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I'll up the ante: I bake my buscuits at 475 degrees F.  :smile: Very fluffy and light.

Hmmm... I seem to remember that Aunt Minnie used a very hot oven. I have no idea what the actual temperature was. Maybe it has something to do with a "popover effect".

Well, I think the "popover effect" has to do with eggs, which biscuits do not contain. But it's an old Southern thing, to bake your biscuits in a hot, hot oven. You get real rise from the steam in the biscuits.

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(sniffs, chokes back a sob) My mom only ever made Bisquik drop biscuits.

I don't know that I've ever had a real, Southern biscuit. :sad:

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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(sniffs, chokes back a sob) My mom only ever made Bisquik drop biscuits.

I don't know that I've ever had a real, Southern biscuit.  :sad:

Don't feel bad. My mom never made ANY biscuit. But I found salvation as an adult. :smile:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think I posted it once before, but I'll post it again:

Find White Lily self-rising flour.

Follow directions on back of bag, substituting buttermilk for whole milk. Use either Crisco or a combination of Crisco and butter. 100% butter is hard to work. I've never tried lard, as it would cause my vegetarian wife to fly into convulsive fits with tasty biscuits she couldn't eat.

Perfect biscuits. I really have never tasted any better. I make them all the time and I'm a klutz baker.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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The August 2004 issue of Cook's Illustrated contains a recipe for Mile High Biscuits. In a word--sensational!

I have made them several times now, and after years of making dry, non-descript biscuits, I now make fluffy, soft, yummy ones. Followed their recipe exactly.

The ingredients include all purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, butter and buttermilk.

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  • 7 months later...

*bump again*

I am hankerin' for some good biscuits. I have a question for the Southeners. Must I use White Lily, Martha White or Red Band flour? Does anyone have experience using national brands and getting a good result? My mother made fantastic biscuits (she's from Alabama.) Although she had plenty of kitchen tools she only used four: A knife, a colander, a mill and a biscuit cutter. I know she used Gold Medal here in New York, but I don't bake as well as she does, and suspect she adjusted ingredients, technique, etc. to accomplish biscuits that friends still mention to me 30 years later. And I know she used lard early on and Crisco later. My brother and I have never been able to get the recipe from her...I'm sure you've all known someone who says..."about a cup of this, a pinch of that..."

If I must I will order White Lily from their site, unless someone here in New York knows where I can get it nearby.

Edited by emmapeel (log)

Emma Peel

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My mom made sure I could make a good biscuit long before I was attempting cakes or souffles.

White Lily is certainly available in New York. I know Citarella and Dean and Deluca carry it, and I am sure many other groceries depending on where you live. Williams Sonoma also carries it.

However, I have made decent biscuits using King Arthur's all purpose flour and with cake flour, though White Lily is preferred. And you don't need fancy tools either. The key is technique: you want to make sure you handle the dough as little as possible. I use half crisco and half butter.

I mainly do this by feel, but here is my general recipe:

2 cups flour

pinch salt

3 tsp baking powder (omit is using self-rising flour)

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tbl cold butter

3 tbl lard/shortening

2/3 to 3/4 cup buttermilk

Sift together dry ingredients. Using two knives, cut in the chilled butter and lard. Stir in the buttermilk in a few swift strokes, so the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead about 7 times. You want to get some good folds in to make layers in your biscuits but you don't want to overwork the dough.

Pat or roll the dough out. Cut biscuits using biscuit cutter. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 mins.

If you use White Lily flour you can make the recipe as listed (omitting the baking powder). If you use an all purpose flour you may need more buttermilk to make the dough the proper consistency. Hope this helps!

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My mom made sure I could make a good biscuit long before I was attempting cakes or souffles.

3 tsp baking powder (omit is using self-rising flour)

1/2 tsp baking soda

That's right! She did use baking power and soda. So she couldn't have been using self-rising flour. Great! This is very helpful. (The secret unfolds...)

Emma Peel

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Just to clarify, the baking powder is included in case White Lily wasn't available (which was preferred). My grandmother and mom always called these "baking powder biscuits." Slightly different, but still good!

Please let us know how it turns out.

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I know I'm coming in late on this topic...

but when I came back to NY after working in DC my first job was Exec Pastry Chef for a huge seafood restaurant called Lundy's (in Brooklyn, it was for the grand re-opening) we made an enormous amount of biscuits (approx 4000 bite size on sat and sun as we did nearly 1500 pp on a sunday)

When I started the Chef was making some bastard biscuit with yeast in it that was proofing out of control. I quickly changed that to a baking powder biscuit, but the one requirement was the use of white liliy flour and only white lily, it seemed to be a finer milled flour and made a light fluffy biscuit. The only problem we ran into was if we refrigerated the prepared bicuits they would not rise as much as ones baked right away, but if you need a very large volume recipe I will gladly post it

"Chocolate has no calories....

Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence

SWEET KARMA DESSERTS

www.sweetkarmadesserts.com

550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554

516-794-4478

Brian Fishman

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  • 1 month later...

Miss Shirley Corriher's biscuits are the lightest, tenderest imaginable. She adheres to the teachings of whoever taught her (Mom, aunt, family cook, etc.---can't remember) and always uses a little extra liquid, with no real kneading or folding.

In her words, she was taught that you use a hot oven (450 and +) and make the dough a "wet mess" which almost precludes rolling. She reaches into the mass of dough and pinches off a handful, then pat/rolls the shapes in her floured palm.

My hubby's former MIL still makes an absolute tie for BEST biscuits...same roll and pat, and the secret is a tiny "poomph' with the knuckles of first and second fingers, right on the top. No better anywhere than those two wonderful Southern cooks.

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*bump again*

I am hankerin' for some good biscuits.  I have a question for the Southeners.  Must I use White Lily, Martha White or Red Band flour?  Does anyone have experience using national brands and getting a good result?  My mother made fantastic biscuits (she's from Alabama.) Although she had plenty of kitchen tools she only used four: A knife, a colander, a mill and a biscuit cutter.  I know she used Gold Medal here in New York, but I don't bake as well as she does, and suspect she adjusted ingredients, technique, etc. to accomplish biscuits that friends still mention to me 30 years later.  And I know she used lard early on and Crisco later.  My brother and I have never been able to get the recipe from her...I'm sure you've all known someone who says..."about a cup of this, a pinch of that..."

If I must I will order White Lily from their site, unless someone here in New York knows where I can get it nearby.

The preference for those particular flours is because they are milled from soft southern wheat. Most other AP flours are milled from hard northern wheat--the hard and soft refer to the gluten quantity in the grains. Soft wheat produces light soft flour with very little gluten--bad for yeast breads but perfect for biscuits and other baking powder/soda leavened baked goods.

I got my sister to bring me back to CT some Lily White and Martha White(10 lbs each)when she drove down to Mississippi recently--now I can make some real biscuits!

My Mississippi grandma (ever'body called her "Mama") used to keep a big bag of self-rising flour in a pull-out bin next to the stove where she'd open it up, drop in some lard or crisco or whatever she had handy, mix it in with her fingers until 'jes right" then pour in some buttermilk and mix it again with her hands until it suddenly became a mass of dough which she lifted out onto an old wooden board at counter level, patted it, folded it a little and cut out biscuits that she placed close together in a big old dark metal cake pan. Then she put them into a hot oven and pulled out fabulous perfect biscuits every time.

She did this everyday for a million years, rising at 4 am to start cooking a massive breakfast for her husband and eight kids, then for the few that still came over for breakfast in her later years, and my family when we managed to get there to Mississippi on the rare and wonderful vacation--she was 98 when she passed, but I got to watch her make these biscuits as well as cook a whole mess of other wonderful comfort foods that I can duplicate today. Someday I might even write them all down--but I'd rather teach my grandaughter how to do it on her own!

It's not the destination, but the journey!
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I realize that this may be repetitive - but what I find critical is to have the butter very cold, not to overwork the dough, let the dough rest, and have the oven at 425 for the first 2 min.

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  • 2 years later...

I have white lilly pastry flour. I'm thinking that is the same thing as White Lily self rising flour with out the baking powder.

Does anyone know?

My biscuits are also spreading out. I'm thinking either they are a little too we and not getting a clean cut with the biscuit cutter (I'm dipping the cutter in flour before each biscuit cut). Or maybe the butter has softened too much?

Thanks.

-z

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I have white lilly pastry flour.  I'm thinking that is the same thing as White Lily self rising flour with out the baking powder.

Does anyone know?

My biscuits are also spreading out.  I'm thinking either they are a little too we and not getting a clean cut with the biscuit cutter (I'm dipping the cutter in flour before each biscuit cut).  Or maybe the butter has softened too much?

Thanks.

-z

oven temp is important (hot enough?), but also with biscuits, you can put them on the pan closer together so that they support each other when they rise. not so close that you have one huge biscuit...about 1/2" to 1" apart

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