These are the same biscuits we make for the biscuit sandwiches served at Serious Biscuit, downstairs from our pizza joint, Serious Pie Westlake, but at Serious Biscuit, we cut the dough into bigger squares, about 3 1/2 inches, bake them, split them in half, and fill them with everything from fennel sausage with fried egg, melted fontina, and spicy-sweet pepper relish to crispy fried chicken with fried egg and savory black pepper gravy. If you want to make your own biscuit sandwiches, just cut the squares a little bigger than directed in this recipe, bake them, split them in half and fill them. This smaller, 2 1/2-inch biscuit is perfect for breakfast or brunch.
When getting started on the recipe, dice the cold butter first and keep it chilled in the refrigerator while you assemble the rest of the ingredients. Also, be sure your buttermilk is very cold. An inexpensive pastry blender, a tool consisting of several thick parallel wires attached on both ends to a wooden or metal handle, is a nice, old-fashioned, low-tech device for cutting butter into flour by hand. A metal bench scraper or bench knife is useful for cutting the dough into squares. Rolling biscuit dough into a rectangle and cutting the biscuits into squares is more efficient than cutting out round biscuits, and there are no scraps to reroll, though if you prefer you could certainly cut these biscuits into 2 1/2-inch rounds. These southern-style biscuits have plenty of salt. Kosher salt is coarser than table salt. If you are substituting table salt, be sure to cut the quantity of salt at least in half.
Special Equipment: Pastry Blender (optional), Metal bench knife (optional)
5 1/2 cups (1 pound 14 ounces/865 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks/12 ounces/340 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice, plus a few tablespoons melted butter for brushing
3 cups (1 pound 9 ounces/708 grams) cold buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 475°F.
2. In a large bowl, using a whisk, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cold butter to the bowl and, using a pastry blender, 2 forks, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of peas. Add the cold buttermilk and use a rubber spatula or both hands to mix the dough until everything is just combined. Do not overmix.
3. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 4 or 5 times, just until you have a smooth surface area on top. Use your hands to shape the dough into a rough rectangle, then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a rectangle 3/4 inch thick. Use a knife or metal bench knife to cut the rectangle into 2 1/2-inch squares. You should get about 20 biscuits.
4. Place the biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about an inch apart. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.
5. Put the biscuits in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Serve the biscuits warm.
From The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook by Tom Douglas, William Morrow Cookbooks, 2012.
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