- 12 ounces all-purpose flour (plus an additional 1/2 cup for dusting)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 ounce unsalted butter, chilled
- 2 ounces shortening, chilled
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, chilled
- Heat the oven to 400ºF
- Whisk together all the dry, powdery stuff (except the flour for dusting, of course) in a large mixing bowl.
- Using your fingertips, rub the butter and shortening into the dry goods until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
- Make a well in the center of this mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Stir with a large spoon until the dough just comes together. Then knead in the bowl until all the flour has been taken up.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then start folding the dough over on itself, gently kneading for 30 seconds, or until the dough is soft and smooth.
- Press the dough into a 1-inch-thick round. using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out biscuits, being sure to push the cutter all the way through the dough to the work surface before twisting to “punch” our the biscuit. Make your cuts as close together as possible to limit waste.
- Place the biscuits on a half sheet pan (preferably aluminum, which is highly conductive) so that they just barely touch. Reroll scraps and punch out as many biscuits as possible.
- Use your thumb to create a shallow dimple in the top center of each biscuit, and bake until the biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15-20 minutes. Turn the biscuits out into a kitchen towel lined basket, and let cool for several minutes before buttering and devouring.
From: Good Eats, the early years by Alton Brown
Gray: I chose this recipe because we had buttermilk leftover from a salad dressing we made last week, and it usually ends up going to waste. I didn’t want to let that happen this time, so I made us a batch of biscuits. Both of us have tried to make biscuits before and they were just ok, but we haven’t unlocked the secret to doing this right yet. So we just keep trying. These however were much better than my earlier attempts. They ended up being nice, large round fluffy biscuits. In short, they turned out great!
I did tweak the recipe a little bit based on my experience making pie crusts. (I think that practice helped.) I didn’t like how blending the dry and short ingredients was working with my hands, so I got out my fork and blended them that way. I find that it makes short work of the shortening… pardon the pun. Plus it doesn’t let the butter and shortening get too warm. Then, after adding the buttermilk, I just mixed the dough with my fork before kneading it and turning it out. In general, Alton’s recipes are great, they just work and are tasty. This was no exception to that rule. I think next time I’ll brush the tops with melted butter to encourage a more even color, and cook them about a minute or two longer. Other than that, they were delicious with butter and jam, and I will most definitely be making these again.
Katie: As Gray said, we have made biscuits before that were fine, but nothing like these. So, I have to agree that these biscuits were the best either of us has made. I think Gray really already said it all, so I’ll just reiterate that they were delicious!!