09 January 2013

How to Make Really Good Biscuits

I don't know if these are the best biscuits ever, but I'm pretty sure they're close.  I asked my husband if they were the best he had ever had.  He said,  "I don't know if they're the very best, but I've had a lot of biscuits."  Since I got him a print that says "I love you like biscuits and gravy", that might give you an idea of his passion for biscuits.  I don't know if these are perfect, but they're really, really close.  They are also really yummy with both jelly and gravy -- a necessity for any good Southern biscuits.  Please, please try them out and let me know what you think.  I really want to know.

If you want to print the recipe without all the photos, click here.

Preheat the oven to 450°.  Get a big bowl and put in the following:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tsp sugar
3 rounded teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 Tbsp cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup butter flavor vegetable shortening

Using a pastry cutter or a fork, work the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture is well combined and crumbly.  Be patient.  Don't stop working the mixture until there are no pieces bigger than pea-sized.

Pour in 3/4 cup milk and stir it until just barely combined.  When you mixture looks about like this, quit stirring.

Dust your countertop with all purpose flour.  Don't use too much flour.  Dump your dough onto the flour-dusted counter.

Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little more flour and get some flour on your hands.  Pat the dough out into a rough circle that's about 8 or 9" across.  Use your hands to do this.  Just pat and gather the dough until it just holds together. 

Fold one thrird of the dough over on top of the circle as shown above.

Then, fold the other side on top of that one.  Then pat the dough out to about 3/4" thick.

Fold the top third over the dough, followed by the bottom third.  Do this just like you did with the first two folds.

Pat and gently press the dough out to a rough rectangle that's about 5/8" thick.  Using a circle cookie cutter, a glass, or a clean aluminum can cut out as many biscuits as you can from the original piece of dough.  Work the dough scraps as little as you can to make more biscuits from the remaining dough.

Place the biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes on the middle rack.  Remove the oven and let cool for a minute or two before serving.

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