I enjoy eating flaky, tender biscuits every now and then. Biscuits are the quintessential Southern breakfast food and surely are found on every restaurant menu here in the South. Thanks to fast food chains, such as McDonaId’s, biscuits are now well-known across the country. To satisfy my biscuit craving, it is easy just to hop in my car and drive to a McDonald’s restaurant for a biscuit and egg sandwich. However, I have been perfecting my “chef’s skills” for making my very easy homemade biscuit recipe and can now make a batch as quickly as I can drive several miles and wait in the drive-thru line to pick up my breakfast order. Hot out of the oven, I love to pour honey and cinnamon sugar on my homemade biscuits for breakfast, or really, any time of the day.
Three Ingredient Recipe
My recipe is extremely easy and quick to make. And the best part is that it only uses three ingredients — self-rising flour, shortening and milk. Self-rising flour is my “new best friend.” I always come out with biscuits which are light and fluffy — no heavy “bricks” — which can be a problem if you are using old baking powder and baking soda. Plus, self-rising flour doesn’t give a “bitter” aftertaste to the biscuits like some brands of baking powder.
My recipe is a large one — it makes 12 biscuits which are about 3″ in diameter, and they are nice and tall. (If you are going to this much effort, why not make a large batch!)
Although butter is sometimes used to make biscuits, my recipe calls for old-fashioned Crisco shortening which makes the best, flaky biscuits. Plus, Crisco, unlike butter, has a neutral flavor. Yes, I use Crisco. According to Wikipedia, Crisco no longer has trans-fatty acids which are harmful for heart health. It uses a blend of soybean oil, fully hydrogenated palm oil and palm oil. Still, palm oil is a saturated fat — not the best. Unfortunately, you can’t make biscuits with vegetable oil. So the trade-off is a solid shortening or no light and airy biscuits. I have made this recipe using butter many times — the biscuits come out well, too — but the best ones are made with Crisco..
Tips for making biscuits
A great biscuit should be light and fluffy. The baked biscuit should peel off in layers due the pieces of shortening which are rolled into the flour. To make great biscuits, handle the dough as little as possible. Cut the shortening into pieces which are like very small peas — only two or three pulses in a food processor. I use my food processor to mix up these biscuits — although you can also make biscuits by hand. Avoid excessive kneading, handling or rolling the dough.
The dough should be soft, but not sticky. My recipe is based on the Crisco shortening. If substituting butter, you may need more liquid (milk). If using buttermilk, reduce the flour to 2-1/2 cups.
Here are several other helpful tips
I use an empty 3″ can for a biscuit cutter. Dip the rim of the can into flour so it won’t stick. Make a straight cut into the dough — don’t twist the cutter. You don’t want to seal the edges of the raw biscuit. It needs to be able to “rise” in the hot oven.
I roll the biscuit dough into a 9″ x 9″ square and cut out 9 biscuits. Then I gather up the scraps (and mix as little as possible) to make 3 more biscuits. Place the biscuits “upside down” on the baking sheet. Why? I don’t know but it really makes a difference.
Here’s another tip. Prior to baking the biscuits, I place the cut biscuits on a plate and freeze them for 15 minutes Why? It works. The biscuits rise much higher when first “frozen.”
Bake the biscuits in a hot, hot oven set at 450 degrees. Bake on a shiny or dull (not dark) ungreased sheet pan on the middle or upper oven rack. My biscuits come out perfectly when baked for 9 minutes. (The range is 8 to 10 minutes.)
Here are my biscuits. Simply, good Southern homemade biscuits.
Biscuits are best when served hot — right out of the oven — with jelly, or in my case, honey and cinnamon.
Yes, there is no longer any need to get in my car and race to a fast food restaurant for breakfast. These biscuits freeze well. Since I made a large batch — I just take one or two biscuits out of the freezer and re-heat quickly in the microwave oven for the same hot, fresh biscuit and breakfast “in a hurry.”
Southern Homemade Biscuits
- 3 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup Crisco plain baking shortening
- 1-1/4 cup cold milk (plus up to 2 Tbsp more, if needed)
- Plain all-purpose flour for flouring pastry board.
Instructions and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place self-rising flour in large food processor bowl.
- Cut Crisco baking shortening into chucnks and add to self-rising flour. Pulse several times to cut in the shortening into the texture of very small peas. Do not cut shortening in too finely.
- With the food processor running, add the cold milk down the shute. Mix until the dough begins to form into a ball and no longer clings to the side of the food processor bowl. Do not over process. If needed, add up to 2 Tbsp additional milk.
- Place dough on well-floured pastry board, Knead two times so dough comes together in a ball.
- Use a rolling pin to gently dough into a 9″ x 9″ square. Again, do not roll excessively
- Flour a 3″ biscuit cutter (I used a can). Cut biscuits using a straight downward cut — do not turn or twist the biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits upside down on freezer-proof plate..
- Place in freezer and freeze raw biscuits for 15 minutes.
- Remove from freezer, transfer to large, shiny or dull-surfaced baking sheet (do not use dark baking sheet). Bake at 450 degrees on center rack of oven for 9 minutes until bottom of biscuit is golden brown. (Set your cell phone timer.) The bottom of my biscuits burnt at 10 minutes, but ovens differ., so you my need 10 minutes to bake the biscuits
- Remove from oven, serve hot.
- May freeze leftover biscuits. Re-heat frozen biscuits in microwave for about 20 to 30 seconds before serving.
NOTE: For buttermilk biscuits, reduce flour to 2-1/2 cups.