basic american biscuit recipe, you will have no trouble learning to makes scones and shortbreads. For a more authentic southern taste and more fluff in the biscuit, use buttermilk in place of the regular milk. Cane syrup is also known as surguhm in some areas. It is similiar to molasses but not as dark and smokey.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:20 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Dont want the bottom of your cookies to burn???
You simply have to take about any type of baking pan and sheet the bottom (underneath) with one or two layer of aluminum foil. It will reflect the heat and isolate substancially the bottom of your precious jewels. This works amazingly well... ( Mandatory note: For econergic purpose I suggest to always reuse the same aluminum, since aluminum is solid electricity and that electricity is scarce, well not here in Quebec, but.... (we even heat our dwellings with electricity, but thats another story))


On November 09, 2005 at 09:20 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Scones include sugar and currants in their ingredients. They aren't too easy to find in KY bakeries so I bake my own.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:21 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I love southern homemade, Biscuits are not suppose to have jelly, sugar or anything else on them, they are suppose to be fluffy, buttery, and golden brown. To sop up your gravy and mashed potatoes when your eating that southern fried chicken. Thats how you eat a southern Biscuits


On November 09, 2005 at 09:21 AM, an anonymous reader said...
As a long time Southern biscuit maker, I have to add that biscuits are used in many different ways. At dinner, like the previous comment. But at breakfast, under sausage gravy which is best made with ham sausage and plenty of cracked pepper. But for those with a sweet tooth there is nothing better than a good jam or preserves or homemade applebutter (this way often with prime rib.) Traditional strawberry shortcake is made with sweet biscuits (just add sugar and you can brush with cream, sprinkle with sugar before baking) split and filled with sugared sliced strawberries and whipped cream. These days I make my biscuits with heavy cream instead of shortening (recipe on FoodTV for Cream Biscuits.) Easier and just as tasty. If I was in the UK I would definitely use clotted cream to both make and top!


On November 09, 2005 at 09:21 AM, Fla (guest) said...
These scones this bitch put on this web-site made me sick as hell! Because of the ammounts of milk (3/4 cup), the outrageously ammounts of milk required made me shoot Old Faithful out of my ass. It felt like 450 degrees of boiling water shooting brown out. Now, because of you I have to get new drapes. And $20 worth of Preperation H.

THANKS A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!!


On November 09, 2005 at 09:21 AM, Marvi (guest) said...
Could margarine be used as a substitute for the butter? My friend is stubbornly health conscious and I know she'll know I put butter in these.

And to Fla: That's really REALLY unfortunate, my friend. Condolences for your arse.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:22 AM, Michael Chu said...
You should be able to substitute the butter with margarine, but if your friend wants you to do it for health reasons, then you're friend may be misinformed. If you must use margarine, try to use margarines with as few trans fatty acids as possible.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:22 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Actually, the British use of the word biscuit is very meaningful, as it comes from the Latin panis biscotus, or "bread twice cooked,"

You yanks call them cookies.

To make them crisp the practice was to lightly cook them (not brown) let them cool and the next day cook them again to brown them up. This practise produces by far the best biscuits (Cookies), once tried its hard to go back to the single cooking method.

You Yanks removed sugar from scones and call them biscuits, very curious indeed. I have cooked for Americans and have learnt to appreciate Southern soul food, It was a steep learning curve. but boiled intestines was the pits LOL

But you lot really know how to put on a BBQ.


On November 09, 2005 at 09:22 AM, an anonymous reader said...
A biscuits a biscuit the world around. A good biscuit depends a lot on the patience and attitude of the cook. Yes attitude. Sometimes we get what we expect.


On December 23, 2005 at 12:55 PM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: using a griddle
I read about cooking biscuits on a griddle from the "Joy of Cooking" and have found it to be a wonderful way to cook biscuits. Warm your griddle to a medium heat, then let the biscuits cook for 5-7 mins on each side, until golden brown. They pop up so nice this way!


On January 08, 2006 at 10:35 AM, biscuiteater (guest) said...
Subject: biscuit v scone
Scones are much more dense and dry than biscuits. They almost always contain current or a similar fruit, although variations do abound. I must say that I find the texture rather disagreeable.

Hot, fluffy, southern-style, buttermilk biscuits on the other hand...drizzled with honey and served with fried chicken, split, with butter, slathered with preserves, hiding underneath my sausage gravy...however you serve them, are a heavenly little poof of home. Yum!

The one discrepancy I keep finding among recipes (often referred to as 'receipts' in the old south) is how far apart the biscuits should be placed prior to baking. Just touching, a few inches apart, an inch apart...

...I guess I'll just have to keep on baking them until I get it right. Darn. ;)


On January 20, 2006 at 11:14 PM, north carolina (guest) said...
Subject: biscuits
southern biscuits are made with lard,to be true southern. thank you


On January 24, 2006 at 09:36 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Biscuits
this recipe is great. I made a batch which turned out perfectly. My mom was so impressed that she ate most of them. Guess i'll have to make more. I did find though that my biscuits only took about 10 min to cook not 15.


On February 27, 2006 at 01:48 PM, jim (guest) said...
Subject: pot pie?
How come the chicken pot pie recipe isn't in the recipe file?


On February 27, 2006 at 03:51 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: pot pie?
jim wrote:
How come the chicken pot pie recipe isn't in the recipe file?

It is... but unfortunately, the way I've coded the website, it lists recipes in alphabetic order by the title that I've gave the original article - which in this case is Traditional Chicken Pot Pit. I want to change how this works, but I'm not sure what the best method of listing recipe names is...


On April 04, 2006 at 05:26 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Wow! I had no idea that we could be so touchy about what to call biscuits, cookies, scones, etc.! :lol: I don't think any one person makes any of the before mentioned exactly like anyone else, the key is to find what works for you. Also, it helps not to get your hopes up when biting into someone else's recipe or confection. :P It might not be exactly the way you were hoping for it to be. (If not you can always smother it in butter and pancake syrup----mmmmmmmmmmmmm.)


On May 05, 2006 at 08:51 PM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: Biscuit Thread
<quote>Could margarine be used as a substitute for the butter? My friend is stubbornly health conscious and I know she'll know I put butter in these. <quote>

I'm curious as to why your friend would prefer margarine to butter for health reasons?

Emily
Everything Kitchens


On May 07, 2006 at 06:53 PM, wanjean2@sbcglobal.net (guest) said...
Subject: busquiit delimma
[b:a1c61ace81]What insures a "fluffy" about 3 inch high bisquit
is it the cold butter, the bisquit cutter? or what, (novice) does the butter milk make a difference in the raise :shock: :shock: i wanted large and high and used a hollow tuna can but for some reason not flakey enough
i want a fluffy, light,high, soft brown on top. busquit any suggestions. :unsure: [/b:a1c61ace81]cant get grandmas recipe right Wanda


On May 11, 2006 at 02:31 AM, Allyne (guest) said...
Subject: Dense scones?
Bad scones are dense! Good ones are much more biscuit-like in texture.


On August 06, 2006 at 09:25 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I would say, as an Aussie, that what you call biscuits is a kind of mini damper. Scones do NOT 'almost always' have fruit in them, perhaps if you are American but not traditionally. Traditionally, scones are an afternoon tea thing and you would never serve them with anything like meat. Damper you might, though. If your scones are dry you need to change your recipe, I wouldn't eat them. Damper is fairly versatile and I would say that is what your 'biscuits' are. But if you expect these to be flat, sweet and tasty you'd be surprised!


On August 30, 2006 at 03:15 AM, moonknee (guest) said...
Subject: cold butter shortcut
A good way to get the butter the right size without it warming up too much is to stick it in the freezer first, then grate it (using the large holes on a box grater) into the dry ingredients.


On August 31, 2006 at 04:15 AM, Missipi Mike (guest) said...
One cool trick I've learned to make the biscuits easier to open... Just make two thin layers of dough and stack them together to make the recomended 1/4 inch. Taking the extra time in the beginning to make the top and bottom seperate will make them easy to load up later with butter and such.


On August 31, 2006 at 09:48 PM, Scott (guest) said...
Subject: Those biscuits...
I used to buy biscuits until I found out how easy it is to make them - well, I'm English - we must stop for tea and biscuits every evening!

It's suprising how quick and easy biscuits can be, especially if a food processor is used.

My only tip for this is that to create a sweet romantic gesture, cut the biscuit "dough" into heart shapes, and top when cooled with blood red icing (warm water, icing sugar, and a small drop of food colouring). So very easy but so very effective...

Scott Sinclair
http://www.realepicurean.com


On October 22, 2006 at 12:42 AM, an anonymous reader said...
What we call scones and find in american coffee shops most Brits would call rock cakes.


On December 16, 2006 at 04:47 PM, mississippi girl (guest) said...
Subject: baking vessel
Just wanted to share that in baking biscuits (we always use buttermilk, my mom uses shortening but I like butter better) my family and just about anyone I know uses an iron skillet for baking biscuits. The iron is thick and the heat is evenly distributed so that they don't get done on the bottom before the top is done. I've tried them on cookie sheets and it just isnt the same.


On January 03, 2007 at 03:14 AM, rolltiderol6969 (guest) said...
Subject: scone vs biscuts
I think everyone needs to relax. Embrace each others differences. Thats why we have different cultures. The Japanese don't stress about what we call bruchetto (SP) we also know that as rice things are different for a reason. take up an International cooking class you may find you have much to learn. now back to my very basic question: I live in Germany and when I make biscuits/scones they brown faster on the bottom than the top, that has never happened to me in the US I am wondering why?


On January 03, 2007 at 03:19 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: scone vs biscuts
rolltiderol6969 wrote:
I live in Germany and when I make biscuits/scones they brown faster on the bottom than the top, that has never happened to me in the US I am wondering why?

Just a guess: If your pan is different - a darker pan than the one you used in the US - then the bottom will brown faster.


On January 08, 2007 at 05:10 AM, jewel (guest) said...
Subject: fluffy biscuits
wanjean2 asked the same question I've had about biscuits. The ones @ KFC are so much fluffier than mine ever come out. Anyone out there have suggestions for making the flaky, fluffy biscuits??


On January 11, 2007 at 07:02 PM, Peter (guest) said...
Subject: biscuits
I grew up with Biscuits as one of the forms of bread that appeared on the dinner table (biscuits, spoon bread, corn bread or rolls). Using any shortening but Lard or Crisco was unthinkable.
At weddings, funerals and other rites of passage, they appeared with paper- thin slices of Smithfield Ham in the middle. Beaten biscuits were an acceptable alternate with ham.
Biscuits were an inch, maybe an inch and a quarter in diameter. I never saw a 'big, fluffy biscuit' until I moved to Georgia.


On January 17, 2007 at 09:17 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Factors that Influence fluffiness
I like my biscuits to be as tall and airy as possible (unless I'm going to make breakfast sandwiches out of them...then I purposely make them a little denser for stability)

The first and most important thing for light biscuits is to use "southern" flour. Even here in yankee Ohio, White Lily brand is available, but I hear King Arthur also makes a suitable version. The right kind of flour will be called "soft", "southern", or "winter wheat". It's a low-protein wheat that will lighten your baked goods...basically the opposite of bread flour. If you can't find soft flour at all, you can mix equal parts of all-purpose flour and cake flour.

Also, I use a 50-50 mix of butter and vegetable shortening for my biscuits. Butter gives great taste, but shortening makes the biscuits more tender. The mix is a good compromise.

Buttermilk gives better texture and flavor than regular milk. Period. Adding a tiny amount (like 1/4 teaspoon) of baking soda to counteract the acidity of the buttermilk is a good idea. I also use about 1 cup of buttermilk to 2 cups of flour. The dough is much stickier and harder to work with, but the secret to light biscuits is a wet dough. Make it as sticky as you can stand to work with. You know what the contents of a can of Pillsbury biscuit dough is like? Yeah, a sticky mess...but they end up nice and light because sticky is key! If your dough ball won't stick hopelessly to an unfloured surface, you don't have enough liquid.

Finally, I pat my dough out (on a floured surface, of course) to a greater thickness than this recipe calls forógenerally about 3/4 inch. If you want them tall, they need to start tall. I can take the same dough that makes tall, fluffy poofs of buttery deliciousness at 3/4 inch, and find that it makes little dry hockey pucks rolled out to 1/4 inch. You're really trying to lower the surface-area to volume ratio so they don't crust too much.

And about placement. I've found that putting them on the baking sheet with about 1/4 inch gap between adjacent biscuits is perfect. That way they don't fuse into a big mass, but they still butt up against each other and help their fellow biscuits rise. Being adjacent to other biscuits is key in getting them to go UP instead of OUT. Therefore, I also like to arrange them so that there are as few "edge" biscuits as possible...you want as many of your biscuits as possible to be surrounded by others on all sides. One row of 12 biscuits would be horrible...you want the opposite. Consider it a packing problem.

Just my tips...take 'em or 'leave em.

-- Dave in Ohio


On February 04, 2007 at 05:06 AM, Mangala said...
Subject: cheese biscuits
When making savoury biscuits to eat with a soup or stew, I use a very similar dough. But they are so much tastier if, after being rolled out, the dough is buttered, sprinkled liberally with grated cheddar cheese, and then rolled into a tube and sliced. The result is little spirals of cheesy, flaky goodness with a crisp outer layer.

I cannot figure out why only my mom and grandmother seem to make biscuits like this.


On February 08, 2007 at 10:13 PM, TOM (guest) said...
Subject: BISQUITS?
:( ALL THIS CRAP ABOUT BISQUITS, GOING TO GET MY COOKBOOK OUT. Southern or yankee biG deal, havng eaten bisquits in 46 states and Canada the really great ones come from southern Mo. thats the recipe Im looking for


On February 11, 2007 at 06:06 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Adding a quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar stops the biscuits from getting too high and toppling over.


On March 05, 2007 at 02:01 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Best biscuits ever
That was the easyest recipe ever AND THE BISCUITS WERE DELICIOUS! Maxium effect for minimum work.


On March 09, 2007 at 07:52 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Tricks
for those of you who would like a lighter fluffier biscuit try using half and half of two different flours. All purpose and pastry cake flour. If the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour use 1 cup of all purpose and one cup of pastry flour. Hear is another trick as well. Place your butter, margarine or lard whatever the recipe calls for and the cheese grater as well ;) in the freezer while you sift the dry goods. The key is keeping the butter cold !!! Grate the butter into your dry goods, and mix well, until the flour looks like meal. Avoid using your hands to mix, because the heat of your hands will melt the butter. Also i find best is a heavy bottom pan, such as cast iron. Hope that these few tips help out. Happy Biscuit Making!!


On May 27, 2007 at 10:04 PM, CLove (guest) said...
Subject: yumyum
I have to say that I followed the directions to a T and they came out beautifully. They only took 12min to bake and I baked them on a lightly buttered, very old cookie pan (the pan is probably aluminum and darkened by use over many years in my mother's kitchen). I used a heart shaped cookie cutter, so very cute. No, they didn't grow very tall, but I figured I'd just roll the dough thicker next time, but they did pull apart easily and were delightfully fluffy. I'll never buy a tube again! :)


On August 30, 2007 at 08:21 PM, Choupique (guest) said...
Subject: bisquits
Nice soft flakey bisquits are great to eat topped with butter and jelly but
does anyone have any suggestions how to make bisquits more elastic so
gravey or syrop can be sopped with out them crumbling before they can be lifted to your mouth?


On September 08, 2007 at 05:35 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I think if you want a "doughier" biscuit you'd knead them to get the gluten up to make it a bit less flakey. I'll say these were really good biscuits and I didn't get any complaints. We did spicey hot sausage with coon gravey my husband whipped up. I'm not entirely sure what coon gravey is as it's a Southern thing and I am a mear Yankee :) He may never tell me the secret!


On September 10, 2007 at 05:48 PM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: More elastic bisquits
Thanks for the tip...I will have to try making my mixture dryer and
working and kneeding a lot more and see how the turn out.

I am from the deep South too and dont know what coon gravey is but
it sounds interesting.

Thanks again for the reply.


On November 28, 2007 at 05:05 PM, Lady4real (guest) said...
:unsure: my biscuits didn't come out as well, idk why, I followed the recipe almost exactly... substituting margarine for butter and 2% milk =/


On February 04, 2008 at 08:35 PM, southern_lass (guest) said...
Subject: substitutions
to the commenter above:
you've made the wrong substitutions ;)
i'm 41 years old and learned how to make biscuits when i was very young. when my grandmother first allowed me to participate, i was so small i had to stand in a chair.
and one of the things i have learned is that biscuits are not health food, lol. you cannot expect to achieve a light & fluffy end result by using margarine or 2% milk. such a substitution would have the old southern ladies gasping with shock.
michael has a very good recipe here that shouldn't require a lot of revision. the only difference in his recipe and my gran's is that she almost always used buttermilk with a pinch of baking soda to cut it. and she never used a cutter. in my family we just flour our hands, pinch off a dough ball & softly roll it in hand before putting it in the pan. the final step before baking (and i don't do this) was to take a small spoon & dip some bacon fat to spread over the tops. this brings about the same effect as brushing with butter.
i'm flummoxed over why so many readers are argumentative about what should go in/on/with a biscuit. it's all a matter of taste & in my family, the tastes range from butter & syrup, to gravy, homemade preserves, or a breakfast meat sandwich. ultimately, who cares how you eat it? i've lived all over the world and i've never once baked biscuits for someone who didn't find a way to enjoy them!
*now - do any of you helpful readers have a good recipe for "cathead" biscuits? my other grandmother used to make this variation (another deep south biscuit). while still remaining light (not too heavily dense) in texture, they were a much larger & flatter biscuit - about the size of a cat's haed, hence the name. these biscuits had a stronger flavor of baking soda and were perfect with the tomato gravy she served with breakfast. sadly, she died when i was 12 so i never got the recipe.*


On March 10, 2008 at 03:18 PM, Andrea (guest) said...
Funny how the language often confuses you, I was looking for another sort of food when I stumbled in here.

I'm Icelandic and here (english is not my native tounge) biscuits are like cookies (like in the UK) but not as sweet.
Here this would be refered to as a bun or roll, not a biscuit.

But it sounds nice and I'm going to try it tonight with my chicken :)


On March 25, 2008 at 01:43 PM, rich.bronson said...
Thanks for the biscuit recipe, it looks like it would be very good. My family loves biscuits, so I am going to try to make some for tomorrow night with dinner.


On April 16, 2008 at 06:11 PM, Kenw (guest) said...
Subject: On Biscuits
I'm rather a biscuit snob and I think folks here did a great job of talking about what all you can do to a biscuit (use cream or butter instead of buttermilk and shortening you get it)...Here's my tips 1.) the less you mess with the dough the better (I prefer a large spoon of dough in rolled in flour and gently shaped to any kneading or rolling action) 2.) the best way to incorporate the fat into the flour is by hand, squeezing and squeezing until the fat bits are small and very flat 3.) use very fresh baking powder (I buy a new can a month) and last...the flour. In my view to make the most dependably reliable biscuits you've got to get a very light flour preferrably made from winter wheat, like white lilly. It will amaze you at the difference it'll make in your biscuits.

Try two cups self rising white lilly flour, 1/4 cup of vegatable shortening (these days you can use healthy stuff, or go for the gusto and try lard), 3/4 cups buttermilk. Follow the hints above and bake in a very hot oven (500) until nicely browned.

One last thing, about leftovers (doesn't happen often round our place) I didn't see a sugar biscuit though :) ...take last night's leftover biscuits, cut open and lay on butter to and sugar to the cut sides and broil until the butter has melted and sugar starts to brown


On April 16, 2008 at 06:40 PM, kenw (guest) said...
Subject: Re: substitutions
southern_lass wrote:
to the commenter above:
you've made the wrong substitutions ;)
i'm 41 years old and learned how to make biscuits when i was very young. when my grandmother first allowed me to participate, i was so small i had to stand in a chair.
and one of the things i have learned is that biscuits are not health food, lol. you cannot expect to achieve a light & fluffy end result by using margarine or 2% milk. such a substitution would have the old southern ladies gasping with shock.
michael has a very good recipe here that shouldn't require a lot of revision. the only difference in his recipe and my gran's is that she almost always used buttermilk with a pinch of baking soda to cut it. and she never used a cutter. in my family we just flour our hands, pinch off a dough ball & softly roll it in hand before putting it in the pan. the final step before baking (and i don't do this) was to take a small spoon & dip some bacon fat to spread over the tops. this brings about the same effect as brushing with butter.
i'm flummoxed over why so many readers are argumentative about what should go in/on/with a biscuit. it's all a matter of taste & in my family, the tastes range from butter & syrup, to gravy, homemade preserves, or a breakfast meat sandwich. ultimately, who cares how you eat it? i've lived all over the world and i've never once baked biscuits for someone who didn't find a way to enjoy them!
*now - do any of you helpful readers have a good recipe for "cathead" biscuits? my other grandmother used to make this variation (another deep south biscuit). while still remaining light (not too heavily dense) in texture, they were a much larger & flatter biscuit - about the size of a cat's haed, hence the name. these biscuits had a stronger flavor of baking soda and were perfect with the tomato gravy she served with breakfast. sadly, she died when i was 12 so i never got the recipe.*


Don't know about cat head biscuits...but I would greatly appreciate a good tomatoe gravy recipe?


On June 15, 2008 at 01:21 AM, Razak said...
Subject: Grams measurement for flour
What is the equivalent or approximate equivalent in grams of the 2 cups of flour used in this recipe?


On June 15, 2008 at 05:19 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Grams measurement for flour
Razak wrote:
What is the equivalent or approximate equivalent in grams of the 2 cups of flour used in this recipe?

Great question! Unfortunately, this was one of my earlier articles and I didn't diligently record the mass of the flour back then. I also know that I often don't bother to sift the flour when I scoop for biscuits - so that'll be around 160 g per cup. Call it at 320 g total.


On August 20, 2008 at 03:08 PM, Kristy (guest) said...
Subject: Cat Head Biscuits
I had never heard of Cat Head biscuits before today. I came across a recipe while searching for a fluffy biscuit recipe. Here is the link to that site. It also says you may use tomato juice in the recipe, which sounds like it would go well with the "tomato gravy" you are looking for...did not see a recipe for the tomato gravy though.

http://www.mtnlaurel.com/Recipes/old_fashioned_cat_head_biscuits.htm


On August 23, 2008 at 08:01 PM, juliesjames (guest) said...
Subject: lofty bikkies
For those of you who want a very high biscuit, you need to be careful how you cut the dough.
Use of a sharp knife, or a sharp edged can (NOT a dull or rounded edge, whatever you use) can make the difference between flat or high. A dull edge can seal the sides which doesnt allow for optimum loft. A sharp cut keeps the sides of the dough with open "cells" that can expand more.

Also, make sure that you use double acting baking powder, as baking powder begins working immediately upon exposure to liquid. Wait too long and when they go in to the oven, there's nothing to work on the rise. D.A. powder responds to heat.


On September 06, 2008 at 03:32 PM, jkpittke (guest) said...
Subject: biscuits
My family has lived in Alabama for over 200 years. Cooking is in our genes and biscuits is cooking 101. I always use self risin flour and lard not butter, and always use buttermilk, then use your hands to mix the flour with the lard then gently mix in the buttermilk. Mix till all ingredients are moist then turn out on a lightly floured board and shape into a long bread roll then pinch off a portion at a time, lightly flour your hand then shape into a small round biscuit and place in a cake pan. This is critical because you want your biscuit to rise hig and if you put it on a cookie sheet it will spread out and not up!! Bake in a 400-425 oven until done, do not overbake it causes dry biscuits.


On October 31, 2008 at 05:24 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I like to make my biscuits by rolling the dough out to about 1/4 of an inch, then folding it back on top of itself to make a 1/2 inch layered dough. Cut your biscuits out of that. Then, when they are ready to be eaten after baking, they split right in half so you can either cover them in gravy, stuff them with jelly or butter, even add a slice of thick ham.

/And use buttermilk...if you don't have buttermilk, use one tablespoon of lemon juice + 1 cup of milk and let sit for 5 minutes or so


On November 07, 2008 at 05:20 PM, Richard White (guest) said...
This is not a comment about your biscuit recipe, which looks good enough to try, but about two other comments.

Scones do have sugar, and so are somewhat sweet. They are also shorter than biscuits, which means they crumble easier. They typically, though not always, call for a lot more baking powder, so much more, in some cases, that you can taste it in the finished product.

The comment about cane sugar being called 'surguhm' is partly correct. I remember when I was a boy, we could buy cans of what my dad called 'sorghum molasses', or 'blackstrap' (this was in Texas in the 1950s). We'd typically get it from a roadside stand in cans that were, as I recall, essentially the same as quart-size paint cans. The syrup is not as dark as store-bought molasses, but way thicker. It looked much like very high-viscosity differential oil. It tasted very close to molasses, but not exactly.

I found out later that this was not made strictly from sorghum, but from cane or ribbon cane, with some sorghum syrup in it.


On December 11, 2008 at 09:26 PM, southernlass (guest) said...
Subject: cathead biscuits/tomato gravy
For Kristi:
thanks so much for the recipe link! these are perfect and tasted so much like my gran's!
For kenw:
here is my other gran's recipe for tomato gravy (a staple in our bama kitchens with biscuits, over vegetables, and even potatoes):

2 tablespoons bacon drippings or veg. oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
15 oz. can tomatoes
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Heat up big skillet (cast iron works best). Add the fat and heat on medium. Stir in the flour with a fork until smooth. Let the fat simmer for a minute to brown the flour just a little bit. Add the sugar, salt and pepper. Add the milk and stir until it bubbles and thickens. Add the tomatoes. Mash the tomatoes with fork to make them sort of chunky. The lumpy tomatoes give it the famous texture. Stir it all up and let it boil again. If you put up your own tomatoes, you can double or triple the recipe for each quart of tomatoes you use. This recipe makes about 2-1/2 cups of gravy.
p.s. I've just compiled a cookbook with tons of my grandmother's recipes along with some delicious comfort food favorites - write to me at shamarketingonline@gmail.com if you want info about the recipes/book!


On December 26, 2008 at 01:40 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Bisuits - Cream Alternative
My Grandmother, when she was alive, used to make biscuits using no shortening. She was the "talk of the town" as all else used shortening. She had a small farm and always used cream, probably the heaviest and richest cream, instead of shortening. After she passed away us kids suffered through many experiences of little hard rocks as my father tried to replicate her biscuits.

Does anyone have a recipe for bisuits using cream rather than shortneing?


On December 26, 2008 at 02:00 PM, Dilbert said...
here's a bunch of links I found - some use liquid cream, some it is whipped

never tried, it - sounds fascinating!

http://www.bettycrocker.com/Recipes/Recipe.aspx?recipeId=8111&WT.mc_id=paid_search_phase2_08&WT.srch=1&esrc=336
http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,whipping_cream_biscuits,FF.html
http://www.carolewalter.com/sweet_cream_biscuit.htm
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/cream-biscuits-recipe/index.html
http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/breakfast-recipes/sweet-cream-biscuits/article.html
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Whipped-Cream-Biscuits/Detail.aspx


On December 28, 2008 at 05:24 AM, smithchx@whidbey.com (guest) said...
Subject: Biscuits - Cream alternative
Thanks for the assistance. Never thought to try to "Google" for a recipe. After reading the recipes, and not remembering any sugar and not having any self raising flour in the house, I made the Easy Cream Biscuits from the Betty Crocker website for dinner tonight. They were absolutely super and just what I remembered.


On December 28, 2008 at 02:07 PM, Dilbert said...
good feedback - I looked in some of my old (inherited) cookbooks but there is no "heavy cream" recipe -

I'm going to give these a try as well!


On March 22, 2009 at 01:02 PM, guesttim (guest) said...
Subject: Biscuits - quantities unclear
I am sursprised that measurements are in "cups" and "tablespoones" etc. These are not precise measurments. Real engineers would use weights such as ounces or grammes. I was thrilled to find your website, but disappointed with the imprecision of your quantities.


On March 22, 2009 at 05:08 PM, Dilbert said...
>>These are not precise measurments.

sez who? the measurements are quite well defined.
Americans also do not use stones for body mass <g>

if you need some help with the conversions, just holler.


On May 02, 2009 at 07:01 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Even easier biscuits
These traditional biscuits sound great, but the absolute easiest biscuits I know of are those I make for breakfast with sausage gravy.

11 Minute Biscuits

Heat oven to 450˚

2 C. self-rising flour
ľ C. mayonnaise
1 C. milk
1 t. sugar

Combine lightly, spoon into (12) greased muffin tins, bake 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

I am pretty sure these are even faster than using a tube of store-bought. They are tall, and a little crumbly, like cake.


On May 02, 2009 at 07:04 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Correction for even easier biscuits
I am so sorry that the measurement did not display correctly. I think I have fixed it below.

These traditional biscuits sound great, but the absolute easiest biscuits I know of are those I make for breakfast with sausage gravy.

11 Minute Biscuits

Heat oven to 450˚

2 C. self-rising flour
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1 C. milk
1 t. sugar

Combine lightly, spoon into (12) greased muffin tins, bake 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

I am pretty sure these are even faster than using a tube of store-bought. They are tall, and a little crumbly, like cake.


On July 06, 2009 at 01:49 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Scones don't always have fruit in them!
What you've posted here is a recipe for basic plain scones.

Scones do NOT always have fruit in them as some of the US readers insist on saying! Traditional scones which are made in NZ, Australia & the UK are made without fruit, and they are normally served spread with butter.

If you add sugar instead of salt you can put jam and/or cream on top.

If you like savoury things you can put in salt and/ or cheese, onion and whatever else you like in them and have them as a savoury scone.


On July 12, 2009 at 02:00 PM, sandrasue (guest) said...
Subject: just like the good ole days
OMG! these biscuits took me back to my childhood growing up in small town called tuggamee iowa (go warthogs!)...my mom use to get up early every tuesday and and make me hot biscuits on the rock outside the outhouse....thanks so much for the great recipe you are a angel!


On July 23, 2009 at 06:37 PM, 1000101 (guest) said...
Subject: Biscuit Lore
Biscuits made with all shortening, southern style, will be more tender and less layered (think KFC biscuits, but obviously much better). Mixing the two types of fat is a great way to go. Try using the recipe above, substituting shortening for one or two of the butter tablespoons. Work the shortening into the dry ingredients before you cut the butter in. You'll get a biscuit with lots of layers and a very tender melt in your mouth texture. Best of both worlds in my opinion.

In terms of getting the layers maxed out, I wouldn't work the dough completely in the bowl. Just stir it in the bowl until the milk has been absorbed but the dough is still chunky. Dump it out on the counter (throw some flour down first). Press the lumps together, pat it out until it's about an inch thick. Fold it in half, press it out again, fold it in half again, etc. Only do this a few times. I'm not talking about actually kneading the dough here, which would mess up the final texture. But if you finish incorporating the dough via this folding process (rather than stirring in a bowl) your little chunks of butter will get squished out into thin butter layers, which is exactly what you want.

Someone above asked about spacing on the cookie sheet. Farther apart = darker, crispier, crunchier biscuits ; closer together = lighter, softer biscuits.

Finally I'd up the salt on the recipe above to 1/2 tsp.


On July 23, 2009 at 06:43 PM, 1000101 (guest) said...
Subject: Post Script
The recipe says roll them out to 1/4 inch. That's fine for shorter, crispier biscuits, but you can also go with 1/2-3/4 inch for taller, slightly softer biscuits.

Now you know.


On August 17, 2009 at 12:41 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Thankyou so much! I have been looking for a 'biscuit' recipe since I visited America 3 years ago. I worked on a summer camp and had the most amazing southern chef..these turned out exactly the same..what memories!
On cook out nights we rolled cheesey biscuit dough into balls ~2cms across and dropped them into tomato soup that we boiled in the giant cans over a fire...made the best dumplings you should try it


On October 20, 2009 at 04:57 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Biscuits...What's in a name?
Biscuits, cookies, scones...who cares? It all depends on how you are going to use the final product. Whenever I get concerned about what to call something, I just call it "Fred". By the way, the Fred recipe is great!


On December 10, 2009 at 12:11 AM, jeanie (guest) said...
Subject: cast iron cooked scones
I am looking for a scones receipe that is made in a cast iron skillet..greatgrandmother was from dundee, scotland and aunts..........this is how they made them.............plain no currents etc........cut into triangles...please help me........also buttermilk or sour milk[/b]


On January 04, 2010 at 01:56 PM, sharoni (guest) said...
Subject: biscuits... scones... wotevs!
I use a similar recipe for making scones and I either bake them or griddle them on a cast iron griddle... thingy... which I guess could be substituted with a skillet, the only difference is I sometimes try to make an effort in making my scones just a little bit thinner if I am gonna griddle them, but not really coz I am quite lazy like that.

As for what you want to call them I'm from Australia and I have traveled to a few states in the U.S and to some of the UK. Australia and the UK are very similar in their ideas and theories about scones, cookies, biscuits and rock cakes and I have to agree with what anon said earlier that what Americans call scones the rest of us call rock cakes. What you call biscuits we call scones. What we call biscuits/shortbread you call cookies/shortbread, and what we call cookies are usually only cookies that are round with a rough surface like oatmeal cookies or chocolate chip as far as I know.

In any case it doesn't really matter coz it's these very differences that makes travelling there exciting. If I wanted the same old biscuits I'd just stay home ;)


On January 07, 2010 at 03:56 PM, Joe (guest) said...
Subject: Biscuits, Scones, Cookies, Crackers, etc.
With all due respect, I have lived, cooked, and eaten on six continents and there is much misinformation out there and on this site. American biscuits vary significantly from scones and are not even close to UK biscuits, which are closer to American cookies and crackers. In the USA, buttermilk biscuits are very common and are indigenous to the South, where vegetable shortening or lard are also standard ingredients. Scones and biscuits in the UK are delicious also, but are made and eaten in a very different way than in the USA. The use of so much milk and butter in this recipe may make a delicious bread item, but it is neither a true UK biscuit nor American biscuit.


On January 28, 2010 at 08:08 PM, kk1101 (guest) said...
Subject: different cooking speeds etc in different places
Someone said that in Germany their biscuits burn on the bottom when they didn't in the USA. I wonder if it's the altitude. I once had a cookbook that told you slight differences to make if you lived above or below sea level.


On February 07, 2010 at 06:35 PM, an anonymous reader said...
For the slow...

Scones generally have a slightly greater dry to liquid ratio than biscuits and most times include egg giving it a more course or heavier texture than a biscuit. If you eat/make scones and disagree, you have no idea how to make a scone and you've been eating/making biscuits all along. I don't care where you live.


On February 11, 2010 at 02:09 PM, Jen (guest) said...
Subject: bisuits in skillet
I have always lived in the South, and never heard of anyone making biscuits in a iron skillet or griddle. I would love to try it! But since I'm inexperienced with this cooking method, what do I put in the skillet before the biscuits so they don't stick? Oil, shortening, butter....?


On February 11, 2010 at 02:40 PM, Dilbert said...
corn bread and also biscuit is pretty standard fare for cooking in cast iron.

either in an open pan - or some biscuit recipes specify a dutch oven.

use a bit oil, butter, take your pick. if the cast iron is properly seasoned it won't require much fat. preheat the cast iron


On March 14, 2010 at 03:07 PM, DoireJO (guest) said...
Subject: Cookie,Biscuit, Scones
Tell me this...is a Jaffa cake a Biscuit??


On March 14, 2010 at 03:17 PM, Dilbert said...
depends on what flavor of english you use.

see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffa_Cakes


On May 16, 2010 at 05:14 AM, amandanico (guest) said...
Ive usually made my 'biscuits' with margarine and 2% milk *gasp*(just whatever I have in the fridge) And am always happy with the results, they dont puff up very high but are always crisp and flakey, and just the way I like them. Its true our personal tastes are all different and for someone to say 'their' way is more right than someone elses is just not reasonable. Everyone has there own special recipes that remind them of home, and this is mine. Specially when I add oodles of aged cheddar cheese into the dough after cutting in the fat. Yum Yum.
I just dont know why so many of you have to get so bent out of shape about what we are calling what and if its 'right' or not. RELAX, there are much bigger issues in this world!


On May 18, 2010 at 02:13 PM, JoanneOf Hayseed (guest) said...
Subject: lol...Great comments
After reading through these comments, it never ceases to amaze me the things that people enjoy - or the things that induce pride.

Having come from mixed parentage (father a yank, mother from the rural area around Glasgow), and being raised on a fairly large dairy farm, I grew up with a mixture of Old World and New World cuisine. Mum used to make the lightest scones I have ever had, but learned to make the humble biscuit of the colonies. Also, as both of my parents were from farm stock, Mum never liked to buy bread and the like, preferring to bake her own. After all, she had my sister and I to help her out while pater and my brothers were out in the fields.

I believe that a lot of the reason for scones being reduced to the humble "biscuit" of the colonies was that for many, especially in the early colonial days, sugar was not all that available and a lot of the settlers did not have easy access to many of the things that were so readily available in the port cities, both in New England and the Gulf states. This would include sugar syrup and a few other things.

Two things to suggest here. The first being, if one uses buttermilk, reduce the baking powder by about 1/2 teaspoon. The acidity of the buttermilk will cause the baking soda to begin to react even before it is subjected to the oven. This will also reduce the sodium level in the biscuits a bit. Important if one is hypertensive. The second is to have the oven well preheated and to keep all of the bi9scuits the same size going in, to insure even baking.

Regardless of terminology and preferences, biscuits are a really nice break from the normal toast that is all so common with breakfast. Also, if one is willing to try something different, the suggestion to make sausage gravy to serve over one's biscuits is a really nice change of pace and a great start to a day. Especially in cold weather or on days where a lot of heavy activity is planned. However one likes them, with butter, clotted cream and jam, honey, gravy or whatever, these light, fluffy little breads make a great addition to any meal.


On May 22, 2010 at 06:35 PM, Anonymouse (guest) said...
Subject: For engineers, eh?
If this is for engineers, why is there no picture of the final end product?


On May 22, 2010 at 07:28 PM, Dilbert said...
Subject: Re: For engineers, eh?
Anonymouse wrote:
If this is for engineers, why is there no picture of the final end product?


because engineers use drawings, not pictures [g]


On May 23, 2010 at 12:16 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: For engineers, eh?
Anonymouse wrote:
If this is for engineers, why is there no picture of the final end product?

When I wrote this one up, I was actually making the biscuits for a topping to the Chicken Pot Pie article... so, no final biscuit photo. I'm working on a new biscuit recipe and will definitely have all the photos when I get ready to commit that to the Recipe File.


On July 14, 2010 at 06:57 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Biscuit history
For the history of biscuit recipes in America, see
http://www.westernexplorers.us/Biscuits_Crackers_Hard_Tack_2010_SKWier.pdf


On July 14, 2010 at 07:04 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Re: Biscuits
Joe wrote:
With all due respect, I have lived, cooked, and eaten on six continents and there is much misinformation out there and on this site. ...
The use of so much milk and butter in this recipe may make a delicious bread item, but it is neither a true UK biscuit nor American biscuit.


3/4 cup milk for 2 cups flour is by far the most common proportion for American biscuits for the past century. See for example the Picayune Creole Cookbook of 1901, the Boston Cooking School Cook Book (1896-1941), and Beard on Bread (1975).


On August 17, 2010 at 02:59 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Vive la difference
From county to county, town to town; family to family, kitchen to kitchen - for centuries ALL recipes were different as they were handed down from mother to daughter and each adapted it. E.g. my grandmother who taught me to bake sodabread used only flour, baking soda and buttermilk (with a pinch of salt & sugar) her daughter (my aunt, obviously) used butter, a lot more sugar and eggs in her recipe - as she kept more hens and had spare eggs! It is only with the advent of cookery books and esp the Internet that recipes have become standardised. Here in Ireland, sodabreads, soda farls, scones etc are all derived from the same idea. Some sweet, some savoury; some incorporating fats, some not. So bread, scone or biscuit, it is quite obvious that with the invention of baking soda the handiness of using it instead of yeast was such a blessing to the harried housewife that it travelled the world and the recipes evolved. As have we all!


On September 11, 2010 at 03:48 AM, Biscuits (guest) said...
Subject: Varying from milk-based to buttermilk.
The variation that I use when substituting buttermilk (or sour milk or diluted yogurt) for sweet milk is to use 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp soda. Then I work in the liquid very carefully, and add only enough until the dough clings together. You want to handle the dough as little as possible; over-handling makes it tough. My son loves these, and begs for them frequently. It's also a good way to use up milk that's gone sour.


On February 07, 2011 at 09:31 PM, scichinin (guest) said...
Subject: Basic Biscuits, Scones, on Frokast
On my home planet biscuits are called cvziti and scones are ziticvz. The people in South only make and eat cvziti! Very common there, they even feed to grondala. But in main island exists inland gravy sea! In north we have to use melted forlaag, but there are many islindl, so that is easy. No fruit, not even marmalade (same word!) trees. Thanks for recipe. Your planet has many pretty women and csindij!
scichinin


On May 09, 2011 at 01:28 PM, an anonymous reader said...
So yeah...these biscuits are crap. Pretty much all the milk turned the dough into a big wet sticky lump that was impossible to form into anything resembling a ball. Thanks for wasting my time and ingredients.


On May 25, 2012 at 09:38 PM, IronRinger said...
Subject: Re: Biscuits
Anonymous wrote:
3/4 cup milk for 2 cups flour is by far the most common proportion for American biscuits for the past century.


Yea, that's what all my recipe books call for. But in my arid climate, 3/4 c of liquid is not enough. I use 1 c milk/buttermilk for 2 c flour.


On February 21, 2013 at 01:07 AM, Jacks said...
Subject: Re. the Biscuit Recipe
Nice biscuit recipe! Talking biscuits, browsing in an old magazine from the 1800s, I found recently an old coffee biscuit recipe that I posted on my site -- the coffee biscuits, like "coffee cakes" today, were just biscuits or wafers, to eat together with coffee.

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