About this Recipe
Freshly baked biscuits go so well with a fresh pot of soup or stew. They are one of the easiest least time consuming things to bake and the ratio of appreciation to effort for those eating them is well worth the effort. We know on those busy work days, you are not likely to add this additional task to your evening meal, but for that Sunday dinner making biscuits will be greatly enjoyed by all that get to indulge. We often suggest making stews, soups and casseroles ahead of time, so if the main dish is already done, putting together a quick batch of biscuits can be fun and a great accompaniment to a dish. Biscuits are wonderful to sop up gravy and soup juice and they are also great with a dollop of jam! There are so few ingredients required and you can save more time by cutting the biscuit shapes with a knife rather than using a cookie cutter. With biscuits, it does not matter what their shape, they are good old fashion comfort food and once baked and browned every shape looks like a little bit of bite-able love.
1. Flour is always measured before sifting. When measuring dry ingredients you should always fill the cup or spoon to overflowing. Never pack it down, then use a flat edge of a spatula or knife to level the top. To save time, you could bypass sifting the flour as all purpose flour is pre-sifted anyways. Sifting makes the flour lighter, but if you are in a big rush or don't have a sifter, don't let that stop you from making the soda biscuits.
2. If you don't want to cut with a cookie cutter you can also use a knife and cut into triangles.
3. We substituted natural non flavored almond milk for dairy milk.
4. Be sure the butter is at room temperature. Scoop it into the flour in smaller chunks when you go to mix it to make it easier to incorporate into the flour mixture.
5. If you don't have buttermilk, just add 1 tablespoon pure lemon juice or white vinegar per 1 cup milk and let sit a few minutes before using in the recipe.
Serve these biscuits with our delicious Creamy Broccoli Soup
Makes 16 2-inch biscuits
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted (if you are cutting down on salt use unsalted)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, if you don't have buttermilk add 1 Tablespoon pure lemon juice to the milk
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly flour the parchment paper.
3. Measure the flour then put through a sifter into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the cream of tartar, salt and baking soda to combine the ingredients.
4. Add the room temperature butter and work in with your fingertips to form a crumble type consistency.
5. Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture, stir in with a spatula or wooden spoon to combine, then use your hands to gently work the dough into a mass.
6. Transfer out of the mixing bowl onto a lightly floured flat working surface. Knead lightly then form into a big ball.
7. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 3/4 inch thick.
8. Cut with a round 2-inch cookie cutter to form the biscuits. Gather up the leftover dough, lightly squeeze together with your hands flatten to 3/4 inch and cut the biscuits. Form the last bit of leftover dough into a ball, flatten to 3/4 inch and place onto the baking sheet as well.
9. Place onto the baking sheet and put into the preheated oven.
10. Bake for 15 minutes or until the biscuits are a golden brown.
11. Remove from the oven, let sit on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Delicious warm from the oven or at room temperature.
Tips on Quick Breads, Biscuits and Scones As suggested, quick breads require little effort, they go together easily and offer big return for your efforts. There is no waiting around time as with yeast breads. The quicker you make, bake and consume the better! There is nothing like biting into a biscuit from the oven and the aroma is so alluring!
The leavening agents for biscuits, quick breads and scones are basically the same. The mixtures are all handled a little differently. Biscuit dough gets kneaded just until it holds together, muffin mixtures must be stirred until thoroughly moist but still a bit lumpy, and batter for quick breads is folded lightly and thoroughly until smooth after the flour is added.
Some Things To Remember The leavening agent used in these baked goods is baking powder or a combination of baking soda with an acid ingredient such as sour milk, buttermilk or sour cream. Acid and soda combined release the carbon dioxide needed to lighten these baked goods. Some recipes will ask for fresh milk with double the cream of tartar or baking soda to release the carbon dioxide. Molasses is also an acid and rising agent. All purpose flour is usually called for and this is because the proportion of leavening agent needed is greater than the amount present in self-rising flours. You should not use self-rising flours in a recipe unless they ask for it.
What is the Right Way to do the Mixing? Most important is adding the correct amount of liquid and this may need to be adapted depending on the flour. The texture for biscuit dough should be soft and most but not sticky. If too little liquid is added the biscuits will be hard and if too much liquid is added the dough will be difficult to handle. Quick breads and muffin mixtures should be soft enough to fall off a spoon.
How to Handle the batters and dough? You must never overwork biscuits and muffins. Knead the biscuit dough only until it holds together then roll it our or pat it down with fingertips or knuckles and then cut into wedges or, circles. Any remaining dough, gather up, handle lightly and form shapes to use up the dough. With muffins, stir lightly until dough is just moist. Work quickly handling all quick bread, biscuits and muffins. As soon as the ingredients are combined the chemical reaction starts releasing the carbon dioxide so to get maximum rising effect you want to get the baking done quickly.
Tips on Baking When you bake biscuits, do so on floured ungreased baking sheets at higher heat, usually 400 to 425 degrees F. Quick breads are baked in a more moderate oven usually about 350 degrees F.
Tips on Storing The best way to eat biscuits is fresh from the oven, and the same applies for muffins. The same day they are baking offers the maximum in freshness and flavor. They can certainly be eaten 2nd and even 3rd day, but they loose freshness with each day and reheating them in a toaster oven will make them taste fresher. Quick breads taste good for the first 2-3 days.
References: Grand Diplome Cooking Course (1972, Hardcover), William Anne. Danbury Press.