Biscuits are like almost-instant bread; you can decide that you want biscuits for dinner (or breakfast or lunch) and have them hot and in the bread basket in under 30 minutes. Baking time is usually 15 minutes or less, depending on the size of the biscuits and the oven temperature, and you don’t need to let your biscuits cool completely before you can eat them –warm biscuits slathered with butter or jam are delicious.
Biscuits are also pretty basic when it comes to the necessary equipment; they can be mixed by hand in a large bowl with a wooden spoon and can be cut with anything from a cutter, to a juice glass. Round biscuits are pretty standard, but you can also make them square by cutting them with a chef’s knife or give them a wavy edge by using fluted cutters.You can buy a biscuit cutter set if you’d (they’re incredibly versatile and can be used to cut virtually any type of dough) but, in a pinch, just flip a glass over and use the rim to cut round biscuits.
Once you’ve made biscuits a few times and understand the basic method, you can have them mixed, cut, and on a baking sheet in just a few minutes. There are a number of different ways to make biscuits but learning to make flaky, folded, Southern-style biscuits is a good place to start.
Combine the Dry Ingredients
It’s really important that the dry ingredients are well-blended or you’ll end up with pockets of salt or baking powder and the biscuits won’t rise properly. A whisk does a great job of mixing and incorporating. It only takes a few seconds so don’t skip this step.
Add the Fat
Once the flour is whisked, the fat is added. Some biscuits use all butter, others use all shortening or lard, and others use a combination. You can blend with a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers. Just be sure to work quickly so the fat doesn’t melt, incorporating it into the flour until only pea-sized pieces remain.