“What’s your favorite kind of bread to bake?”
It’s the default question that people ask whenever they find out about my bread obsession. It’s also impossible to answer. There’s a buttermilk white bread recipe I go back to again and again. I love making French bread and challah, and I’ve tried a Finnish sour rye recipe that was incredible. On the quick bread front, I’ve perfected popovers. But if I absolutely had to pick a favorite, if the only other alternative was certain death, I would have to go with baking powder biscuits.
Although I’ve never made a batch of biscuits that wasn’t gobbled up straight from the oven, I haven’t found the ideal recipe, either. I couldn’t tell you what, exactly, I was looking for, but there I knew that there was a ideal biscuit that I had yet to taste. Until last night.
Lest anyone ever tell you that nothing good comes from television, I got the most amazing biscuit recipe ever from an episode of Good Eats which featured Alton Brown and his grandmother holding a biscuit bake-off. These biscuits are the most delicious bits of fluffiness that will ever cross your palette. I’ve modified the recipe slightly below, because I prefer to use exclusively butter for its taste.
Adapted from the recipe by Alton Brown
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Chop butter into small cubes. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles crumbs.
Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. Mix gently just until the dough comes together. Turn onto a floured surface and, using floured hands or a spatula, fold dough over itself six times. Roll or pat dough into a one inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a round cutter and place biscuits on a baking sheet so that they barely touch. Reform scrap dough and continue cutting biscuits.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until biscuits are tall with light golden tops.
Enjoy biscuit perfection, plain or topped with butter or jam.