Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mama's Buttermilk Biscuits ~ Simple Pleasures

Every morning, Mother pulls her biscuit bowl out of the cabinet and starts making fluffy buttermilk biscuits. She's been doing this most every morning since she married my father 63 years ago. I'm certain she could make them with her eyes closed.

As fate would have it, there isn't a written recipe to be found. Mother learned how to make biscuits from her mother-in-law when she first married, and before I married I watched her enough to learn how to do what she does. Still, there's not a written recipe.

But since you're probably wondering how to make these beauties, I'm going to attempt to get this written down, from memory. Just remember, there are hundreds of recipes for buttermilk biscuits. What I'm sharing is simply how my mom makes them.

Here are the ingredients:

2 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder (optional; Mother does not use baking powder in her biscuits, but I do in mine)
1/4 cup Crisco shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk

A 10-12" iron skillet, greased with shortening

Preheat oven to 400-450 degrees (you will find that biscuit recipes call for varying oven temps, so you sort of have to play with it, depending on your particular oven). I generally use somewhere between 425° and 450°.

Place dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add shortening, cutting in until it favors coarse crumbs throughout. (Mother does this using her fingers; you could also use a pastry cutter if you prefer.)

Stir in buttermilk and knead dough gently, just until the mixture is wet and stays together. (As you're kneading, the dough will become sticky. Add sprinkles of flour as needed.) You want the end result to be smooth, not sticky.

We interrupt this rambling recipe to give you one of my favorite photos of my sweet mother in the kitchen, back when I was just a wee thing. 

Continuing on ....

After kneading, most biscuit makers would then roll the dough out onto a cutting surface and use a biscuit cutter to cut to a certain thickness, but Mother doesn't ever take the dough out of the bowl. She kneads it in the bowl, then pinches off a portion of the dough and rolls it around in her floured hands, before flattening it into a disc, about a 1/2-inch thick. (I really should photograph her doing this some morning, but I'm too far gone now.) If you like thicker, fluffier biscuits, maybe go to a 3/4" thickness. **

Place each disc is into iron skillet, with sides touching. Some recipes call for brushing the tops with melted butter before baking, but Mother doesn't do that, although my feeling is a little butter is always a good thing.

Baking times can vary, but a good rule-of-thumb is  12-15 minutes, give or take a couple, or until golden brown. Yields 10-12 biscuits. 

** If you prefer, you can do the "drop" biscuit option, using an ice-cream scoop to drop dough directly into skillet.

There's a biscuit recipe for every taste, but I think Mother's buttermilk biscuits are some of the best. They have a light crust on one side, and a softness on the other, perfect for slicing open and inserting whatever goodness you're craving.

Until next time, sweet friends, thanks for keeping me company. You're always welcome here.


Linking up with:

Cindy at My Romantic Home (Show and Tell)
Martha at Seaside Simplicity (Flashback Friday)


  1. These sound delicious.

    Now, I guess I will have to confess this: I have never, not one single time, made buttermilk biscuits. However, I am convinced that the eating of them is a simple pleasure all its own.

    (I know. I deserve an F in Betty Crockering.)

  2. I love this, Dayle. That picture of your mama in the kitchen is beautiful. You know, my grandmama showed me how to make her biscuits over and over again. I never could replicate the recipe just right because it was a handful of this, fill the well with about this much buttermilk, etc. Oh, how I loved her biscuits. The ones with her knuckle prints on top where she pressed them down in the pan. Those flat, greasy biscuits full of love and the marks of her hands. She used to give them to me to take home and put in my freezer. Oh, to have just one of them right now.

  3. Oh Yum these sound wonderful. I love a biscuit for breakfast, but I have never made them...but if we happen to eat breakfast out it is what I always order, haha. To me they are a definite treat. Loved the pic of your mama. Enjoy your week-end!

  4. My grandmother made the best biscuits I've ever had and my mother's were really really good but me, I have no gift for making biscuits........

    But these look wonderful. I hardly ever have biscuits for breakfast but I had a Chick Fil A one this morning and theirs are pretty good.

    I need to try this recipe.


  5. I can't recall how old your Mom is .... ( BUT WHAT A BEAUTY IN THAT PIC!!) my 88 year Mom ( raised on a farm in South Ga.) makes biscuits the exact same way!!!! Nothing like em' !! and you know.... I don't think we have a written recipe either !! LOL.... Absolutely delish with blackberry jam, syrup, honey,... YUMMMMMM

  6. Those biscuits sound yummy! Love the photo of your Mom in the kitchen! So pretty and baking while all dressed up...just like June Cleaver in "Leave It To Beaver". It's also fun to see vintage kitchens!
    sandy :)

  7. What a beautiful photo of your Mom. It makes me think I would like to wear dresses more often! I think the buttermilk is the key ingredient. I wouldn't even think of making biscuits or cornbread without it! Happy Friday!

  8. Really enjoyed this. My Mom says for homemade noodles and biscuits "just til it feels right." OK so how does that feel? You gave me inspiration to watch her and write down what she is doing. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Read your web page so awesome. I want to write also but don't know where to start.

  10. Oh, yum. And lucky me, she handed down her first iron skillet to me when I married. I use it for my biscuits and cornbread. So, so special.

  11. Every morning? Unbelievable!
    There must be something in those biscuits. Both of your parents are so fit.

    How does your mother divvy up all her treasured heirlooms, between all her girls?

    1. Christine, I don't think there's a system for spreading the "wealth" in our family. (wink, wink) I didn't even know Gayle had that skillet. Somehow we all have things we love that belonged to our parents/their parents. Occasionally, we'll walk through the house and tag something (Dayle wants this), and hope for the best when that time comes.

  12. Well, I am drooling now. They are different than any biscuit I have ever made. I am saving the recipe to try- xo Diana

  13. Oh Dayle, those sound delectable....and with butter and honey? mm mmmm mmmmmmmm
    Thanks for the recipe, too. Wonderful! Susan

  14. The photo of your mom is beautiful! She is so graceful and lovely. Thrilled you took the time to write out her recipe and technique for these delicious looking biscuits!

  15. This certainly does sound like a wonderful biscuit recipe, and what a wonderful story and photo of your mother! I'm amazed that she still makes them every morning. I'm so glad you shared this with us at Flashback Friday, it's perfect :)

  16. wow what a great story, recipe and picture. I'm feel so fortunate that I linked up today so I can get this recipe. your mom is a great lady to bake every day..

  17. Thanks so much for sharing. How wonderful that your mom is still making them. I think good old fashioned Crisco is the secret to good biscuits.

  18. What a stylish figure your mom made! I get wistful sometimes, seeing photos where even "ordinary" people took such care with their dress even on "ordinary" days.
    So glad to see you join in on Flashback Friday!

  19. What a precious picture of you mom!!! Your recipe looks amazing...thanks so much for sharing! :)

  20. This brings back memories of my mom. Same thing, make those biscuits with her eyes closed. I can't make them like my mom did. I use a rolling pin and biscuit cutter. Momma's were much better!
    This is a great recipe. Love this post.......

    The French Hutch

  21. I am pinning this and making these - yum! Great photo - mid 1950's? I stopped by from Seaside Simplicity.

  22. I love this post so much, it reminds me of my grandmothers and how they got up at the break of dawn and made their homemade biscuits the same way. It was just a way of life for them. My Mom made them too, but not every morning. I just love those old photos too!

    If your Mom has been doing this for over 60 years, who can say biscuits are bad for you?

    Thank you for the beautiful memories ♥


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle