Baking Powder Biscuits

Being a southern boy, when making biscuits it is self-rising flour that I  generally use and White Lily Flour is my go-to brand. I’ve even been known to pack 5 or 10 lbs of it in my checked luggage when flying home from Florida. Not everyone travels to Florida though or keeps self-rising flour on hand. I came up with the recipe below that uses all-purpose flour to which is added salt, baking powder, and optionaal baking soda.

Self-rising flour already has the salt and baking powder added. Also, White Lily has only about 9 percent gluten (with other brands having between 11 – 12 percent) because it is milled using 100% soft winter wheat. Less gluten makes for a more tender biscuit. If you happen to have self-rising flour, skip the baking powder, salt, and baking soda and proceed with the recipe below using the same amount of flour.

The baking soda is optional because I’m using buttermilk. It’s a whole chemistry thing between the baking soda as the leavener and the acid in the buttermilk. Whether using self-rising or all-purpose flour, the method for making these biscuits is the same and both are delicious.

3 1/4 cups (14 oz / 400 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda (add if using buttermilk)
½ cup (4 oz / 115 g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 or so pieces
1 – 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425° F or 400° F. Grease 9 – or 10-inch cast iron skillet.

In a large bowl sift together 3 cups flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Scatter the butter pieces over the sifted flour. Using two butter knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingertips incorporate the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are the size of peas.

Make a well in the flour and add about three-quarters of the milk.  Using a butter knife mix the flour and milk together, adding more milk until incorporated (note you may or may not use all the milk). Finish incorporaating the mixture with your hand. Move the dough to one side of the bowl and add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.

Divide dough into eighths or ninths. One at a time, toss each lump of dough in the remaining flour. With the palms of your hands roll dough into a ball and press into greased cast iron skillet.

Bake for 20 – 23 minutes or until golden brown and serve while piping hot right from the skillet.

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