When you begin your morning with a breakfast of old fashioned buttermilk biscuits then you know it is going to be a great day! You will be amazed at how quickly you can make these tall, flaky buttermilk biscuits. But don’t limit yourself to breakfast! These biscuits are a delicious accompaniment to your southern dinner as well!
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My mom used to make biscuits and gravy on Saturday mornings when I was growing up, and it was the best! Always made with buttermilk, her biscuits were perfectly soft and fluffy on the inside, with a little crispiness on the outside. This set my “delicious biscuit” bar pretty high! Thankfully, great biscuits are easy to make. They can be on your table in just 30 minutes!
Ingredients Insights for the Best Buttermilk Biscuits
The ingredients for old fashioned buttermilk biscuits are simple. There are only 6 of them, but each one plays an important part in producing the best biscuit recipe! Let’s walk through them together:
- Flour: This recipe calls for all-purpose flour because that is what most people have in their kitchen. I have also used self-rising flour, reducing the baking powder down to 1 teaspoon, and have had phenomenal success!
- Butter: Quite possibly the most important factor in making perfect biscuits and gravy is the butter! More specifically, that the butter is really cold…like frozen kind of cold! When the butter melts in the oven, it creates little air pockets, which translates into a fluffy, airy biscuit.
- Salt: Our recipe calls for salted butter, plus salt. If you are using unsalted butter, increase the salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons.
- Baking Powder: This is where the magic happens! A full tablespoon of baking powder is used in this recipe, giving our biscuits their glorious lift.
- Baking Soda – Did you know that baking powder has baking soda in it? So why do we need even more baking soda in this biscuit recipe? It’s because of the buttermilk. Baking soda reacts to the acid in the buttermilk, creating the texture that we want from our biscuits.
- Buttermilk – There are a few reasons why we prefer buttermilk biscuits over cream biscuits. One is the robust flavor that the buttermilk contributes to the biscuit. The other is because of what we mentioned above. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda, so we get a tender biscuit that rises tall.
Fresh is Best
It is important to note that freshness plays a vital role when it comes to the baking powder and baking soda in our biscuits. These biscuits just won’t turn out well if you use leavener that has been sitting in your cupboard for years. I always buy new baking powder and baking soda when I am going to make biscuits, but under 30 days opened will work fine.
How to Make Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits
Now that you understand the ingredients, we will take a look at technique. You see, biscuits are one of those recipes where you can get the measurements exactly right, but with a little different technique, you can get completely different results. But don’t worry! The techniques are simple too. You’ve got this!
Measure Out the Dry Ingredients
- Spoon your flour into a measuring cup, then level off with a knife. This will help you to make sure you get the right measurement, and not too much flour!
- Next, add in your salt, baking soda, and baking powder, and give them a nice stir.
Cut Cold Butter into Flour Mixture
- Remember how I mentioned that you want to use frozen butter? There are a few ways you can go about this. One is to take a stick of frozen butter and carefully slice off really thin layers.
- You could also grate frozen butter into the flour.
- Both of those work great. But my favorite way is to thinly slice refrigerated butter, then put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
- When it comes to cutting the butter into the dry ingredients, you can do this with a food processor, or even a pastry cutter.
- Now stick the bowl back into the freezer for 10 minutes. You can totally skip this step, but I find it gives my biscuits about a half-inch higher rise when I make sure the ingredients are extra cold.
Stir in the Cold Buttermilk
- Remove the bowl from the freezer, and make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture. Pour the cold buttermilk into the middle, then stir until it is fully incorporated.
- The mixture will still be crumbly.
Laminate and Cut Biscuits
- Laminating is the process of folding the dough onto itself several times. This creates the many layers that we love in our tall buttermilk biscuits!
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press together. Flatten into a rectangle.
- Fold the left third of the rectangle over to the middle, then do the same with the right third.
- Press back into a flattened rectangle, gather the crumbs, and repeat another 2-3 times.
- Flatten the dough into a rectangle that is 1/2-inch thick.
- Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut the dough into circles.
- Gather the dough together and fold into thirds one more time, then flatten into a 1/2-inch rectangle to continue cutting circles.
Bake the Biscuits
- Place circles onto a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 14-17 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
What Should I Serve With Buttermilk Biscuits
- Sawmill Sausage Gravy
- Fruit, like melon, strawberries, or oranges
- Coffee and juice
Frequently Asked Questions
An American biscuit is hard on the outside, but soft on the inside. It is made with baking soda and/or baking powder, which gives it a beautiful rise. In Europe, biscuits are made without leavening. They are usually sweet, and most Americans would call them cookies.
Check your baking powder and baking soda. When were they opened? I recommend using leaveners that have been opened within the last 30 days.
Buttermilk gives your biscuits a nice tang, and also helps create soft biscuits with great rise! Milk can be substituted! Just add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to your milk, to provide your biscuits with the needed acid.
Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 7 tablespoons salted butter, sliced thinly and frozen
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Using a pastry cutter, work the frozen butter slices into the flour mixture four about 5 minutes, until it forms pea-sized crumbs. You can also pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms crumbs.Place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes, to rechill the butter.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in buttermilk. Fold the buttermilk into the flour until it has just started to come together. It will still be crumbly.
- Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and press the dough into a rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, gather any crumbs, and press to flatten back into a rectangle. Repeat this folding and flattening an additional 2-3 times, then roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle.
- Cut out biscuits using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. If you do not have a biscuit cutter, you can use a glass, or even cut into squares. The dough should make a total of 12 biscuits.
- Transfer the circles onto a baking sheet with space in between them and bake in the oven for 14-17 minutes, until golden brown.
The biscuit recipe is adapted from Chef John’s Buttermilk Biscuits recipe.