“Granny’s” Buttermilk Biscuits

 

Light, fluffy, flaky...granny biscuit heaven...

I have had a near 35 year obsession with “Granny’s” biscuits.  Not my granny’s biscuits, since my grandmother never cooked, at least not in my presence.  If you’re from The South, you know what I’m talkin’ about…”granny” always makes the very best biscuits!  And I was determined to learn how “she” did it!

 

The first granny who inspired me to conquer ‘the granny biscuit’ belonged to a friend of mine (although she readily adopted me, because of my interest in her food) in high school.  I’ll call her Granny A.  Granny A lived in a quite modern house, but she insisted on having a wood-fired stove/oven to cook on even though a modern electric model stood unused in her kitchen.  It was from the depths of that monster of steel and cast-iron, that she stoked each morning with dried oak planks, that emerged my first taste of biscuit perfection.

Granny A had a wooden biscuit bowl and she would scoop and pour straight into that bowl, without the benefit of measuring cup or spoon, the ingredients for her biscuits.  It is with hindsight that I am able to know that Granny A really WAS measuring, she just did it her way…the way Rachel Ray speaks of it, way before Rachel Ray…she “eyeballed” the ingredients.

She’d turn the dough with her hands a few times, pat it out onto a floured surface, then cut her biscuits.  She called ’em cat heads, because they were the size of a cat’s head; she served them piping hot with butter and honey or molasses, or drown in sawmill gravy. They were heavenly!

Later in life, right here in Townsend, there was another Granny who made biscuit perfection.  She cooked in a local restaurant, years and years ago; she made cat head biscuits too.  Mr. Saucy and I would eat at her restaurant for breakfast back when we were dating and I told her how much I wanted to learn how she made her biscuits.  She’d smile at me, knowingly, and say she’d teach me…some day.

Well, Granny got sick and was gone from the restaurant.  We, Mr. Saucy and me, we knew immediately that Granny wasn’t makin’ the biscuits when we ate there during her illness.  The biscuits had lost the magic touch.  Eventually, Granny returned, but her biscuits weren’t the same.  So, I (being either rude or curious, as you wish) asked her about it one day.

“Granny,” I said, “Your biscuits just aren’t the same.  Are you sure you’re feelin’ better?” Instead of being insulted, she was thrilled that someone would notice and was more than happy to point out the problem to me, “You see,” she stated, smiling knowingly, “since I was gone, they don’t want me usin’ lard no more, so they won’t buy it, now I’m back. Can’t make decent biscuits without my lard.  Nope. Just not the same.”

Ahh ha! Lard!

So now, years later and many other “granny” cooks since, all of whom I have pumped for information on biscuit makin’…I have finally gotten it.  I tried them out on some friends who get together each year on New Year’s weekend, but I choked.  The pressure was great and I wasn’t happy with them.  Since then, I’ve been makin’ biscuits like crazy, thinkin’ that practice much surely make perfect.

I’m not sayin’ my biscuits are perfect, by any stretch.  But, I’d sure be proud to have any granny taste ’em…and hopefully smile knowingly that another generation has learned the secret of the granny biscuit.

P~

ps: Thanks to Mr. Saucy, for takin’ the pictures while my hands were gopped up with biscuit dough.

3.5 from 2 reviews
"Granny's" Buttermilk Biscuits
 
"Granny" biscuits...the kind of biscuit that would make you want to smack your lips and beg for more...
Author:
Recipe type: Biscuits
Ingredients
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup lard (you could use vegetable shortening, but they won't be the same)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • About ¼ cup self-rising flour, for dusting.
Instructions
  1. Place the flour on a flat surface.
  2. Cut the lard into the flour with a fork or a pastry cutter until the pieces of lard are about the size of a large pea.
  3. Make a well with the flour.
  4. Pour half the buttermilk into the flour mixture and cut it into the flour, not over-mixing.*
  5. Add a little bit more buttermilk, until the dough is sticky.**
  6. Sprinkle some flour around the dough blob and roll it over into the floured surface.
  7. Flour the top of the dough, cut it into four pieces and stack them on top of each other.
  8. Softly pat the dough out into a rectangle or circle that is a little over an inch thick.***
  9. Dip your biscuit cutter in some flour and cut the biscuits.
  10. Place them on a parchment (or foil) lined baking pan, just touching each other.****
  11. Let 'em sit for about 15 minutes...they'll get a little springy to a light touch.
  12. Bake in a 450 degree oven until golden brown.
  13. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.
Notes
*Over working biscuit dough is the kiss of death for it. **You may not use the entire cup. ***Don't roll them with a rolling-pin! This is considered overworking the dough. ****Lining your baking sheet with parchment or foil will keep the bottoms from over browning.

 

The assembled ingredients...

Cut in the lard...

The cut pieces need to be about half this size...

Make a well in the flour mixture...

Pour in about half the buttermilk...

Add more buttermilk until the dough is sticky...like this...

Sprinkle the top with flour and cut into four pieces...

Stack the pieces on top of each other, just patting down...

Cut the biscuits with a sharp cutter...some grannys hand form theirs...

Place them on a parchment lined sheet, just touching...let 'em sit for about 15 minutes...

Bake until golden brown...

Brush with butter...

Split and drown in sawmill gravy...

 

 

About P ~ The Saucy Southerner

I started cooking when I was ten years old. For me, the process of cooking, from inception of a dish, to the execution, to the washing of the pots is sheer delight. I am now retired from a business I still own, in partnership with my husband. I used to work six days a week and still cook every night. Now, I'm gardening, still cooking, always having fun and hoping to share my joy with you. Thank you for reading...and commenting! P~
This entry was posted in Baking, Breads, Brunch, Southern. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “Granny’s” Buttermilk Biscuits

  1. Skipper bud says:

    I was so excited to see this recipe because they looked like what my Grandmother made and the technique looked similar to hers. The photo of the biscuits look amazing and even look like my Grandmothers (which were to die for)! BUT, unfortunately these didn’t turn out for me. The dough never made it into pea size, and it was down hill from there. Sorry. I’m thinking the amounts might be wrong between the lard and flour?

  2. T D says:

    Amazing! Simple! Truly a melt in your mouth southern biscuit!
    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thanks so much for letting me know, TD! They really are a true southern biscuit. P~

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