Making biscuits from scratch is not as difficult as many people may think. The trick to homemade biscuits is to not over knead the dough. If you knead the dough too much the flour produces more gluten making the biscuits tough instead of fluffy.
You also want to use fresh ingredients. Flour that has been sitting on your shelf for two years is not likely to produce a biscuit savory to the taste buds. Same idea holds true for the other ingredients listed. The fresher the ingredients the better the taste.
Basic Homemade Biscuits
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup lard (or shortening)
1 1/4 cups milk (you can also use buttermilk or sweet milk)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Sifting is important, it helps loosen up the flour so the lard and milk mix into the flour quicker with less kneading. Cut in lard with a pastry blender or a couple knives.
Once you cut in the shortening or butter into your flour mix, stir in milk only until distributed. The dough should be sticky. You want your dough to be as moist as possible, yet able to retain its shape.
Dump your biscuit dough onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the sides of the dough gently towards the center of the dough. Flour the surface again and flip the dough. Fold one more time, very gently. Then flip the dough and press out with your finger to the desired thickness and cut out rounds.
If dough if is too sticky to roll out, you can pinch off individual pieces of dough and shape each piece with floured hands.
For crusty biscuits, place biscuits on a greased baking sheet 1" apart. For softer biscuits, place biscuits in a large casserole dish with the sides touching. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Brush tops with butter for a brown finish, if desired.
This biscuits are great served plain, with butter or used as the base for the classic southern breakfast of biscuits & gravy. You can try my recipe for biscuits and gravy by clicking here.