But, as usual, I digress. The following tutorial contains all I've learned in my many years of biscuit-making. May exploding Pillsbury cans and Bisquick never reside in your shopping cart again...
makes 10-12, depending on circumference of cutter
2 c plain flour, preferably unbleached, plus enough for kneading/cutting
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
6 T softened butter or lard
1 c milk, warmed
- Preheat oven to 450˚. (If you'd rather not heat up your whole kitchen, these bake well in a toaster oven if you reduce the heat to 425˚. You may have to bake in two batches.)
- Warm milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat. (Remove it from the heat when you see a bit of steam rising, well before boiling.)
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Using a pastry blender or fork, cut the butter into the dry mixture until it's in small crumbles.
- Add milk and mix well, erring on the side of under-mixing. The dough should seem a bit sticky.
- Turn out onto a floured surface. (Tip: I use a large rectangular stone, kneading/cutting at one end and baking the biscuits at the other end. Makes for one less thing to wash.)
- With floured hands, turn the dough over until all sides have gathered a bit more flour. If it's really sticky, the milk was too hot so just add a small handfuls of flour until the dough doesn't cling to your touch.
- Gently pat the dough into a circle. Don't worry if you see bits of flour or butter. The kneading will take care of that.
- Pick up the top of the circle at the 12 o'clock position and fold it down to the six o'clock position. Gently pat out to a circle again.
- Knead three more times, folding in each direction...three o'clock to nine, six to twelve and nine to six. Use a very light touch; this is what makes all those flaky layers!
- Pat dough out one more time into a circle about 3/4" thick. Using a floured biscuit cutter or over-turned glass, cut from the outer edges to the center, never twisting as you cut.
- Nestle the little beauties up against one another on the pan.
- The scraps from the first cuttings can be very gently rejoined to make more biscuits or bake as is as 'baker's treat'. :)
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Serve immediately.
- Leftovers may be stored overnight in an airtight container.