1 envelope fast acting instant dry yeast
½ cup warm water (95-105 degrees F) to bloom yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour plus some for dusting
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups buttermilk
I’ve discovered the perfect biscuit recipe. Gone are the sad little biscuits resembling hockey pucks. Gone are the days of this Damn Yankee’s embarrassing excuse for breakfast. This talent for beautiful biscuit making seems to be bred into the genetic makeup of every Southern woman I have met, along with a few very talented Southern gentlemen.
I tried time after time to duplicate the fluffy, buttery goodness that I’ve encountered down here in the South, to no avail. I thanked my family and friends numerous times for good naturedly eating those mistakes without complaint (though piled high with jam, butter, or apple butter).
I then had to resort to the Queen of Southern cooking. My absolute favorite Southern chef. Ms. Paula Deen. Her Southern Cooking Bible has saved my sorry Yankee butt more times than I’d like to admit, this time being no exception. My only question to myself being, “Why on Earth did I not resort to this book sooner?”
I thought all biscuits were “quick breads”, and that the leavening process was covered between the baking powder, baking soda, butter, and buttermilk. Not always so. This recipe encompasses not only vegetable shortening, but dry instant yeast as well.
I’ve also been told not to over mix biscuit dough. Newsflash people, you do have to mix the dough to a certain point or it falls apart. The “do not over mix” rule is not a myth, however there is a fine line between the two.
For clarification purposes, mix the dough until it comes together and is not sticky. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and forget the rolling pin, just pat the dough out to about an inch thick before cutting with your favorite water glass, biscuit cutter, or clean, empty soup can.
Another big tip is do not twist your cutting object. You want only straight up and down cuts to prevent the sides from sealing. The biscuit dough needs to breathe on the sides for the steam rising process created by the vegetable shortening or butter in the dough.
The angels that these biscuits were named for broke out in song as they came out of the oven. No joke. I’m completely serious here, as biscuits are not a laughing matter in the South. They rose to new heights, topping out at 2 ½ inches tall. These beauties were moist, tender, and delicious. I sincerely hope you give them a shot, because my family almost demanded a second batch the same day I made the first.
Once again, a big, huge thank you to Ms. Paula Deen for her great recipe. Until next time folks, eat well, laugh often, be free, and be you.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water while preparing the dry ingredients. Set aside. Combine all dry ingredients and cut in chilled vegetable shortening with two knives or a pastry cutter until pea sized chunks are achieved. Set dry ingredients with shortening in refrigerator for about fifteen minutes to re-chill. After chilling, remove bowl and add buttermilk mixing only until dough comes together and is not sticky. Dust cutting surface with flour and turn dough out on to cutting surface dusting the top and pat out to a 1 inch thickness before cutting. Rework dough only one more time to finish cutting biscuits, placing each biscuit about a half an inch apart on the cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake for approx. 12- 14 minutes. Makes about a dozen biscuits.