Biscuits. A family favorite in my house, and in most other households, if I had to guess. Every holiday in my family includes biscuits; always has and always will. But not all biscuits are created equal. Homemade biscuits are not only simple to make, but include very few ingredients. All of which you probably have stocked in the kitchen already. On the other hand, the store-bought, pre-made brand biscuits that come out of a tube often include transfats, preservatives, and other unnatural additives. I guess using the store bought brand shaves off a few minutes, but for me, it’s not nearly enough of a time saver to convince me to use them. So homemade biscuits is it. Fresh, hot, buttery biscuits, ready to be drizzled with honey and jam, stuffed with eggs and cheese, or smothered with rich gravy. Take your pick.
I decided to experiment with biscuits for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s almost thanksgiving and then Christmas, and I’m really trying to perfect my holiday lineup, making my favorites both vegetarian-friendly and wholesome (even if still indulgent). Secondly, it’s a step toward my goal of becoming a solid baker. And thirdly, because I’ve been craving biscuits and gravy, and a homemade biscuit recipe is essential to this, obviously.
So I spent the past few days playing around with homemade biscuits. I first tried using coconut oil instead of butter because I like using coconut oil in my chocolate chip cookies. It was good, but I like butter better for a classic biscuit recipe like this one. So the second batch used butter. With the second batch I also decided to cut the biscuits into squares instead of using a biscuit cutter for circular biscuits. That’s really a preference thing. For me, squares were easier and there were fewer scraps to deal with. Attempt #2 ended up a total success, and I’m confident that what I have here is the perfect recipe for buttery, moist, and fluffy biscuits. No frills. Nothing fancy. Just good ole basic biscuits.
One more thing before we get to the good stuff (aka the recipe). The lemon juice. Lemon juice in a biscuit recipe may be a surprising addition, but it’s actually mixed with the milk to create a buttermilk substitute. Go ahead and use buttermilk instead of the milk/lemon combo if so desired. The only reason I don’t use buttermilk is because I find that I waste the leftover buttermilk, where as I use milk and lemon almost everyday. Ok, I think I covered everything. Now without further ado, I introduce my recipe for delicious and easy basic biscuits. Eat up! After all, it’s the holidays.
Simple Homemade Biscuits
Servings: 8-10* Start to Finish: 30 min
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt, I used fine-grain Kosher Salt
1/3 cup cold Butter, cut into 5 pieces (plus 1 tbs melted)
1/3 cup whole milk (plus up to 1/3 cup more)
1.5 teaspoon fresh Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Honey
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine 2/3 cup milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add cold butter pieces to flour mixture. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, cut into the butter and flour until butter breaks apart into small pebbles (the largest being pea-sized).
Whisk honey into milk mixture. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add milk and lemon juice mixture to well. Slowly stir in the edges of the well until a sticky dough forms. If not all flour combines, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all flour is able to be incorporated in the sticky dough. I added an additional 3 tablespoons of milk this time.
Set dough ball onto a floured surface and sprinkle with a bit more flour. Roll out into a thin sheet. Fold the two ends over on top of each other, like a letter folded into a envelope. Roll out again and repeat. Do not over-handle the dough, the heat from your hands will melt the butter if handled too much.
Roll dough out onto surface, making a square or rectangle shape, about an inch thick. You should be able to get 8-10 biscuits out of the square depending on how big they are. Using a sharp knife, cut into individual square biscuits and place on parchment lined baking sheet. You could also use a biscuit cutter to get circles but I like how quick the squares are to make. Combine the scraps and re-roll to get more biscuits.
Brush tops of biscuits with additional melted butter (no more than 1 tablespoon is needed for the whole batch). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. 10 biscuits took about 18 minutes for me.
*the number of biscuits you get is really up to you. If you want huge biscuits, you may only get about 6. I like to portion control a bit. I find that shooting for 9 biscuits is reasonable.