biscuits here are not what biscuits are back home. Oh no, its not a Tim Tam nor a Mint Slice, it’s more a scone… with added butter and all things glory (buttermilk, cream cheese, more butter, some flour… what more do you need in life, really?)
Southern biscuits are in between tender and flaky (thanks to the addition of buttermilk and working quickly with grated butter dotted through the dough). Similar to scones, it uses baking soda as its leavening agent instead of any yeast added (the soda reacts with the buttermilk- a form of acid, to help aerate and leaven the dough). Through reading various recipes, I’ve been digging the addition of cream cheese… giving these biscuits a sort of ‘tang’ and creaminess. Here’s a recipe.
And here are some clues with biscuit making
repetition really is key. the more you make of these doughs, the better your hands get a feel of it (I’m not even saying that as a hippy cook, I’m saying that… because it’s true!)
if it’s taking you more than 15mins-20mins to form the dough, you’re overworking the dough! you’re going to work the proteins that form gluten which will make the biscuits more ‘bready’ and ‘tough’ than tender and flaky.
grate your butter. Ideally, you want your butter to be stone cold, working it through the flour JUST enough that the dough (before adding the liquids) is sand like texture. After adding the liquids, you want everything to incorporate but JUST - meaning, you want it to be a little shaggy looking (just like my life.)
Have you biscuits baking on the top rack, closest to the heat source to help caramelise and colour.
For added fun, as you add melted butter on top, you can add spices! Here, I added Aleppo pepper and za’atar.
They freeze well, which is great ‘cause every recipe makes atleast 12. You can have them cut and frozen, ready to shove in the toaster at any moment. (did I tell you how amazing breakfasts can be? it can be. I have a dream. that you will love 6AM just as much as I do.)
One Sunday I decided to bring my ‘fuck your $35 hipster brunch’ mentality to my shoebox in Bed Stuy. Braising leftover pork shoulder with ancho chilli, making an aioli and adding grated horseradish, a herb-apple salad with a dressing made from the aioli, some ginger, chilli and some champagne vinegar. Yea! Come see me! Williamsburg! And I did it all for $10! Tccchhhhaaauuuu.