20 April 2009

Paula Deen's Buttermilk Biscuits

There is nothing healthy about this biscuit, but there is no better biscuit recipe on the planet. I write that with a heavy heart because growing up my Georgia born and raised Southern grandmother lived with us and she made buttermilk biscuits every single day. And they were so good. I could cry just thinking about them. But, no matter how many times I made them with her or how many times she walked me through the process, I cannot make her recipe work for me. I don't know what it is! She just had the touch. It breaks my heart that she is not around to make them for us any more. She just used flour, baking powder, Crisco, and buttermilk and they would rise and be absolutely beautiful. When I make them they come out like pancakes. (She would cut them open while they were hot and add extra-sharp cheddar cheese slices. Mmmmmmmm.)

Paula Deen's recipe calls for yeast and the biscuits puff up and are just as tender and moist as they can be. I do, however, add one step that my grandmother never forgot and that takes these biscuits over the top. But first, the ingredients:
1 package yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup Crisco
2 cups buttermilk

Mix the 1/2 cup of water to the yeast and add just a pinch of sugar, which feeds the yeast (or as Tinker Bell says, "the little burpy guys"). Set aside. Meanwhile, pour your two cups of buttermilk into a bowl to let it lose some of its refrigerated cool.

Use a pastry cutter (or two knives) to cut the shortening into the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt. It will start out like this:

And end up looking like this:

When your yeast has proofed (about 5 minutes), add it to the buttermilk and stir.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just barely combined. The longer you mix it the tougher your biscuit will be. You want tender, soft biscuits, so barely mix! Then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll to your desired thickness. I like them big and fluffy, so I don't pat it out too much and am only able to cut about 7 biscuits before having to reroll. If you flatten the dough you will have flat biscuits. Then you'll think I was lying to you about how much these biscuits puff. :) I use a large cup, not a biscuit cutter.

Place your biscuits (about 12 with leftover dough) onto a greased cookie sheet. Now here is my grandmother's secret touch...rub each biscuit top with buttermilk. Instead of a flat, dull biscuit top you will have a glossy, slightly crisp top.

Paula suggests baking them at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, but my biscuits always require about 15-16 minutes. Aren't they pretty?!!

Serve them with cheddar cheese slices, butter, jam, honey, gravy, or (our family favorite) bacon, egg, and cheese.


Jaime said...

those are some nice flaky looking biscuits!

Anonymous said...

Hi.... thank you SO MUCH for doing this recipe for me. I miss my grandma so much, and she had the BEST biscuits also... im new to baking and am enjoying every minute of it. A BIG challenge for me was to make biscuits, ive never done them before and to be honest ive never used ANYTHING that used yeast. Ive been looking online for a great, southern biscuit recipe for the past couple of days, and i FINALLY found the perfect one. I am going to try these, and have allready save this page to my ''favorites'' so i wont loose the recipe. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the great, great pictures. Im so excited to do this recipe..... it has everything in it that my grandma would have OK'D...... SHORTNING, BUTTERMILK, YEAST, ETC....everything bad but ohhhhh so good. thank you so much again, lee journell. chapel hill, nc. PS....im a DUDE!!!

Sunshine Mom said...

you are so welcome! there's something about grandmas and biscuits, isn't there? i miss my grandma, too. sure hope you like the biscuits! let me know how they turn out for you

Anonymous said...

Hi Again.... you wanted to know how i did, and im going to be COMPETELY HONEST HERE no matter now embarassing....OK?... IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN WORSE!!!! but my grandma loved me, and im sure that somewhere she is laughing her butt off......OK.... SO....i halved the recipe. i dont think that is a problem, but i forgot to half the buttermilk so the whole thing was very very sticky and wet. I didnt realize this until way too late.... the yeast was not a problem but one quick question... when it had 'proofed' there were still clumps left- should i put them into the biscuits too or just drain the liquid??.... ALSO...you didnt put a temperature to cook them, so im guessing 350. All told, i think it was a valiant first effort and i will keep you in touch because i will master this recipe!!!! thanks so much. lee.

Anonymous said...

but honestly, biscuits this good shouldnt come too easy yknow... its a art. :)

Sunshine Mom said...

oh, I'm sorry sorry they didn't work for you! The first time I made them I had trouble, too and I think it's because I also halved the recipe. :) So don't worry! I edited the recipe to show that you bake them at 400 (sorry!!) and posted a link to Paula's recipe at Food Network. You don't drain the yeast proof. Try sprinkling the yeast over the top of the water and leave it alone. You could always squish the lumps a bit with your fingers before it proofs, but definitely add it all. Hope this helps! Remember, practice makes perfect and there is definitely an art to making biscuits. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

HI its Lee again. this will be the last time i swear. just wanted to let you know that i made another batch today before work and wanted to let you know the results....and this time i took my time and really concentrated. they are DIVINE!!!! heaven on earth. the yeast was fun to work with, and im getting the mixing part down. of course, i need to practice the mixing (slowly....)and this time rolled them out too thin.... BUT... these are little things that i will improve with over time and learn to make them 'my own'...thank you so much for your help and i will never ever stop making these......

Sunshine Mom said...

Yay, Lee! I'm so glad you had success and I really appreciate you keeping me updated. So glad you liked them!! :)

Anonymous said...

hi its Lee again. sorry to bother you once more, but i thought you'd like to know how im doing.... its Sunday, and today was the first time i made the entire batch. i took my time, followed the instructions carefully, cut them out super big, cooked them and watched them very very closely. and i made NO MISTAKES. this was my 6th try at them and i feel very very comfortable now. Just to let you know.... they turned out INCREDIBLE!!!! so good and so beautiful. now that ive done it, im ALOT more comfortable with them and not intimidated at all any more. I cannot thank you enough, again, for your help and the fantastic pictures!!! both were invaluable to me. as i previously said, i will make these for the rest of my life........
thank you for taking time out to help a new guy learning how to bake......
i followed the recipe EXACTLY as stated, except i added a little pepper......
the buttermilk on top was a great touch, and im SURE that my grandma would be very very proud of me.
love, lee j:)

Rachelthefantastic said...

Hey! I've been searching for a good biscuit recipe forEVER and this one is perfect and makes sense and is easy to follow, thank you!

Last time i tried to make biscuits was on easter using a Martha Stewart recipe and for the first time in a long time, what I baked came out HORRIBLE

It just tasted like flour! ICK

I'm definitely going to try these and hopefully they will be better! : )

Leslie said...

Hello, It's such a funny thing about grandma's biscuts! In our family we called her Nannie and it appears she and your grandma used similar recipes. I remember just flour, buttermilk and Crisco. I made them hundreds of times with her and now that she’s gone I cannot replicate her recipe. Thus I am searching for something new.

I will try this for sure. Thank you. Even if the recipe doesn't work out it's nice to read about your (and the others) love of Grandma :)

Rose Haven said...


I was doing a post on Paula Deen's Yeast Biscuits today - and found your blog post about them. I put a LINK to your post in my post...so perhaps you'll get some "visitors"!!

All of my biscuits disappeared, before I even had a chance to get a photo of them. We had guests for Breakfast and they devoured the biscuits!

And...I love all the photos in your post...and I'm sure my viewers will too.