As a Southerner, I know a thing or two about biscuits. Biscuit-making is some serious business around these parts and each one of us has our own unique style of rolling them out. My grandmother’s signature move was to pat the tops with a little extra flour, pressing ever so slightly to barely compress them before they went into a hot oven. And my momma’s biscuits – oh, how I always marveled at how quickly and smoothly she shaped hers in her skilled, cupped hands (those are her beautiful hands on this month’s home page in Prep School) – because as you may or may not know, you can’t make good biscuits with a heavy hand. But if you’re not from the South or you don’t consider yourself the world’s best biscuit maker, well, this is the recipe for you. Angel Biscuits, a.k.a. Bride’s Biscuits, came with the reassurance that they’re so easy to prepare that “even a new bride can make them!” And, it’s true. A cross between a biscuit and a yeast roll (crunchy! flaky! buttery!), this wickedly delicious recipe is virtually foolproof. Bonus! The dough chills in the refrigerator overnight – so this is make-ahead magic for easy entertaining. That’s my idea of heaven!
The Stock Pot: Sensational Sides – Angel Biscuits
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- one (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar, plus ¼ cup
- 5 cups self-rising flour
- ¾ cup vegetable shortening
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
- all-purpose flour, for shaping and rolling
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing the tops
- Place the water in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the yeast and stir in 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand until frothy, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup sugar with the flour. Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening and butter into the flour until the mixture is the size of peas. Add the yeast mixture and buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together. Sprinkle over a tablespoon or two of all-purpose flour over the dough and gently knead until the dough is soft (add more flour as necessary). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. With floured hands, pinch off a small amount of dough and lightly roll into a smooth 2-inch ball; place on the prepared baking sheets. Cover the biscuits loosely with buttered (or use cooking spray) plastic and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 2 hours or more.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the biscuits with some melted butter and bake until the biscuits are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen:
Planning: Remember, the dough has to chill in the refrigerator overnight, so plan accordingly. You can even make the dough up to 2 days in advance before baking.
Product Purity: Part of the success of good biscuits is using soft, Southern flour. White Lily is my choice. I use organic, non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, available at whole foods markets.
Presentation: Growing up, as soon as the biscuits came out of the oven, we’d wrap them in a pretty kitchen towel to keep them warm as they were passed around the table. I love that part.