- 2C flour
- 1C milk
- 6T shortening
- 1T (heaping) baking powder
- 1T (heaping) sugar
- 1t salt
- pinch of baking soda
- Preheat oven to 325F
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl with a fork
- Combine the shortening and the dry ingredients with a fork until you’ve got smallish crumbs
- Add the milk and mix with a spoon until it is as consistently mixed in as it will get. It will still be mostly dry and won’t hold together. We’re talking about a dozen stir/folds, it doesn’t take long.
- Flour a flat surface and put the biscuit dough on it.
- Flour your hands and form the dough into a loose mound, then flatten it out until it is about an 8x10 rectangle and half an inch thick.
- Use a butter knife (ok), pie server (better), or bench scraper (best) to fold the dough into thirds like you would fold a letter to mail.
- Rotate 90 degrees so the long side is perpendicular to you and flatten again.
- Repeat steps 7 & 8 once or twice more. If the dough begins to feel at all tough, stop.
- Flatten the dough into a rectangle a 1/2 inch thick, cut, and put onto a baking sheet.
- Bake at 325F for 15 minutes, then turn the heat up to 450F.
- When the oven reaches 450F, turn it back down to 350F and keep an eye on the biscuits until they are as golden brown as you’d like them to be.
The Long-Ass Story Legally Required To Accompany A Recipe Weblog Post
The goal of this process is to make tasty biscuits in a short amount of time, with as little fuss as possible. The goal with this recipe was not to make the best biscuits ever, or to flex at culinary talent; but, to put it another way, to make biscuits from scratch that are as good as, if not better than, the stuff you get from a Pillsbury can.
This recipe will get fresh, tasty biscuits into your belly in less than an hour.
If you’ve got the time and money, feel free to freeze your butter and grate it with a cheese grater, buy high protein flour, a fancy rolling pin, bench scraper, pastry cutter, biscuit cutters, flour sifters, and measure your dough exactly, refrigerate it overnight, and never actually get your hands dirty while making biscuits. You do you, and have fun with it. I don’t think folks in the South making biscuits had most of those things (especially refrigeration) and they made biscuits just fine.
You can make this recipe with nothing more than a fork, a knife, and a bowl.
That said, I have found a bench scraper, pastry cutter, and biscuit cutter do save a lot of time. Remember, fresh, tasty biscuits into your belly in less than an hour.
I tried the America’s Test Kitchen biscuit recipe, which was mostly nonsense except for the folding method. There are a couple of other tricks if you’re aiming for perfect biscuits (Iike trimming the edges so they fluff evenly), but the only technique worth remembering is the fold. The recipe I settled on is adapted from J.P.‘s Big Daddy Biscuits.
Riffing on the Recipe
Use butter, use shortening, use whole milk, buttermilk, or soy milk with a shot of apple cider vinegar (if you want to make these vegan). It doesn’t matter. Chilling the ingredients doesn’t matter. You can cut these biscuits square or round, but at least use the leftover dough so there’s no waste. Even if the frankenbiscuit doesn’t look pretty, it tastes great, and you need to eat one of them right out of the oven anyway or are you even human? Use less or more fat to get the taste right, spread a little butter on the middle layer of your folding and you’ll get a clean place to cut your biscuits when they’re done. Tweak the baking powder/baking soda levels and experiment with the fluffiness. Have fun.
The thing to remember is that many recipes warn you about working the dough too much. This is true, but this is only true in the kneading/folding phase, and you can tell as soon as it starts to toughen up. Once that happens you’ve already worked it too much, but with practice you’ll find the sweet spot. Even slightly over-worked biscuits are still great, they just aren’t as fluffy.
Pics or GTFO
Biscuits photos are mostly chronological. Now the last photo is what my biscuits look like most of the time, from scratch into my belly within an hour.
The more I learn about the rise of and wrangling among the various near-Eastern mystery cults of thousands of years ago (and to be clear, Christianity is the cult that won out) the more parallels I see with contemporary cults of personality, especially with social media influencers. Pythagoras had a golden thigh, Apollonius of Tyana levitated, Simon Magus had all manner of signs and portents associated with him; Jesus could multiply food, et al.
They’re essentially brands competing for followers based on who has the best super powers. I’m starting to get kind of worn down learning about all of this, because the more I read and listen, the more clear how the foundational elements of this behavior have driven the development of western civilization, to the detriment, destruction, and iconoclasm of ancient European cultures. The popularity of these cults took hold in Greece, and when the Roman Imperium converted, Christianity (despite brutal internecine conflict) had the resources and power to turn cunning and blade to assimilate or crush their competition.
We are still obsessed with super powers, and powers greater than ourselves answering our calls for help. A cult of personality requires its followers to depend on the leader for guidance, rationalization, salvation. I’ve been trying to leave that sort of dependence behind me.
I need to focus my research on what remnants have survived from the oral traditions that Christian missionaries have done their best to eradicate. If I decolonize myself without some sort of anchor in a culture that is appropriate to me, all that would remain would be hollow.
I don’t think you can make a self without a sense of past, and I don’t think, no matter how secular or empirical you are, that you can engage fully as a human without accepting an ethos that at some level is religious.
I found a dirty brass case with glyphic/Latinate inscriptions on it that was being used as a door stop & determined it contained a daemon of some sort. Considered opening it or keeping it but ultimately just wedged it back under the door.
Somehow ended up sorting through recipe books with a cool witch & her friend. We decided to watch a movie & after I sprawled on the floor the cool witch did the same. I bashfully awakened from this one with alacrity.
In both of these cases, my apologies if I blundered into someone else’s dream.
I’ve been ruminating on place and space and time. It’s been 15 years since I last wrote about not feeling like I have a heritage to claim. Often, as a cis-het white guy, it feels like my heritage is constitutive solely of colonialism and patriarchy. After centuries of that amalgamation, I find little wonder in the difficulty of an authentic (as seen by others) practice. I have no idea exactly what kind of mutt I am.
I’m certainly more aware of and try to be more delicate when I might be engaging in an appropriative or co-optive activity, but at the same time, trying to gain knowledge or practice based upon my cultural or ethnic background seems arbitrary. I’ve been connected to the beech-maple forest of the Ohio and Cuyahoga watersheds my whole life. If the land still remembers, I feel like I should engage with it in the languages it recognizes. For me, practicing Celtic shamanism, Nordic paganism, Wicca, witchcraft, feels like only a marginally less colonial practice than Christianity.
At the same time, living a secular life without ritual, or with empty ritual, is unsatisfactory. The celebration of Thanksgiving suffers from dumb colonial mythos, but that doesn’t mean we should take it behind the shed and put a bullet into it. Forget the myth, but retain the giving of thanks. Gratitude and gentleness. The way is a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
I wrote in a poem a long time ago, I’m still “learning to ask the ground/with each fresh step/how best to walk upon it.”