Biscuits are a staple food in this area. We eat them for breakfast, with meals (usually sopping up gravy) or covered in jelly or fruit as a dessert. I remember Mother making them all the time, and we had them with some of her best meals, like fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. Of course mother knows how to make them the old fashioned way, including using plenty of shortening in her biscuits. Shortening and lard are certainly the last things we need around here, but I was on a mission to make biscuits from scratch after my dad was telling how his mother made them everyday as he was growing up. He’s starting to warm up to the idea of us having a website and sharing all the good old recipes that the women in the older generations had. So he had this to say about his mama making biscuits:
“She got up early each day and started the fire in the stove in the kitchen. Then she took some flour from the box she had in the cabinet and poured some into a bowl. She never measured. Then she added some lard, again not measuring. She knew just how much to make it the right texture. Next she added fresh milk and mixed it all together. After she had the biscuits in the pan she took a spoon of bacon grease and smeared some on top of each one.”
Clearly, this is not anything approved by anyone in the world of nutrition, but not to be discouraged by this or the fact I don’t make homemade biscuits, I got up early Sunday to surprise everyone and make biscuits from scratch.
I will have to tell you right now, it was an epic fail. I’ll continue on with pictures and try do better next time.
The recipe I had called for 2 C. Self Rising Flour, 1/4 Shortening or lard, and 3/4 C. of buttermilk. I found myself with only all-purpose flour and added 1 tsp. of salt and 2 tsp.of baking soda to make up for it. (this could have been where I messed up) Then I added the shortening.
I found a pastry mixer in the back of the drawer and decided to use it to cut in the shortening. (PS-You can use lard instead. Our grocery store here does sell lard. Just FYI)
Once the shortening is mixed until you have small chunky balls, add the milk. Once you have a doughy mixture, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
This is where you roll out the dough. (I think this is also where I messed up.) That isn’t what I call lightly floured. Once you roll out the dough, you cut your biscuits. Try to cut them close together because you won’t roll the leftovers again. The more you roll them, the tougher they get so you want to roll them as little as possible once you have mixed it. You don’t have to have anything fancy. Mother used to use a jelly glass. A plain round cookie cutter will do fine. I happened to have pastry cutters so I used the small one.
Your oven should be preheated to 400°. I use a stone pie plate for my biscuits because I like them to be soft sided. Its just a preference. My stone is seasoned, which is why its dark. Don’t think I have dirty dishes.
My biscuits look pretty much the same after cooking 20 minutes or more. They were a bit dry for my taste. Maybe I should have added bacon grease but I figured there was enough fat in there.
We added lots of muscadine jelly and it was edible.
Like its gravy counterpart, biscuit making is an art that has to be learned and practiced. Most good things are.