This made-from-scratch drop biscuits recipe is so quick and easy you may never buy frozen or canned biscuits again (yes, you will — but not as often).
The most expensive thing in this simple, six-ingredient biscuit recipe is a stick of butter. Butter seems to be keeping pace nicely with the price of gold, but you can also substitute cheap margarine if you don’t mind the crappy taste and fact it’ll kill you. Margarine doesn’t brown as nicely, though, and the biscuits won’t be as flaky or rise as much as they do when you use butter.
Usually, making biscuits from scratch is a huge pain in the ass because you need to cut shortening into the flour using a pastry knife, which is some sort of kitchen implement only old ladies have and nobody really knows how to use. It also doesn’t even look like a knife because I looked one up on Amazon as part of the in-depth research conducted for this article.
You see, the little bits of shortening create little pockets of steam inside the biscuits as they bake and it’s that steam escaping which causes the biscuits to rise. We’re avoiding that hassle, though, by using a clever little milk-and-butter trick from Dennis Weaver over at The Prepared Pantry.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (Gold Medal is what I used)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (Clover Valley at the moment)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (also Clover Valley at the moment)
- 3/4 tsp. salt (it’s salt)
- 1 cup cold milk (I used Horizon organic fat-free)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (I usually use the Kroger brand)
First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and dig a cookie sheet out of a cabinet somewhere. I don’t bother using parchment paper or greasing it because I use a well-seasoned (i.e. usually dirty) non-stick cookie sheet that probably causes cancer, but if you’re one of those nutty hardcore bakers who’s into doing extra work feel free to knock yourself out.
In a medium to large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. You can whisk everything together or just mix it around with a fork or whatever else is clean and handy, whichever option floats your boat. The objective here is you want all the dry ingredients combined into a pretty much homogeneous mixture (like they would be in a prepackaged biscuit mix).
Put the stick of butter (or margarine, if you don’t listen) into a small bowl or glass measuring cup and throw it in the microwave until it’s melted. This takes a minute or so for me because I do it on high (I do everything on high), but your mileage may vary. (Explaining how to use a microwave is beyond the scope of this article; if you need help in that department, try contacting your local community college or just email Martha Stewart.)
Slowly pour the cold milk into the melted butter and stir with a fork until the butter solidifies into little curds and the mixture looks like a nasty curdled mess. If you used margarine, it probably won’t curdle and it’ll just look like a nasty gooey mess.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients to hold the funky-looking bovine solution and dump it in there. Stir until it’s well-mixed and the dough seems sufficiently dough-like.
Scoop the batter from the bowl onto a cookie sheet, leaving just enough distance between the biscuits for expansion. The mounds should be about 1 1/2-inchs high.
Bake just until the tops of the biscuits are golden brown, 20-30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and temove the biscuits to racks to cool if desired and serve while still hot.