BASIC BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Yields: 10 Biscuits
Most cathead or drop biscuits in the Old South were made with clabber or buttermilk. These acidic products reacted with baking powder or soda to create flaky, tender biscuits. Today, self-rising and soft winter wheat flours create the same effect. Nevertheless, most cooks still use buttermilk in their biscuits simply because it tastes so good!
⅓ cup butter or margarine
2 cups self-rising flour
¾ cup buttermilk
butter or margarine, melted
Preheat oven to 425°F. Blend ⅓ cup butter into flour with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Add buttermilk, stirring until mixture is moistened. Turn dough onto a lightly-floured surface and knead 3–4 times. Roll dough ¾-inch thick, cut with a 2½-inch round cutter then place biscuits on a baking sheet. Bake 12–14 minutes. When done, brush immediately 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 jalapeño pepper. Bake as directed.
Add 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese and 1 teaspoon dried whole leaf or rubbed sage. Substitute ¾ cup beer for buttermilk. Bake as directed.
Country Ham Biscuits:
Reduce butter and buttermilk to ¼ cup each. Add 1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream and 1 cup finely chopped cooked country ham. Bake as directed.