Flakey Buttermilk Biscuits

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When it comes to biscuits, I am obnoxiously picky.  They need to be buttery, flakey, and stacked with tender pull-apart layers.  There are lots of amazing biscuit recipes out there—I know because I’ve spent the better part of two years trying many of them.  While they yielded delicious results, I was never quite satisfied…that is, until I made these beauties.  If you’re like me and want to eat your biscuits one buttery layer at a time, give this recipe a try.

 

3 cups, plus 2 Tbsp self-rising flour (White Lilly and King Arthur flour brands have yielded the best results for me)

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, chilled

Heavy cream, for brushing

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Butter a 12-inch cast iron skillet.  If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use an oven-proof skillet or baking sheet.

2. Whisk the flour and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the cold butter to the flour mixture.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse peas.

4. Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture. Pour the buttermilk into the well, then stir it into the flour mixture until a sticky dough forms.  Do not over mix, unless you prefer biscuits that resemble hockey pucks.

5. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

6. Once the dough has chilled, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and kneed it gently 3 or 4 times to combine any rogue ingredients.

7. Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll the dough until it’s 1/2-inch thick.

8. Fold the dough into thirds, like you would fold a letter.

9. Continue to roll and fold the dough in this fashion 6 to 8 times, flouring the work surface as needed to prevent sticking.  This is how you make those gorgeously flakey layers.

10. Once you are finished rolling and folding, roll the dough to a 1-inch thickness.

11. Flip the dough over so you don’t see any seams on top.  Using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter or juice glass, dipped in flour, cut your biscuits.  Do not twist the cutter—just push down and pull it back up (if the cutter is dipped in flour after each cut, you need not worry about the dough sticking to it).

12. Place the cut biscuits into the cast iron skillet.  They should be touching slightly—this will help them rise (or climb) up while baking, rather than spreading out.  If you are baking them on a baking sheet, do not bake them spread apart—make sure they are slightly touching.

13. Press the dough scraps together and roll them to a 1-inch thickness and cut more biscuits.  Repeat this process until there isn’t enough dough left to make a whole biscuit.  Roll that last scrap of dough into a snake-like rope and nestle it into the pan to fill any remaining space.  If you are baking your biscuits on a baking sheet, place the dough snake along the edge to prevent your biscuits from spreading out instead of climbing up.

14. Brush the tops of the biscuits with heavy cream.

15. Bake the biscuits 15-20 minutes, or until they are turning golden brown on top.  You may want to start checking them around the 12-minute mark, depending on how hot your oven runs.

16. Serve warm with sausage gravy, you favorite jam, or a decadent compound butter, such as Cane Syrup Butter.

Makes roughly 12 biscuits

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🧈 If you don’t have self rising flour, you can make your own:  Combing 3 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 1/2 tsp table salt.

🧈🧈 If you have leftover biscuits, store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  They reheat well the next day.

🧈🧈🧈 You can make them in advance—just freeze the unbaked biscuits on a baking sheet, then transfer them to a freezer-safe zip bag.   When you are ready to bake them, there’s no need to thaw in advance, just bake as directed and add a few minutes to their time in the oven.

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