Every morning, Mother pulls her biscuit bowl out of the cabinet and starts making fluffy buttermilk biscuits. She's been doing this most every morning since she married my father 63 years ago. I'm certain she could make them with her eyes closed.
As fate would have it, there isn't a written recipe to be found. Mother learned how to make biscuits from her mother-in-law when she first married, and before I married I watched her enough to learn how to do what she does. Still, there's not a written recipe.
But since you're probably wondering how to make these beauties, I'm going to attempt to get this written down, from memory. Just remember, there are hundreds of recipes for buttermilk biscuits. What I'm sharing is simply how my mom makes them.
Here are the ingredients:
2 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder (optional; Mother does not use baking powder in her biscuits, but I do in mine)
1/4 cup Crisco shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk
A 10-12" iron skillet, greased with shortening
Preheat oven to 400-450 degrees (you will find that biscuit recipes call for varying oven temps, so you sort of have to play with it, depending on your particular oven). I generally use somewhere between 425° and 450°.
Place dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add shortening, cutting in until it favors coarse crumbs throughout. (Mother does this using her fingers; you could also use a pastry cutter if you prefer.)
Stir in buttermilk and knead dough gently, just until the mixture is wet and stays together. (As you're kneading, the dough will become sticky. Add sprinkles of flour as needed.) You want the end result to be smooth, not sticky.
We interrupt this rambling recipe to give you one of my favorite photos of my sweet mother in the kitchen, back when I was just a wee thing.
Continuing on ....
After kneading, most biscuit makers would then roll the dough out onto a cutting surface and use a biscuit cutter to cut to a certain thickness, but Mother doesn't ever take the dough out of the bowl. She kneads it in the bowl, then pinches off a portion of the dough and rolls it around in her floured hands, before flattening it into a disc, about a 1/2-inch thick. (I really should photograph her doing this some morning, but I'm too far gone now.) If you like thicker, fluffier biscuits, maybe go to a 3/4" thickness. **
Place each disc is into iron skillet, with sides touching. Some recipes call for brushing the tops with melted butter before baking, but Mother doesn't do that, although my feeling is a little butter is always a good thing.
Baking times can vary, but a good rule-of-thumb is 12-15 minutes, give or take a couple, or until golden brown. Yields 10-12 biscuits.
** If you prefer, you can do the "drop" biscuit option, using an ice-cream scoop to drop dough directly into skillet.
There's a biscuit recipe for every taste, but I think Mother's buttermilk biscuits are some of the best. They have a light crust on one side, and a softness on the other, perfect for slicing open and inserting whatever goodness you're craving.
Until next time, sweet friends, thanks for keeping me company. You're always welcome here.
Linking up with:
Cindy at My Romantic Home (Show and Tell)
Martha at Seaside Simplicity (Flashback Friday)