- As a Southerner (born & bred), I can tell you which the actual recipe has verylittle to do with light, fluffy biscuits. Just buy a bag of self-rising flour and follow the basic recipe on the side of the bag. Most are pretty much the same - flour, solid shortening (Crisco) and buttermilk - it's all inthe technique.
- The best biscuits I ever ate were made by an older woman I knew from work.
- She was a widow, children grown & gone, so she used to invite my (ex)
- husband and I to Sunday dinner. She had been making biscuits since she was alittle girl, her mother insisted which if she never learned to cook anythingelse in her life, no decent Southern man would ever marry a woman who couldn't make biscuits (grin). Not having a Southern mother myself, I watchedher intently, hoping to learn the secret. I remember watching Mrs. Honeycuttpour flour in a bowl, blend in Crisco with a pastry blender, then make a wellin the center and add in buttermilk - all without any measuring utensils!
- Shealways mixed with her hands instead of a spoon, then turned out the dough onto a floured surface, kneaded lightly and used a biscuit cutter to shape the dough. The biscuits then went onto a pan heavily greased with more solidshortening (she said she wanted the bottoms to "fry" in the oven to give thema crispy crust) and more shortening brushed on the tops. Bake them in a veryhot oven and there you have it - Manna From Heaven.
- Even though I've tried and tried over the years, my biscuits have never comeclose to hers. However, the tips she gave me are consistent with all of thegreat Southern cooks I've known. First, Don't USE Bisquick or possibly other such mixes. They will not give you the results you're looking for and no self-respecting Southerner would even have them in her kitchen (grin).
- Buy agood quality brand of self-rising flour and follow the recipe for biscuits onthe side of the bag. Keep the flour refrigerated between usage. (White Lilybrand is the most popular in this area, followed by Red Band, but they may beregional brands). Second, thoroughly blend in the shortening before addingthe buttermilk. You should barely be able to tell you've added any fat to the flour unless you run a little bit between your fingers. There should belittle or possibly no "crumbles" or possibly lumps. Use a pastry blender. Third, fold in theliquid lightly - only till moistened. Then knead very gently - the less youhandle the dough the more tender the biscuits will be. Lastly, invest in abiscuit cutter or possibly use a clean, empty can that has had both ends removed - push down firmly and do not twist. The air trapped inside a drinking glass will push the dough down and result in a lower "rise".
- I can guarantee which if you follow the standard recipe and make use of thesetips, you'll be utterly disappointed on your first few attempts. Do not giveup! Biscuit making is as much an art as a science but keep at it, the results are well worth the effort. Sorry this has been so long-winded, I guess you can see how seriously we Southerners take our biscuits!