The south is well-known for its wonderful cuisine, as everyone knows! Everything from pecan pie to pound cake to fried chicken makes the southern table very respected. And that includes bread. Next to cornbread, biscuits are the bread of choice to most any southerner. In many southern homes, no meal is complete without biscuits. Some families used to make biscuits for every meal, every day.
Over the years, making biscuits from scratch appears to have fallen out of favor with many southern cooks. Some feel that opening a package of biscuit mix creates a satisfactory biscuit and some even enjoy canned biscuits. Frozen biscuits are now available and are surprisingly a lot like those made from scratch.
Why not renew an old-fashioned tradition and make biscuits from scratch? The recipe I'm passing along is for "Chuck Wagon Biscuits". This is a very good, basic biscuit that I've made many times and it never fails to turn out well.
Unlike most southern biscuit recipes, this one doesn't use self-rising flour. You use baking powder and salt in this one to provide its leavening. This one also uses sweet milk. The dough is made by combining the dry ingredients and cutting in vegetable shortening. Milk is added to make a dough. A thirty-second kneading follows and the dough is patted out and cut. How thick you pat the dough determines, of course, the thickness of the biscuits and the total number completed. If you pat it out thin and use an average size biscuit cutter, you can get around two dozen biscuits from this one recipe. I personally like biscuits thick, so I pat these out to about 1/2 inch and use a fairly large cutter, about three to four inches in size.
These bake at 400 degrees until they're browned. Have the butter and jam or jelly on standby once these treasures come from the oven! You'll notice also that a little bit of sugar goes into this recipe. I've found that this adds to the flavor of the biscuits, but if you're very traditional, you can always omit it.
If you like biscuits and would like to have some in a main dish, I shared a recipe sometime ago for a "Beef and Biscuit Casserole" that's really wonderful. To get the recipe, follow this link:
If you've fallen out of the habit of making scratch biscuits, give this recipe a try and see if you won't find yourself making them this way more often!
CHUCK WAGON BISCUITS
- 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup sweet milk
Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the shortening and work it in with a fork or pastry cutter until it resembles cornmeal. Add the milk and mix just enough to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 30 seconds. Pat dough out to desired thickness and cut into desired size. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until browned. Yield: about 2 dozen biscuits (if rolled thin).