People take pride in their biscuits. Some will tell you that it’s impossible to make quality biscuits north of the Mason-Dixon line. We are here to assure you that the secret to baking soft, flaky biscuits has nothing to do with geographic location, and everything to do with flour. Whether you’re going to be doing your cooking from north or south of the Mason-Dixon line, you should be using flour from soft red winter wheat; our friends at ChefSteps recommend using White Lily self-rising flour. Its low protein content yields less gluten for a more tender crumb. They also like using buttermilk for its tangy flavor.
These golden brown mounds of quick bread make an excellent sop for sorghum syrup, or as the foundation for sausage gravy. Check out the recipe below, along with a brief instructional video.
2 cups White Lily self-rising flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1½ tablespoons sugar
¾ cup butter
1¾ cups buttermilk, very cold
1 large egg
¼ cup water
- Freeze butter so it is easier to grate. Make sure buttermilk is very cold.
- Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.
- Grate butter over bowl of dry ingredients.
- Using your hands, gently mix to coat butter shavings. Avoid crushing the grated butter back into a mass. Once shavings are coated, they won’t stick. Now cut in the butter by grinding handfuls of the mix between your palm and fingers.
- Drizzle buttermilk into flour-butter mixture. Using your hands or a spoon, mix in buttermilk until dough just barely comes together — 12-18 turns of the spoon. Mix should be wet to touch.
- Lightly flour the dough and press it into a ball. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper.
- Form dough into a rectangle 20 cm by 28 cm, and about 2 cm thick.
- Freeze 10 minutes for easier cutting. Cut into 12 squares and pull them apart by about ½ cm.
- Make an egg wash by mixing equal parts eggs and water until thin. Brush onto the biscuits.
- If making ahead, freeze for baking later. To serve, bake at 401°F until golden, about 15 minutes, or until the core temperature reaches 190°F.
ChefSteps comprises a team of award-winning chefs, filmmakers, scientists, designers and engineers focused on revolutionizing the way people cook by inspiring creativity and encouraging expertise in the kitchen. The site is currently offering free online classes called Cooking Sous Vide: Getting Started and Burgers, as well as a $10 class called Cooking Sous Vide: Beyond the Basics and a $14 class called Coffee.