I love making biscuits on weekend mornings. This recipe is very fast, almost fool-proof, and nothing beats freshly baked biscuits (especially if you make some sausage gravy to go along with them).
I am not sure if I have talked about Alton Brown on here, but let me just say that he is my culinary idol. Watching his show, Good Eats, was one of the biggest influences that got me into food. I don't think that I have a very refined palate myself, and Alton showed me that you don't need one to do amazing things in the kitchen. His methodical approach and focus on methods really resonated with my logical mind. Therefore, if I am making something I don't have experience with, my first step will be to check whether he has a recipe for it. That is how I came across his recipe for buttermilk biscuits and now, I've essentially memorized the recipe because I make it so often.
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp shortening
1 cup cold buttermilk
8 oz breakfast sausage
4 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
garlic powder to taste
onion powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
The first thing you want to do is cup up the butter and shortening into small pieces. I like to cut it and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes before using it. The biggest trick to this biscuit recipe is making sure everything stays as cold as possible because you don't want the butter to melt while you are making the dough.
While this is chilling, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Then, you want to use a fork to combine the butter with the flour. You goal is to break to butter into small pieces that are coated in the flour mixture. You want it to start looking a little like sand granules. The pictures above aren't great (shouldn't use white bowls to mix white ingredients), but you can kind of see what you are going for.
Next, you want to make a well in the middle and add the chilled buttermilk. Use the fork to mix the buttermilk until it is barely combined. The mix isn't going to look anything like dough at this point; it is going to be incredibly sticky and kind of a mess. Don't worry, this is what you want.
Lay out the doughy mess onto a really well floured surface. Use a rolling pin covered with flour to roll out the dough. Then, fold the dough over on itself and flatten again. You want to repeat this 5 or 6 times. This folding and flattening will create the beautiful layers in your biscuits and make them rise nicely. After you are done rolling it out, use a round cutter to cut out your biscuits (push straight down so that you get clean cuts). Lay them in a buttered and floured baking sheet and bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes (mine is always closer to 15) or until they are golden brown.
The gravy is also incredibly easy. Break down and cook the sausage until it is completely browned and has released a lot of fat. Then, add the flour and cook down the flour with the sausage. Essentially, you are making a rue with the sausage. Once the rue is cooked down and starts browning a little, add the milk and whisk until combined. Finally, season with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper.