Genuine Southern Biscuits Print Email

Lard is available at most grocery stores and can be replaced by vegetable shortening if necessary, but the biscuits will lose some of their magic.

6 oz. cake flour blended with 6 oz all purpose flour (about 2 2/3 cups)
more flour for dusting
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
3 oz. (about 1/3 cup plus 4 tsp) chilled fresh lard, cut into 1-inch chunks
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

Put the oven rack in center position and heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Sift the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt into a large bowl. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the lard until it is evenly mixed with the flour and there are no large clumps. Working swiftly, use a rubber spatula to fold in 3/4 cup buttermilk in three parts until it's just blended into the dry ingredients; add up to 1/4 cup more buttermilk if needed. Take care not to overmix!

Lightly dust the work surface with flour and scoop the dough onto the counter with the spatula. Dust your fingers with flour. Using your fingertips only, lightly work the dough just until it holds together.
Roll the dough out about 1/2-inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to punch out 12 two-inch biscuits. After cutting the first dozen, quickly stack up scrap pieces, roll the dough out and cut more biscuits. This second string of biscuits won't rise as high but are still quite good.

Put the biscuits close to each other (but not touching) on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until the tops are light golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. -Adapted from Fine Cooking