Now that I have moved to the Richmond area, I am working on increasing my Southern cooking skills, and what could be more Southern than buttermilk biscuits! This is a very simple dish, and like all simple dishes good ingredients and good technique make a difference in the final results. The two key techniques are the following:
- Keep all the ingredients cold, especially the butter. The idea is to have the butter in discrete little pieces so that when the biscuits bake the butter bits will create flaky layers. To help generate these little bits of butter, a cold block of butter is coarsely grated into a bowl with the flour.
- Handle the dough as little as possible in order to minimize gluten development. Low gluten flour and little handling lead to a tender and soft biscuit.
1 cup (4.33 oz.) self rising flour (I used King Arthur)
1 oz. (weight) cold butter
3 oz. (volume – same as 3.30 oz. weight) cold buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. (I use a baking steel in the oven.)
Put the flour in a bowl on a scale. Coarsely grate 1 oz. of cold butter into the bowl. Mix in with the flour. Add the cold buttermilk and mix with a spatula until all the flour is moistened and a dough forms. Handle the dough as little as possible while still ensuring that it is evenly mixed. Flour a piece of baking parchment and put the dough on it. Form the dough into a rough rectangle about ¾ inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 4 pieces, and separate the pieces by a half inch or so. Trim the outside edges so that the biscuits will be better able to rise fully.
Put the baking parchment on a cookie sheet and bake the biscuits in the 450 degree oven until lightly golden in color, which should be in 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve while warm.