Most cathead or drop biscuits in the Old South were made with clabber or buttermilk, because of the high acidity that reacted with the baking powder or soda to create a flakier, more tender biscuit. However, in today’s modern world of self-rising and soft winter wheat flours most cooks love buttermilk in their biscuits simply because it tastes so doggone good!
- 1/3 cup butter or margarine
- 2 cups self-rising soft-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- Butter or margarine, melted
Cut 1/3 cup butter into flour with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Add buttermilk, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times. Roll dough to 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a 2 ½-inch round cutter, and place on a baking sheet. Bake biscuits at 425 for 12 to 14 minutes. Brush with melted butter.
Substitute 1 cup self-rising cornmeal for 1 cup self-rising flour. Add 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers or 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and 1 unseeded, chopped jalapeno pepper. Bake as directed.
Add 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese and 1 teaspoon dried whole leaf or rubbed sage. Substitute 3/4 cup beer for buttermilk. Bake as directed.
Country Ham Biscuits:
Reduce butter to 1/4 cup and buttermilk to 1/4 cup. Add 1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream and 1 cup finely chopped cooked country ham. Bake as directed.