In the words of Sir Mix A Lot….. “Mmmmmmmm….them Buttermilk Biscuits”
Warm buttermilk biscuits with melted butter could be the most comforting thing on the face of the earth. Whether they are being cooked over open fire on a chuckwagon in a dutch oven at 5am miles away from civilization, or out of your own oven in the comfort of your home for Sunday brunch – it just doesn’t get any better. I have tried many recipes – some better than others, but to be honest, the best recipe I have found is the Southern Living recipe.
First things first. To me the most important thing to keep in mind when making biscuits is to not over work the dough. Gluten is not your friend when making biscuits. It can turn light clouds of doughy goodness into hockey pucks that could chip a tooth. Southern Living even goes so far as to instruct you to stir the dough mixture 15 times once you add the buttermilk. Now I am not nearly that highly refined it my procedure, but it is a good starting point until you can tell by the look and feel.
Secondly, the next and equally important thing is COLD butter. Using cold (frozen) butter actually helps the biscuits to rise and become light and airy. This happens because the moisture evaporates and creates air pockets to get lift. If the butter is warm, the flour soaks it up and you do not get the benefit of the extra lift.
And if you are up to trying it, there is nothing much better than biscuits cooked in a dutch oven. It is not the easiest thing to accomplish, but with practice you can make a pretty good hand at it. I recommend buying the cheap canned biscuits and practicing with them before getting heartbroken by burning a batch of homemade ones. A great chuckwagon cook Charlie Ferguson has a cookbook out “Cowboy Cuisine” and in it he has this chart that is really helpful when starting out. It shows you exactly the number of charcoal briquettes to use.
When you feel confident, mix up a batch and give er heck! Make you a wood fire and get your coals hot and ready. Put 1/3 of a shovel full of coals on the bottom and 2/3 of a shovel full on the top. Then rotate the lid about every 3 to 4 minutes. Check the buttermilk biscuits after about 10 minutes.
- Dutch Oven
- 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 stick frozen butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- In a mixing bowl, add the self rising flour. Using a cheese grater grate the frozen butter directly into the flour.
- Lightly combine with your fingertips being careful not to melt the butter.
- Create a well in the center and add the buttermilk.
- Mix until it starts to come together. It will look shaggy.
- Dump out onto a floured surface and roll out to 3/4" thickness. Fold in half and roll out to a thickness of 3/4" again. Do this 4 more times. You're are creating flaky layers.
- Use a biscuit cutter (or recycled vegetable can) and push straight down – do not twist. Place biscuits on a parchment lined sheet pan leaving space between each.
- Cook 12-15 minutes. I recomend checking at 12 minutes as all ovens cook different.
- Remove from oven.
- Brush tops of the buttermilk biscuits with melted butter and serve.