HOW TO: Make buttermilk biscuits just like Memaw’s

I lost my beloved Memaw last Fall.  She was a queen.  More about that later.  For now, I would focus on continuing her legacy via the sharing with my progeny and The World of one of the many things she was ridiculously good at, that is, making biscuits.

What *is* a biscuit?  I am aware that some of you are not aware of some of the things we eat around here, of which a biscuit is one.  Now I’m not talking about the cookie “biscuits” that your Downton Abbey or other fancypants types enjoy with high tea.  Do not mistake me, here.  I love fancy living, including but not limited to pants, and I also enjoy tea.  But the things we are making today are a southern menu staple.  Especially at breakfast.  Let’s get started!


You will need:

3c. + 1/2 c. Self rising flour.  I use Virginia’s Best, since Memaw said it was the only kind worth a damn.  In her later years, she switched to their biscuit mix, which has leavening agents, but DO NOT confuse this for “Bisquick.  It is not the same thing.

1 stick salted butter.  Real butter.

1 c. Buttermilk.  If you do not have buttermilk, you can substitute by stirring 1 tbsp of white vinegar into 1c. milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes.  I do this all the time whereas Memaw never did because she was a superior being.

Pour your 3 cups of flour in a large bowl.  Add butter.  Another thing I do that Memaw never did (because she was fast) is grate VERY COLD butter into the mixture as such:


Listen, you don’t have time to fool around here and let everything get all warm.  Cold ingredients = baking science.  Look it up.   I know what I am talking about.  Cut the butter into the flour using knives, until mixture appears crumbly, like so:


Next, stir in your COLD buttermilk using a fork, a little at a time, until soft dough forms and separates from the side of the bowl, like this:


Sprinkle some of your remaining flour on your cutting surface. Turn dough onto surface, sprinkling a little flour on top, and knead LIGHTLY.  Three or four turns, at most. Again, no fooling around! Pat out to 1/2″ thickness.  Now you can cut them out.  I actually do have a biscuit cutter somewhere.  Don’t judge me.


Reformed dough = more biscuits!  I should not have to tell you how this is done.  With as little fooling around as possible.  But I should and will tell you that these “seconds” will not turn out as cute as your first round biscuits.  Give these to people you hate.  You know what — YOU eat those.  Or throw them off a cliff.  Because it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.  And the last thing you need right now is somebody talking shit about your biscuits.

Place biscuits on foil-lined (or not) pan.  I used foil because I always have better things to do than wash pans.  If the biscuits touch, they will rise higher.  More science. 


Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 12 minutes, at which time you will look at them and think they are not done.  And you will be right.  But the bottoms *are* done, and that is what matters here. See?


Turn your oven on mid-range broil.  This is the crucial part that requires CONSTANT VIGILANCE!  I don’t care if your offspring is eyeballing the goldfish bowl with a carton of all-natural orange juice in hand, or eyeballing the…electrical socket with fork in hand.  Hey, that’s life.  These things happen sometimes.  But those biscuits will burn the moment you drop your guard.  And who wants that?!  But if your vigilance is constant, a couple minutes later you will be rewarded with these…Memaw Masterpieces!  Yay!


My Memaw liked to eat these with sliced tomatoes.  And sometimes with apple butter.  I do, too. She also liked to make gravy, which is about as southern as it gets.  She taught me that there is an art to this, and countless things more.  I can make gravy, although I don’t often do so, thanks to (science class) and the Biscuit and Gravy Strike of 1986, wherein I determined that “gravy” was, in fact, “biscuit” in liquid form, and therefore, bullshit.  Or just…wrong.  Not that anyone gave a rat’s ass about my hypothesis, and rightly so.  But I digress.

Once upon a time, I had a Memaw, and she taught me things that are becoming lost.  I am pleased to share these things with you who were (and especially those who were not) as fortunate. ❤







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