Maybe We Shouldn't Love People With Food...yeah...whatever...
Mama Bess' Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits
(Preserved with love and wonderful memories by Squirrely Girl, aka “that baby”)
The stuff you will need to make ‘em:
1. An iron skillet is the best thing for making biscuits; if you don’t have one…then stop reading this right now and go out and get you one. Until then you can use one of those new fangled 13 x 9 baking pan contraptions.
2. A can of Crisco or lard-depending on what decade you are living in. (directions to follow on how to use the Crisco or lard.)
3. About 6 cups of self-rising flour (Don’t go cheap on this. Get you some good old Martha White, Gold Metal or White Lilly flour. Cheap flour makes cheap heavy biscuits and it may say “pre-sifted” but they are probably lying. You should still sift it again if you want a nice light and fluffy biscuit. So get yourself a flour sifter, they are fun and the kids love siftin’ flour).
4. Some buttermilk-- I will get as exact with that measurement as I can later, so just get you a gallon so you know you will have enough. And please for the love of all that is good and right in this world, don’t get ‘fat free’ or ‘reduced fat buttermilk’. If you are making biscuits, a diet should be the last thing on your mind. Biscuits are for making memories and sopping up gravy, not for making you slim and trim.
*Extra Mama Bess hint: If you do not have buttermilk you can use heavy cream mixed with a little water (gooooood) or if you just have milk, add some sour cream for a really flaky biscuit.
So there you have it. Everything you need to make a perfect biscuit. Skillet, grease, flour and liquid, that is it! Now we will patty cake patty cake, baker's man, roll 'em up, roll 'em up....put it all together and throw it in the pan.
This is how you make ‘em:
Sift your flour in a nice big bowl, make a hole that looks like a little crater in the middle of the flour with your fist, (or fork if you don’t like to get your hands dirty…scratch that…if you don’t like to get your hands dirty…you can’t make a good biscuit). But you can use a fork for this part .You will put in about 1 cup of the Crisco/lard right smack dab in the middle of the hole then add about…well…1 ½ cup of the buttermilk to begin with (*Mama Bess favorite saying, “You can always add more but you can’t take it away!” Start mixing with your hands or your fork until it has the consistency of ..well..not too sticky but not too dry. You may have to add a little more buttermilk to get it into a nice soft ball of dough. If you think you have added too much, if it is really sticky..add some more flour.
( Listen --this is an art form, you may not get it right the very first time. You will start getting a feel for when the dough is right…it is part of the fun. So--have fun with it. If you mess up just roll it all out, cut it into strips and throw it in some boiled chicken broth and you have dumplings, the next best thing to biscuits.)
This is when you put that fork down, roll up your sleeves and get your hands into it. Just add a little flour and roll that dough around until you get a nice little ball, not too much, the more you fool with the dough the tougher your biscuits will be. Once you get it into that perfect cloud of dough, you can roll it out and cut them out (if you want those perfect little sissy city biscuits) or you can make a ‘real’ biscuit by pinching off about a golf ball (for normal) or baseball (for cat’s head) size of dough in your hand, roll it round ‘till it feels just right and place it in your greased pan, then pat it lightly with love and just a tad bit of vegetable oil and put ‘em in an already heated up (fancy folks call that 'pre-heated') hot oven around 450 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven. When they look like they are getting a little brown around the edges (and this is important) you open the oven, pat them lightly again with some more love to make sure they are rising just right--then you turn the oven on broil and DO NOT leave that stove for any reason whatsoever—(I mean even if your youngest child ‘that baby’ has her finger caught in the “ringer” of the old washing machine and crying bloody murder) you stay right there until they are the perfect shade of 'done'.
Then you will take them out, put butter on top to make ‘em purty, then serve ‘em up hot with jelly or syrup or mater gravy and look at the faces of your family. You have just made yourself “ indispensable”!
Much love and happy biscuit makin' ~ Squirrely Girl