on bread baking: buttermilk biscuits

I am not a bread baker. The process of baking bread intimidates me. I keep telling myself that I’m going to just try it, but I always chicken out. I’ve been eyeing some recipes lately – like this one for brioche by Brian and this one for focaccia by Jen – so maybe I’m close to giving it a go.


But until then, I’ll stick with baking biscuits. I can do that.

One of the best biscuit recipes that I’ve made is this one for rosemary cream drop biscuits. I’ve made them with and without the rosemary, and they are delightful both ways. The recipe I’ve included in this post is for another new favorite – buttermilk biscuits.  Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I made these for my family. Wait. Who am I kidding? I made them for myself.

But I did let my daughter have one. So there.

Warm buttermilk biscuits, slathered with some good butter and drizzled with honey…it was a tummy-warming and soul-satisfying snack. This, my friends, is my new go-to biscuit recipe.

By the way, if you have any favorite bread recipes, or if you want to give me some bread-baking encouragement, please leave me a comment. I need all the support when it comes to mustering up the courage to bake my first loaf of bread.

Yield: 6 biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Slightly adapted from Gourmet 2005. I decreased the sugar and I omitted the sifting of the flour since I'm no longer a believer in sifting. Here's a great post on why sifting is not necessary.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Whisk together until well-incorporated and aerated: the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add butter and blend in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist and sticky).

Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times. Pat dough on a floured surface with floured hands, reflouring surface if necessary, into an 8- by 5 1/2 inch rectangle. Trim all 4 sides with a knife, dusting knife edge with flour before each cut. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 biscuits, flouring knife between cuts. Transfer biscuits with a metal spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, arranging them 2 inches apart. Bake until pale-golden, 12-15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

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22 Responses to “on bread baking: buttermilk biscuits”

  1. 1
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — December 8, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

    Yum… These biscuits look fabulous! I make my share of yeast breads, but I rarely make biscuits. I’ll have to give this recipe a try.

  2. 2
    bunkycooks — December 8, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

    All of this holiday baking is going right to the hips! It doesn’t get much better than homemade biscuits in the morning. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention on bread baking: buttermilk biscuits | the merry gourmet -- Topsy.com

  4. 3
    Aggie — December 8, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

    love biscuits and I honestly don’t know why I don’t make them from scratch more often. These look delicious!

  5. 4
    JulieD — December 8, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

    These look like heaven. I shouldn’t have clicked on Aggie’s RT because I was already starving. I hope we get to meet IRL some day!

    • 4.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — December 8, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

      Julie – I certainly hope so too! I mean, we ARE just about 2 hours away from each other. 🙂

  6. 5
    Gail — December 8, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

    Look how beautiful those biscuits are! I want a plain one w/ honey butter, please.

  7. 6

    That biscuit with the drizzle of honey on it looks so good!
    Bread scared me too, until I made a brioche. Just make sure the recipe you use has clear instructions. Once you smell the bread in the oven you’ll be kicking yourself for not trying it sooner.

    • 6.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — December 8, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

      Lynn – You’re making me REALLY want to make brioche now.

  8. 7

    Just want to encourage you to give bread baking a whirl. Do it on a day when you’re going to be at home and you’re relaxed. Believe me – you’ll be so proud of yourself when that loaf comes out of the oven.

    About a month ago I made a batch of Brioche. I hadn’t baked bread in awhile. I wanted to make this beautiful braided loaf – but it didn’t turn out that way. It looked like a catepillar. It was delicious, tho. My husband and I ate a few slices with warm butter and jam. The riced and diced and put in the freezer in a big ZipLoc bag. It became the base for my dressing on Thanksgiving Day. Instead of cornbread dressing I did Brioche dressing. It was amazing.

    • 7.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — December 9, 2010 @ 8:52 am

      Oh my gosh. Brioche dressing sounds like my dream food.

  9. 8
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — December 9, 2010 @ 10:31 am

    Wow these looks great! So excited to meet you at Food Blog South in January!

  10. 9
    Barbara | Vino Luci Style — December 9, 2010 @ 11:05 am

    These do look wonderful; I love a simple biscuit cause I love butter and honey and it’s such a great vehicle for those isn’t it.

    You have conquered so many fears…don’t let bread baking stop you. I love focaccia with rosemary and Parmesan and since it’s a flat bread, it might be a great place to start. But I also love the first bread I ever made called Billowy Off White Bread and that’s exactly how it turns out. Bread flour mixed with whole wheat with honey and butter in the mix; it’s light and full of great flavor. I remember the first time I made it we pretty much consumed most of the loaf on the spot!

  11. 10
    Rebecca — December 9, 2010 @ 11:41 am

    one of the best biscuit recipes i’ve found is from the Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham. the biscuits have heavy cream in them.

  12. 11
    Joy — December 9, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

    Keep making those biscuits, they are so wonderfully tender and tasty! I married into a biscuit making family where everyone aspires to make biscuits like Nanny (the matriarch), and whenever I ask someone always has a different tip, the thing they do to add their own little spin and variation that recalls Nanny.

  13. 12
    Amy at TheSceneFromMe — December 9, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

    Nothing more comforting than a warm piece of bread slathered with honey! You are really making me want to gobble that down! Wish the screen had scratch and sniff capabilities!

    • 12.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — December 9, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

      Now there’s a great idea!

  14. 13
    Melanie Flinn — December 9, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

    Hard to beat a good biscuit- these look great! Seen you around twitter but just wanted to say hi and check out your blog. Love it- great pics too!

    • 13.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — December 9, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

      Melanie – Glad you’re here! I’m now following you on Twitter – nice to meet you!

  15. 14
    Nancy@acommunaltable — December 9, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

    If you can do biscuits you absolutely can do bread!!

    Tell you what – I’m a little leery about making jam so how about if you agree to try bread I’ll try jam??? We’ll face our fears and do it anyway!!

  16. 15
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — December 12, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

    I am also not a bread baker – in fact I really suck at it! Quickbreads, I can handle but even “biscuits” (what I call scones) give me trouble. When you learn how, you will need to teach me. In the meantime, I will just drool over your attempts!

  17. 16
    Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels — December 13, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

    Bread making intimidates me too! I think I’d be very happy with your buttermilk biscuits instead!! They look soooo good and you take such gorgeous photos. I can’t wait to make your buttermilk biscuits. YUM!

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