This is your everyday biscuit, meaning make them every day. You will not get tired of these biscuits. They are so easy yet so delicious and comforting. It takes me ten minutes to whip them up and have them in the oven. These are the best biscuits to go with Biscuits and Gravy as well as an accompaniment to stews and hearty meals.
I have been using this recipe since back in the dinosaur age, as my children would think. Which means from my early baking years before marriage and children. When I was in high school, I took a culinary class and the book our teacher used was Pillsbury Kitchens’ Cookbook, copyright 1979. It must have been my first cookbook. The basic recipe, Old-Fashioned Baking Powder Biscuits, is from that book. I almost always make the buttermilk variation because buttermilk makes a more tender, flaky biscuit.
Do not overwork the dough or that will toughen the biscuits. Don’t use your fingers to rub in the butter or shortening since you want to keep the dough cool. You may brush melted butter on the tops before baking or immediately after removing from the oven. If needed for serving fresh and hot out of the oven, chill the biscuit dough or unbaked biscuits for up to 30 minutes before baking.
The variations for Drop, Whole Wheat, Cheese and Bacon Cheddar Biscuits can be made with as buttermilk or sweet milk biscuits, following the instructions on leavening.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (8.5 ounces or 240 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, free of lumps
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shortening or butter or combination (3.25 ounces or 92 grams shortening; 4 ounces or 113 grams butter)
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening or butter using a pastry blender or fork until fat is blended to pea-sized. Add milk and stir just until a soft dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface; sprinkle lightly with flour. (I use a cutting board.) Knead gently 10 to 12 times until no longer sticky. Roll or press dough into a rectangle or square until about 1/2-inch thickness. Use a dough scraper or large knife to cut into 8 to 10 squares. Place biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet. Place 1/2 inch apart for softer sides or 1 inch apart for crusty sides. Bake on the middle rack for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cover with a dish or tea towel to keep warm. Serve immediately.
Use a full cup of buttermilk. Stir until blended together and do not knead. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Makes 10 to 12. (We like drop biscuits best with Biscuits and Gravy.)
WHOLE WHEAT BISCUITS
Substitute up to half the flour with whole wheat. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or White Whole Wheat Flour will make the lightest biscuits of this kind.
OLD-FASHIONED BAKING POWDER BISCUITS
Increase baking powder to 3 teaspoons and omit baking soda. Use regular milk instead of buttermilk.
Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese with the flour.
BACON CHEDDAR BISCUITS
I find it easiest to use a food processor for these. Mix the dry ingredients, then process the fat into the flour using the pulse button and then add cheese and crispy bacon (about 1/4 cup diced) and pulse again in the food processor. While on low speed, pour in the milk until it almost forms a dough. It does not take long with the food processor. It is really good with the bacon in tiny pieces from the processor. Gently knead on floured surface just until it holds together. Pat into rectangle and cut and bake as directed in main recipe.