Biscuits were always a staple in our house when I was growing up. My dad seemed to want my mom to be in the kitchen every morning donning an apron with her hair pulled back in a little bun rolling out dough. I guess that was in his dream-world; even though my mom loves to cook, she certainly wasn’t making an appearance like that every morning, especially on a busy workday. But I think he fondly remembered his mother doing it that way and longed for the memories that homemade biscuits conjured up. My mom would indulge his fantasy once in a while when she had time, but typically, she whacked open a can to unleash prepared rounds of dough. They tasted good, and definitely work in a pinch. But when she was really clever, she would tell him we were having square biscuits, as she popped the sliced bread into the toaster.
I’ve tried recipe after recipe over the years, always hoping to perfect my own homemade biscuits, but also trying to keep it simple. I wanted the process of making biscuits to be almost as easy as using biscuit mix or running to the store to purchase a can of biscuits. It really doesn’t take much more. I use self-rising flour to eliminate the steps of measuring out baking powder and/or baking soda. And I love the tang you get from a buttermilk biscuit but often don’t have buttermilk on hand. So to cut out the part of the process where I hopped in the car and drove down to the store to get it, I started using the sour-milk method of adding vinegar to regular milk or “sweet” milk, as my dad always called it. And at times, I don’t even use a biscuit cutter; I simply cut the dough into 2 1/2 inch squares with a knife before baking. They definitely aren’t the same square biscuits we used to have!
I’m so grateful for the traditions my mother and my grandmothers have passed on to me, especially the love of being in the kitchen and cooking for our families. Make some memories with homemade biscuits this weekend. Whether you make them on a regular basis, or save it for special occasions, you’ll be a hero to your family as they smell that wonderful aroma coming from the oven! Enjoy food made fresh!
Basic Breakfast Biscuits
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 stick, or 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons white vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Measure 1 cup milk and add 3 tablespoons vinegar then set aside. Place 2 cups self-rising flour into mixing bowl. Begin cutting cold butter cut into very small pieces into the flour. Use pastry cutter or 2 butter knives to blend.
Milk will now appear slightly lumpy; stir to combine. Incorporate milk mixture into flour stirring until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and continue blending. When well blended, turn dough out onto floured surface.
Separate dough into 2 balls. Roll one ball into approximately 6-by-10 inch rectangle. Fold dough in half and roll again to same size. Cut out biscuits with 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter or glass. Place on baking sheet. Combine scraps with the other dough ball and repeat process. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with additional butter. Makes 12 biscuits.
Tip: Freeze butter then grate into the flour using a box grater. This will help to incorporate the cold butter into the flour in small enough pieces that the end result will be an even texture throughout the biscuit, but the cold butter will still leave little pockets of air creating a fluffy biscuit.