Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

I’ve been running around like a cat on a hot tin roof and just haven’t had time to sit down to give you this recipe. Even if you are a Yankee, or not even from the United States, you too can make Southern Buttermilk Biscuits as good as or even better than a real-life Southern grandma. My family is from the South. My family lineage goes back to Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas. It was my great-grandparents who relocated to Florida. Southern buttermilk biscuits are a staple of the Southern diet. I grew up eating buttermilk biscuits. My grandmother never measured anything. I remember watching her make biscuits. She didn’t make hers with butter, like I do. She used Crisco. I shutter to think of all the hydrogenated fat I ate growing up in the form of biscuits.

Twenty years ago, more or less, I decided I needed to learn how to make a decent buttermilk biscuit. First, I bought a good 10-inch iron skillet. All respectable Southern cooks have at least one of these. I opted for buying the less expensive unseasoned iron skillets and seasoned it myself. Hopefully you have an iron skillet. If not, go get one, now. I mean it. If you need to season it, click here for a great way to do it. I’m in the process of re-seasoning mine, because my husband isn’t from these parts, and he ruined my finish on them. Let’s just say that this isn’t a fun process, so you should make sure you know how to care of your well-seasoned cast iron pans, and never let anyone clean them who doesn’t know what they are doing. You have been warned.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. These biscuits are so good that they will make you want to slap yo mama. Don’t ask me what that means. Southerners have a lot of expressions that just don’t make any sense. I will try to explain it like this. My grandmother has been ticked off about the fact that everyone else in the family thinks I make better biscuits than her for years. We went to visit her this past Mother’s Day, and I made this recipe of biscuits. She finally let it go and admitted that my biscuits are good. That’s actually a huge compliment coming from her. I’ll take it.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups (12.75 oz. or 361 grams) of All-Purpose Flour (In the South, it is traditional to use White Lily brand, but it’s not organic, nor is it available everywhere. Whatever brand of organic AP flour you have will be fine.)
  • 4 oz. (113 grams) very cold organic butter cut into 8 to 12 pieces (I used salted butter, but if you have unsalted, that works.)
  • 1 Tablespoon of non-GMO baking powder (I use Rumford brand)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 Cup (8 oz. or 237 ml) organic, grass-fed buttermilk (I used Natural by Nature brand)
  • extra buttermilk for brushing

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (260 C). Make sure there is a rack in the center of the oven.

In a large ceramic or glass bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cut up pieces of butter and rub it into the flour with your fingers. I wear latex gloves when I do this, because I can’t stand the texture or having this stuff under my fingernails. Do this until all of the butter is rubbed into the flour and the flour resembles course meal. At this point, put the bowl into the freezer.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda and pink salt

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

This is what the flour looks like after rubbing in all of the butter.

Grease your 10-inch cast iron skillet with organic extra-virgin coconut oil.

After the flour has been in the freezer for about 10 minutes, take it out. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk in the well of the flour mixture.

Stir with a large-sized dinner fork just until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated. The key is to do this with the least amount of stirring possible. The more you stir, the tougher your biscuits will turn out. You want tender biscuits, not tough ones.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

All stirred up.

At this point, you have a couple of options. The way I think they turn out best is to pat and cut them. If you choose this option, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it to the thickness you want. Use a round cutter, sharp knife or floured drinking glass turned upside-down to cut out the biscuits.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Dough lighted patted out on a floured surface ready to cut.

Place each biscuit barely touching the next around the perimeter of the skillet, making concentric circles as you go, until you have the pan full. You will have a very full pan, but you should be able to fit all of the dough into the pan. Make as many biscuits as possible, cutting as close as possible to the edges. Pull the remaining dough together gently, working it as little as possible. Cut again. If there is any remaining dough, form it into a biscuit. The biscuit in the center of picture below is not cut, but just formed from the scraps.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

All cut biscuits in the skillet. These are really thick, very large biscuits.

The other option is to use a 1/4 cup scoop and scoop the dough and roll into balls in your hand and then place them in the skillet. If you are going to do this, after you are finished stirring, leave the dough to rest for a couple of minutes. This cuts down on the dough sticking to your hands. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see a pan of baked biscuits using this method. Whichever option you choose, once you are finished and have all the biscuits in the skillet, brush them lightly with buttermilk.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Lightly brushing biscuits with buttermilk. This is a regular paint brush from the hardware department.

Put the skillet on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the pan, and continue to bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. They are ready when they are a light to dark golden brown, depending on your preference. Invert the pan onto a kitchen towel, releasing the biscuits. Put the towel holding the biscuits into whatever serving device you are going to use and serve with softened organic butter, homemade jam, bacon and sharp cheddar cheese… the options are only limited by your imagination.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Golden Brown Southern Buttermilk Biscuits fresh from the oven.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Biscuit open and waiting for butter.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Half buttered biscuit and half with butter and homemade peach preserves.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

This is a pan of biscuits done by scooping and hand rolling. As you see, it makes a lot of smaller biscuits.

Oatmeal Two Ways

I kept up on the sugar-free, dairy-free, grain-free diet for exactly two full months. It felt more like two full years. Last Sunday at my two daughters’ birthday party, I decided I would eat whatever I wanted, mainly because I was making a cake that is the best cake ever. Long story short, I didn’t eat that much that day, but I felt a satisfaction that I hadn’t felt for two months. At the end of the day, I said to my husband, “I feel great!” So that was the end of that. Though I am still going to do my best to keep my sugar consumption to a minimum.

Sometime within the last year, my doctor warned me that I was headed down the road toward type-2 diabetes. This is one of my nightmares. I love baking and I love sweets. It’s just part of who I am. Instead of giving up the baking of sweet things that I love, I decided to cut out sugar in other areas of my life. I no longer sweeten my coffee. I didn’t think I would ever be able to drink coffee without sugar, but I have gotten used to it. Along the same line, I also quit eating sweet oatmeal. You might not think that either of these sacrifices really constitutes as a sacrifice, but I used to put two tablespoons of sugar per cup of coffee. And I would drink two cups of coffee each morning. That is 1/4 cup less sugar every morning. I also used to sweeten my oatmeal with 1/4 cup of sugar. That’s a lot of sugar!!

My grandfather had type-2 diabetes for the last decades of his life. Every morning he would eat oatmeal with butter and salt and pepper on it. I always thought that his oatmeal must be disgusting. When I decided to cut the sugar from my oatmeal, I decided to try a little different take on his oatmeal. Have you ever read the directions on a box or can of oatmeal? It says to cook the oatmeal in water with a little salt. Who eats their oatmeal that way? From what I read on the steel-cut oats can, this must be a traditional Scottish way to eat oatmeal. I’m not there yet and I’m not interested in ever getting to that point. I hope my Scottish blood line will forgive me.

You have heard it at one point or another that breakfast is the most important part of the day. I completely agree, but you need to make good choices to fuel your body for the day ahead. This first recipe for oatmeal is hearty and satisfying and will keep you from getting hungry for quite a while. Pair it with some protein, like a handful of almonds or a scrambled egg, and you’ll keep yourself fueled and keep hunger at bay for several hours.

Buttery Oatmeal

My younger daughter, very excited to have buttery oatmeal, that she requested, for breakfast! She won’t eat the sweet oatmeal.

Oatmeal Two Ways — First Buttery Oatmeal, then Sugar and Spice Oatmeal:

Buttery Oatmeal

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup organic whole rolled oats
  • 1 Tablespoon organic butter

Bring water, milk and salt almost to a boil over high heat in a large, heavy saucepan. Add oats, reduce heat to low and stir. Cook oats until they are almost to the consistency that you like them, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on what temperature your stove thinks is low. Stir occasionally during cooking. Remember that oats will thicken as they cool, so you don’t want to cook them until they are at the consistency that you like, otherwise, they will be too thick once they are cool enough to eat. Put your oats into a bowl and add butter. Stir and enjoy. You can always add a little more milk, cream or half and half to your oats to thin and cool them. This recipe makes one to two servings, depending on how much oatmeal you like to eat at breakfast.

For extra protein, nutrition and flavor, you can add chopped nuts, chia, hemp or flax seeds to your cooked oatmeal.

Now, for those of you who have children that I cook for on a regular basis, you might want the recipe for the oatmeal that I make for your kids. This is also the way that I used to eat my oatmeal, and the way that my older daughter prefers it. She has gotten used to the buttery oatmeal though. This recipe should make enough for two to three kids, or one to two adults.

Sugar & Spice Oatmeal

  • 2 cups organic whole milk
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon organic clove (optional, I don’t always have it, so I don’t always use it)
  • 1 cup organic whole rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Bring milk, sugar and spices almost to a boil over high heat in a large, heavy saucepan. Add oats, reduce heat to low and stir. Cook oats until they are almost to the consistency that you like them, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally during cooking. Follow what I said about oat consistency in the above recipe. When oats are ready, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve and enjoy. As with the previous recipe, you may add more milk, cream or half and half to thin and cool your oats. Just remember, if you eat your oats this way, don’t do it everyday. Otherwise, you may have your doctor giving you a diabetes warning. This should be considered a special treat, comfort food kind of breakfast.

Try them both and leave a comment below letting me know which one you like better and why.

 

organic pizza dough

Organic Pizza Dough Recipe

For many years I have known that the key to fantastic pizza is the crust. The crust is the base for everything that gets added on. You must always start with a good base. Everyone has his or her preferred toppings, but the base or crust remains the same.

I have tried different recipes for different pizza crusts over the years. It was always a frustrating and disappointing experience. Within the last year, I read the book American Pie by Peter Reinhart, which is a book about the authors search for the best pizza. He traveled the United States and Italy eating all different kinds of pizza. Reinhart shares the story of his travels in the first half of the book and then shares recipes in the second half. After reading the stories, I decided to try his recipe for Napoletana pizza dough. The first time, I made the recipe exactly the way the recipe is written. It turned out well, even if the pizza crusts weren’t exactly round or even in thickness. I’m not a professional pizzaioli. I decided to tweak the recipe to make the dough a little easier to work with, healthier and a bit more tasty.

So here’s what I did. By using a mixture of organic all purpose flour and organic whole wheat flour, I made the dough stronger, so that it doesn’t tear so easily, more healthy and tasty. I also added more salt that Reinhart called for. I use sea salt instead of kosher or iodized salt. If you don’t like as much salt or are on a low-sodium diet, you can cut the salt in my recipe by half. Now, here’s how you make it.

As you may know from reading earlier posts, I like to weigh my ingredients. Having exact measurements, especially when dealing with breads and bakery products, is extremely important if you want it to turn out the same each time. Even then, temperature and humidity differences can change your end result as well, but we don’t necessarily have control over those factors. Therefore, it is important to control the factors that you can. With that said, I am going to give you the recipe with the flour and water by weight. If you want to convert it to cups, one cup of all-purpose flour weighs 4.25 ounces and one cup of whole wheat flour weighs 4 ounces.

First, combine 15 ounces of room temperature water with 1 teaspoon of instant yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let this sit while you do the next step. Combine 12 and a half ounces of organic all-purpose flour, 10 ounces of organic whole wheat flour and 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Mix these together with your mixer’s dough hook. Add this flour mixture to your water/yeast mixture. Mix with the dough hook on medium speed of your electric mixer for 4 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix at medium/low speed for 2 additional minutes.

organic pizza dough

 

When you have finished mixing the dough, you will want to turn the dough out onto a floured surface, working the dough into a smooth ball.

organic pizza dough

Oil a large ceramic or stainless steel bowl with your favorite oil (olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc.). Put your dough ball into this oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm area where it will not be disturbed for an hour and a half.

organic pizza dough

 

After the hour and a half has passed, put your pizza dough bowl into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Then, take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator at least two hours before you are ready to make your pizza. You have to get the dough back to room temperature before you will be able to work with it. During all of this time in and out of the refrigerator, the yeast will be working its magic on the dough. If you would like to know more about how yeast works on dough, Peter Reinhart has another book at explains it called, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

Once your dough has reached room temperature and you are ready to make your pizzas, put a pizza stone into your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If you don’t have a pizza stone, don’t worry about it. You can still make pizza without it. I bake my pizza on the middle oven rack with a pizza stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you might want to move your oven rack down a bit lower. Experiment with it to see which level turns out the best pizza.

Generously flour your work surface where you will be shaping the pizza dough. Remove your dough from the bowl as gently as possible and place it on your floured work surface. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough into four or six equal pieces. For me, since my pizza dough stretching skills are limited, six dough balls makes six personal sized pizzas, four makes normal small sized pizzas. If you are going for making those 18-inch pizzas, the you might want to just cut the dough in half. Form the cut pieces into smooth dough balls.

organic pizza dough

Take one of your dough balls and start stretching it evenly to form a circle. After a few, I decided that if I roll it with a rolling pin a bit, then work it with my knuckles from the edges, it turns out better. I even tried doing the pizza toss thing, and the dough held up fine. Just be sure you don’t drop it on the floor. My advice is to shape the dough however it is the easiest and least frustrating for you. As you can see, my first one didn’t turn out as a perfect circle.

organic pizza dough

 

Once you have your dough formed, you have a choice. If you have a pizza peel and know how to use it. Then proceed with preparing that and all your toppings. I don’t have a pizza peel. I have a pizza pan that has holes in it, so it still works on the pizza stone. If you have a pizza pan, then move your dough to the pan so that you can start putting on your toppings. Red sauce is not my favorite, so it is rarely on my pizza. Instead, I brush the dough with organic extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle garlic granules and a little bit of sea salt over the whole thing and then proceed with the rest of my toppings. Pesto is another one of my favorites to use as a base sauce. You know what your favorites are, so do it the way you like it.

organic pizza dough

 

On this pizza, I went very basic and just used pesto, mushrooms and shredded mozzarella cheese. If only I had some sun-dried tomatoes!

organic pizza dough

 

Bake your pizza in the oven, depending on the size of your pizza and the amount of toppings, anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through for even baking. If you made your pizza crust extra thick, you may need to bake it longer. Or bake a shorter time if you made your crust really thin. Keep an eye on it. Pull it out when you think it looks like the perfect pizza to you. I like my cheese a bit on the well done side, so my finished pizza might not appeal to you, if you like yours cooked for less time. It’s all about customizing it to your own taste. That’s why you are making it at home. So you can get exactly what you want!

organic pizza dough

 

Organic Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 12 1/2 oz. organic all-purpose flour
  • 10 oz. organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. instant yeast
  • 15 ounces water, room temperature

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine water and yeast. In a large bowl, combine flours and salt. Mix flours and salt together well. Add the flour mixture to the yeast and water mixture. Using the dough hook, mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Mix again on medium-low speed for 2 additional minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and work the dough into a smooth ball. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl turning to coat the dough on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, undisturbed area for 1 1/2 hours.

Move bowl of dough to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Remove dough from refrigerator at least 2 hours before you are ready to make pizza, to bring dough to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut dough into 4 or 6 equal pieces. Form your pizza crusts. Top with your favorite toppings. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of your pizza and your own preferences. Remove from oven. Let cool 5 minutes. Cut and enjoy!