Southern Biscuits, Like Great Grandma Made

31 Jan

by Green Gourmet K

A few people I know have a bucket list, with things they want to do or places they want to go before they kick the ol’ bucket.  I have a list of recipes I must learn to cook in my lifetime.  Yes, I know this may be a little ridiculous, but I come from a family of amazing cooks – my parents, aunts, uncles, and many family friends.  My parents are the best non-professional cooks I know, they each have their own style and they both love fresh ingredients and the creation of a simple, satisfying meal for the ones they love.

Each parent has certain things they make that are their specialties, at least in my mind.  My dad makes an amazing Rosemary Roast Chicken, with gravy of course, and I love his recipe for grilled flank steak.  My mom makes a killer fruit cobbler, a perfectly executed shrimp etouffee, and fantastic vinaigrettes on the fly, among many, many other things.

But they both make biscuits.  There is a bit of biscuit feud going on in fact.  Mom swears that my Dad’s biscuits are not true Southern biscuits (because he is a Yankee – Gasp!) and my Dad argues that his biscuits are just as good, if not better, than most Southerners.  I have decided that I need to learn both biscuit recipes.  A little while ago my mother taught me her version.

My mom’s biscuit recipe comes from this book, Southern Cooking by Mrs. S.R. Dull.

As you can see, this book has been through a lot, it is spineless and held together with tape but it is priceless.

The recipe inside only has 5 ingredients, believe it or not!

Here is Mrs. S.R. Dull’s classic Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe:

Ingredients

2 cups of flour, sifted (will be 2.5 cups once sifted) — we used whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup buttermilk — we subbed yogurt and milk until it was the consistency of buttermilk

4 tablespoons shortening  —- or butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Now, here’s where my mom differs from Mrs. S.R. Dull.  She does not have shortening laying around, I mean who does?  So we used butter.  Now my mom, 6th generation Atlantan that she is, does love buttermilk but did not have any on hand so she taught me a neat trick.  You can apparently use yogurt and milk as a sub for buttermilk, which is what we did. 

Directions

Sift together the dry ingredients.

Now mix in the butter (or shortening) but the key is to not touch the cold butter (oh, did I mention it should be cold?) and you don’t want to mix it with your hands because it will melt the butter so cut it with two knives.

Add in the buttermilk (or yogurt-milk mixture).

Turn the dough out onto a floured board or countertop.

Pat the dough out to about 1/2 an inch thick.

Use a biscuit cutter or just a round glass to cut out your biscuits. Place them on a baking sheet.

Then place the baking sheet in the oven, Mrs. Dull says “a hot oven.”  My mom says that means 425 degrees for about ten minutes for thin biscuits, 15 minutes for thicker ones.

The biscuits don’t have to be perfect, as you can tell, and they are not the gigantic, abnormally yellow fast food kind of biscuit.  These were made with whole wheat pastry flour, and we subbed in two other ingredients, and they still came out perfect.  But my mom was careful about the sifting, the measuring and cutting the butter into the dry ingredients.  These biscuits were soft inside but crisp on the outside, the perfect vehicle for a pat of butter.

The jury is still out on who makes the better biscuit, mom or dad, but keep an eye out for the second recipe (from dad) and you can be the judge.

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One Response to “Southern Biscuits, Like Great Grandma Made”

  1. Jen @ keepitsimplefoods January 31, 2011 at 2:33 PM #

    These looks great! Love the old-timey recipe book. I have one of those too, it’s a treasure.

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