Good biscuits belong at any meal—with eggs and sausage, or jam and tea midday, or alongside a roast chicken. Beginning with cold ingredients and mixing with a light hand are the keys to tender biscuits. Adapted from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson, Ten Speed Press, 2009.
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- 3 cups Stone-Buhr All Purpose Flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 -1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 -1/2 stick unsalted butter cold
- 1 -1/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Measure dry ingredients into a mixing bowl with high sides or the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
Dice butter in 1/2-inch cubes. Use your hands or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to blend butter into dry ingredients until texture of flour changes from silky to mealy. Dime to quarter-sized butter pieces should remain.
Make a well in flour mixture and pour in 1 cup buttermilk all at once. Gently mix dough just until it comes together; it will look rough. Scrape dough from sides and bottom of bowl; add remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and mix to incorporate floury scraps. The majority of dough will come together on paddle if using stand mixer. Stop mixing while there are still visible chunks of butter and floury patches. The dough should come out of the bowl in 2 to 3 large, messy clumps leaving only small scraps and flour around the sides of the bowl. If the dough is visibly dry and crumbly, add extra buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing no more than one rotation after each addition.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times, until it forms a cohesive mass. Use a rolling pin or the palms of your hands to gather dough and gently pat into an oblong shape 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick. It won’t be smooth or particularly cohesive; that’s okay.
Cut biscuits at least 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Layer leftover scraps on top of one another and gently pat out to 1-1/2 to 2-inch thickness. Cut into biscuits again.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Biscuits should be toasty golden brown. Serve immediately.