- 9.5 ounces or 2 cups + 2 tablespoons of soft wheat or pastry flour, or 2 cups of all-purpose flour* (see Notes for measuring tips)
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 4 ounces or 1 stick of unsalted butter, very cold
- ¾ cup of buttermilk, very cold
- Preheat the oven to 425° F. For lighter-in-color, softer biscuits set it to 400° F.
- Combine the dry ingredients and grate in the butter. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Roll the stick of butter in the flour mixture and grate it into the bowl with the large holes of a box grater. With your fingertips, gently toss it all together and rub any larger clumps of butter into the flour.
- Stir in the buttermilk and form the dough. Make a well in the middle of the bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Stir briefly with a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough just comes together. Flour a large surface and turn the loose dough out onto it.
- Laminate or fold the dough (optional). With your fingertips, press the dough into a rectangle that's 12" x 6" or about a half-inch thick. With a bench scraper or spatula, lift up the short end(s) of the rectangle to fold it in half or in thirds (like a letter). Then turn it 90°, and press the dough out again into a large rectangle. Repeat one or two more times. The more folds or "turns" you make the flakier the final biscuits.
- Shape. With your fingers and/or gently with a rolling pin, shape the dough into a rectangle that's one-half to one-inch thick. The thinner the dough, the more biscuits you will get (but the shorter they will be). Use your fingers or a bench scraper to push any crumbly dough into the edges. You can make the dough to this point, and freeze or refrigerate it up to overnight. Allow frozen dough 20 minutes to soften at room temperature before cutting.
- Cut the biscuits. Cut the dough into 2-to-3-inch circles, squares, or rectangles with a round cutter or knife coated excessively in flour. Dip and coat your cutting tool before every cut. Press any remaining dough together and repeat. If you cut the dough with a knife, trim away the rounded edges before cutting the biscuits to prevent lopsided rising.
- Bake until golden. Place the cut biscuits a half-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking pan or in a greased cast-iron skillet. Brush the tops with buttermilk or milk. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown on top.
- Storage and reheating. Store leftover biscuits in an airtight container at room temperature, or freeze. Reheat biscuits in a 350° F oven until warm (the microwave turns them chewy).
Measuring the Flour
Depending on what type of flour you're using, the volume measurement will differ. So I highly recommend weighing your flour. But for reference, all-purpose flour is heavier than soft wheat, so you will need two cups even for this recipe.
- On dough thickness. The thinner you press or roll the dough out, the more biscuits you will get from any one batch. I like taller, flakier biscuits, so I tend to press my dough closer to one-inch thick. For more biscuits, press the dough out to a half-inch thick.
- On choosing flour. For the most tender biscuits reach for a lower-in-gluten flour (gluten proteins are what create tension in any dough). A soft wheat flour like White Lily (a Southern favorite) contains around 9% gluten protein. Pastry flour hits the same mark with 8 to 9% on average (and is what I often use). Gold Medal all-purpose flour is 10.5 to 11% gluten and is widely available and affordable.
- On substituting buttermilk. If you find yourself in need of biscuits but dont' have buttermilk, you can replace it with cow's milk or your favorite plant-based alternative. If you do, skip adding the baking soda since the buttermilk is what activates it. Or you can add a spoonful of white vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- Serving Size: 1 Biscuit
- Calories: 235
- Sugar: 1.2 g
- Sodium: 185.8 mg
- Fat: 12.6 g
- Trans Fat:
- Carbohydrates: 27.3 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 4.1 g
- Cholesterol: 33.1 mg
Keywords: biscuits from scratch, buttermilk biscuits recipe, Southern biscuits