Buttermilk Biscuits

Seven years ago I made my very first batch of biscuits from this recipe. I've experimented with a variety of biscuits since then, but this recipe is still my favorite. The process isn't fussy and it delivers a fluffy biscuit with crunch around the edges and tender layers throughout. I moved from east coast humidity to an arid west coast habitat and these biscuits have turned out well everywhere, all year round. There's comfort in a go-to recipe like this. Comfort and butter. I'm glad for both.

Buttermilk Biscuits  

Adapted from Gourmet | June 2005

The biscuits pictured above I cut with a biscuit cutter but most of the time I don't take the time to cut out and reshape the dough and will do as written in the recipe, except I don't trim the edges to make a perfect rectangle. I actually think it looks prettier when the edges aren't perfect and you don't waste any of that delicious biscuit dough.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (7.5 ounces/ 280 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Rounded ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing biscuits

 

Preparation

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda onto a sheet of wax paper, then sift again into a bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist).

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times. Pat out dough on a floured surface with floured hands, reflouring surface if necessary, into an 8- by 5 1/2-inch rectangle. Trim all 4 sides with a knife, dusting knife edge with flour before each cut. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 (2 1/2-inch) squares, flouring knife between cuts. Transfer biscuits with a metal spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, arranging them 2 inches apart, and brush tops with milk or cream. Bake until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. Makes 6 biscuits.