Easy Baking Powder Biscuits

We are bread people. Bread, biscuits, muffins. Family dinner is always better with a warm, fragrant basket of fresh baked goodness to pass around. 

My Grandmother Barbara thought so too. Her recipe collection is filled with breads, muffins, biscuits…even a doughnut recipe that makes 6 dozen donuts. I admit I haven’t tried that one yet, but someone please let me know if you have an event you need doughnuts for!!

So when I was thinking of something to go with my Beef Tips Two Ways dinner a couple of weeks ago, I reached into gram’s recipes and came up with her Baking Powder Biscuit recipe and decided to give it a try.

Here is her original baking powder biscuit recipe:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder  
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. Spry, blended into above
  • 1 – 1 ¼ c. milk

Mix quickly and roll fast. Do not handle too much. Bake in a hot oven and leave rack in bottom of oven so not to have a hard crust.


Since it was my first time making this particular recipe, I followed the recipe as closely as I could. Since Spry is no longer available, I substituted Crisco. I also no longer have a sifter, so I used a fine mesh strainer to sift the dry ingredients. 

As I’ve mentioned before, Grandma Barbara cooked on a wood burning stove, hence the “Bake in hot oven and leave rack in bottom” note on the recipe card. These are things that I needed to translate for my modern oven.  “hot oven” typically means 400°F – 450°F, so I cooked these biscuits at 425°F and made sure my rack was in the center of my oven so the tops and/or bottoms of my biscuits wouldn’t get too hard.

The result of this bake was…”Meh”. The bake seemed fine and the consistency was ok, but they tasted a bit salty, and definitely needed a bit of sugar to even it out. We all agreed that they were ok with butter and jelly, but without any toppings we wouldn’t be snacking on pieces of them in the kitchen any time soon. Sorry Gram!

So I tinkered a bit. I used cold butter instead of Crisco. Honestly, I don’t cook with shortening much and I think butter just tastes better. And I added 2 tbsp. of sugar.  

I did not sift the dry ingredients this time. I whisked them together in my mixing bowl. I then added cold butter that I had cut into small pieces, cutting it in with a pastry blender. You could also use two butter knives to do this. 

Add the milk and then mix it quickly, just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Handling the dough too much will make it tough. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. You don’t want to add too much flour to the dough, but you also don’t want it to stick. Pat the dough into an oval that is about ¾” high. You could use a rolling pin for this, but I find that it is really not necessary. 

Use a biscuit/cookie cutter or a glass to cut out your biscuits. I have this great set of 3 cutters that I love, but I’ve also used a juice glass to cut dough. Anything round will do. When you cut, you want to go straight down and back up. Don’t twist the cutter, as this will seal off the edges and they won’t rise as high. 

This version of the biscuits was a hit. They were tender, buttery and had a nice rich balanced flavor. I can always tell if something is a hit if my daughter Taylor snacks on it while I’m cooking dinner, and these were definitely snackable!!  

 Here is my revised recipe:


Easy Baking Powder Biscuits

Prep Time: 5 min.     Cook Time: 15 min.     Total Time: 20 min.
Makes 10-12 biscuits, depending on size of biscuit cutter.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. flour 
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces.
  • 1 c. milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Cut butter into flour mixture with 2 knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles course crumbs. 
  4. Add milk and mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix. 
  5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll or pat dough to ¾” thick round.  
  6. Cut with a biscuit cutter making sure you press straight down and up. Do not twist cutter.
  7. Gather remaining scraps and pat into a ¾” round and cut remaining biscuits.
  8. Place biscuits on the prepared sheet, spacing 1” apart.
  9. Baking in center of preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Serve immediately or cool and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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