Southerners know the comfort found in a warm, buttery, flaky pan of homemade Southern biscuits.
food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.
Quarantine days into nights hum right along to the catchy tune “Wishin’ and Hopin'” cause bakin’ and cookin’ and eatin’ and eatin’ is how I’m filling the stay-at-home times, days, afternoons, nights, plates, and stomachs of my fellow quarantine loved ones.
Baking is a time-honored tradition steeped in essentiality, creativity, comfort, and love.
Add to that recipes and wisdoms handed down through the years and practice makes perfect the dashes and splashes of spices and seasonings secrets handed down from generation to generation, and now we’re speaking truth to taste, y’all.
Hands down, the best Southern biscuits I ever tasted were those from Dave’s mother’s kitchen.
Her recipe included the biscuit basics:
The delicious was brought forth by how she made her biscuits, a skilled technique perfected from childhood.
Her mother died when she was eight years old, leaving the culinary duties to her and her four sisters. The girls baked sixty-nine biscuits a day- three each for her daddy and four brothers, two each for the four girls, three meals a day, seven days a week.
Believe me, she had her biscuit making routine down pat.
Dave and I have tried many times to perfect her biscuit recipe, but never have had success in replicating it.
Much to our delight, we have several respectable biscuit go-tos.
A local Chinese restaurant makes a fluffy flaky square-shaped mini biscuit that when paired with fresh honey is absolutely fantastic.
Kinda sorta like these.
Popeye’s biscuits (had these just today for breakfast) satisfy a Southern biscuit craving in true Louisiana c’est si bon fashion.
Cracker Barrel biscuits.
Oh yeah, we brake for biscuits.
All of the above biscuit options are distinctive and delectable in their own right, but are no match for the small bites of biscuit perfection set in the oven and upon the dining room tabletops of the Carriage House Restaurant located on the grounds of Stanton Hall in Natchez, Mississippi.
Photo courtesy of Brittany of Hello, Honey. Please do check out her blog post detailing a visit to Natchez and her very cool photos of Longwood and Arlington properties. Here’s the link- Natchez, Mississippi
When in Natchez, lunch at the Carriage House Restaurant is a biscuit must.
A menu mixing of popular Southern fare classics and new-traditional dishes appeal to palate and plate.
Fried chicken, rice and gravy, baby lima beans with ham, and fresh green beans please the patrons, but it’s the Carriage House biscuits that make a lasting impression.
Carriage House Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
5 Tablespoons vegetable shortening
¼ to 1 cup cold milk
Preheat oven to 400˚F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut the shortening in with 2 knives until the mixture resembles peas. Stir in the milk ¼ cup at a time until you have sticky dough.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead as little as possible. Roll lightly to a ¼ inch thickness. Cut biscuits with a small (2-inch diameter) biscuit cutter or a clean, small open tomato paste can.
Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick baking spray or grease lightly with shortening. Place the biscuits with edges not touching on the prepared pan. Brush tops with milk. Bake at 400˚F until biscuits are puffed and slightly golden. Remove immediately, split and butter while hot.
Chef Bingo Starr
Southern hospitality and butter biscuits are the calling card of Chef Regina Charboneau aka Queen of Biscuits.
Regina’s Butter Biscuits
4 cups flour
¼ cup baking powder (Regina suggests using Calumet baking powder.)
¼ cup sugar
¾ pound margarine, salted
¼ pound butter, salted
1¾ cups real buttermilk, not low fat
Put flour, baking powder and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Turn the machine on low and blend the dry ingredients for 15 seconds.
Add the butter, margarine and buttermilk to flour mixture before turning mixer back on. Turn mixer on medium and count to 10. This goes very quickly; the key is to not overmix the dough. There will be large chunks of margarine, the size of quarters, in the dough.
Scrape dough from the bowl onto a generously floured tea towel (or other floured work surface) and shape into a long, vertical rectangle about 2 inches thick. The dough will seem rough and messy. Using the edges of the towel, fold the lower part of the dough (about one third) toward the center, then fold the top portion down. With a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 2-inch thickness. Fold the two ends in again, lifting the edges of the towel to help move the dough. Give dough a one-quarter turn, and roll it out again to a 2-inch thickness. Continue folding, turning and rolling dough until it is smooth, with noticeable yellow ribbons of butter and margarine throughout.
Roll dough to a 1-½-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut dough into rounds. Punch cutter into dough cleanly, without twisting. When refolding and rerolling the dough, gently stack it to retain the layers. Do not overwork.
Place biscuits on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they are frozen, transfer biscuits to plastic bags. The unbaked biscuits can be frozen for 2 months.
To bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen biscuits in the cups of muffin tins, and let thaw in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Makes two dozen large or three dozen small biscuits.
No Places In The Home Southern fare blog post is complete without a biscuit recipe from Southern Living.
Angel biscuits made with butter and shortening- heavenly!
½ cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)
1 (¼-oz.) pkg. active dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)
1 teaspoon plus 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cold salted butter, cubed
½ cup cold shortening, cubed
2 cups whole buttermilk
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted and divided
Stir together warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes.
Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl; cut cold butter and cold shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender or 2 forks until crumbly. Add yeast mixture and buttermilk to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; chill at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 3 or 4 times. Gently roll into a 1⁄2-inch-thick circle, and fold in half; repeat. Gently roll to 1⁄2-inch thickness; cut with a 2-inch round cutter. Reroll remaining scraps, and cut with cutter. Place rounds with sides touching in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (If using a 12-inch skillet, place remaining biscuits in a 10-inch skillet or on a baking sheet.) Brush biscuits with 3 tablespoons of the melted butter.
Bake in preheated oven until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Brush with remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter, and serve.
Makes about 3½ dozen.
Served with butter, jelly, preserves, gravy, or ribbon cane syrup, a batch of homemade Southern biscuits may not be the healthiest part of a daily diet, but sure do body and soul good as a staple comfort food.