I’ve enjoyed some fantastic homemade biscuits in my life. With no disrespect to other great biscuit makers in my family, my grandma Vember’s were the best. It must have been the grandma love she handed her biscuits, affectionately known as “hoppy toad” biscuits, presumably because they were small and so good they quickly hopped off the pan.
Recently, I’ve had her biscuits on my mind, and I’ve come to realize I’ll never make — or likely eat anywhere — biscuits like hers again. But I’ve had this nagging hankering for delicious homemade biscuits, and I’ve been on the hunt for a simple recipe that satisfies the craving when it hits.
My wife Molly makes delicious homemade biscuits that go great with a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, jam spreads or a drizzle of honey. But Molly will tell you that I have one complaint about those biscuits, mostly when I’m the one cooking them: I don’t like using shortening, also known as lard. It has an oilyness to it that just “burns my biscuits.” I don’t enjoy working in it with my hands, and I don’t enjoy cleaning the measuring cup that contains it. So, I’ve been searching for an ingredient replacement, and I think I’ve found it.
No one recipe has delivered exactly what I’m looking for, so I can tell you that this specific recipe is probably out there in some form, but I’ve created my own version of it as a mashup of pieces from others. The only required ingredients: Flour, Milk and Butter. Be patient with these biscuits. You’ll have to try them several times to arrive at just the right combination for your taste and your oven. And when you do, I expect you’ll be quite pleased.
These biscuits offer light, flaky layers and a savory, buttery taste to boot. They make great biscuits for sandwiching toppings like bacon, sausage and eggs. They’re great with jelly. I even love eating them plain, and because of the butter included in the recipe, there’s little need for slathering extra butter when they come out of the oven. See what you think, and let me know if you like them as much as I’ve come to.
2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (one stick, and it doesn’t actually have to be unsalted)
1/3 Cup Milk (you might have to test out this amount, depending on the consistency of your dough)
Yield: About 10 Biscuits
1. Cut your cold butter into cubes and toss them into your flour in a medium to large mixing bowl.
2. Use your hands, a pastry cutter or two forks to fold your butter into your flour.
3. Once your butter and flour are mixed, incorporate the milk slowly, until all three ingredients are blended well. You may need extra milk if your mixture is too dry, but you don’t want it to become too sticky either.
4. Form your dough into a large ball. Flour a flat surface and the outside of the ball.
5. Roll out your dough on the flat surface, then fold the dough over on itself and roll it out again. Repeat as many times as you like for more layers in your biscuit. You’ll see how many layers you want after your first time baking these biscuits. If you don’t want layers, roll out and don’t fold the dough.
6. Roll the dough to about an inch thick for thicker biscuits, or about a half inch for thinner biscuits.
7. Use a biscuit cutter or a circular cup to cut your biscuits. Flour the rim to keep from sticking. (You can also parcel out the dough in little balls and then flatten and form with your hands. I like a cutter to keep the biscuits more uniform in size.)
8. Place your biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet (You have butter in your biscuits to help with sticking).
9. (Optional) You can brush the tops of your biscuits with melted butter before putting them in the oven or midway through cooking for browner tops and an extra buttery flavor and texture.
10. Cook in a 450-degree oven for eight to 10 minutes, depending on the desired doneness.
More #FoodieScore Biscuits: Molly’s Three-Ingredient Biscuits