in the kitchen with: carrie morey’s classic buttermilk biscuits

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Biscuits.  I don’t think this week’s post needs any other intro!  OK, so maybe just a few words…  This week’s recipe for classic buttermilk biscuits is the family recipe of Carrie Morey, owner of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits (named after her mother, Callie White). The recipe is the centerpiece of her new cookbook, A true southerner, like Grace, I love biscuits.  I’m sure both Grace and I could write for days about how much we love biscuits, but I will let you get straight to the recipe below.  While it may seem long, nothing about making biscuits is long or difficult.  As the temperature drops, you can be a little less restrained in eating them with your favorite preserves, compotes, ham, or well…anything!  I personally recommend you make a large batch and keep many on hand in the freezer.  Carrie’s cookbook, Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions, was just released this week. -Kristina

About Carrie: Carrie Morey had an early introduction to the food world courtesy of her mother, caterer extraordinaire, Callie White.  Carrie founded Callie’s Charleston Biscuits in 2005 with the goal of making the tender, buttery, made-by-hand biscuits of her mother accessible across the country.  Touted by Saveur, Food & Wine, Southern Living, The New York Times and Oprah among others, her biscuits have garnered freezer space in some of the most coveted retail stores in America.  Using no machinery whatsoever and with only the finest ingredients, Carrie and her small team of bakers are keeping the tradition of Southern biscuit making alive.  In addition to cookbook writing and her role as owner at Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, Carrie operates an incubator on location at the bakery in a historic Officer’s Quarters on the former Charleston Navy Base.  There she offers baking space along with mentoring to small artisan food businesses.

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See Carrie’s family recipe after the jump!

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Callie’s Classic Buttermilk Biscuits

This is the recipe that started it all. Sitting in my mother’s kitchen and watching her prepare the pans of these highly sought-after, melt-in-your mouth bites of goodness for her catering business gave me the lightning bolt of inspiration for Callie’s Charleston Biscuits. It took some convincing to persuade my mother that a biscuit business was a good idea. She was under the impression that people still made their own biscuits! Once I convinced her that the art of biscuit making was far from a daily ritual for most, she warmed to the idea. I don’t think she ever dreamed that in a few short years, we’d be making 110,000 biscuits a month and I’d be featured on The Martha Stewart Show.

The beauty of this recipe is that biscuit making can be part of your family tradition. Just save it for a day when a little bit of a mess in the kitchen won’t derail the rest of your plans, because this dough is wet and sticky. If the dough gobs between your fingers with the consistency of pluff mud (what we in the South call marsh mud), don’t worry! That’s a good sign! Getting my hands dirty is part of the fun for me, but if you are a little more averse to gooey hands, you can certainly use a rubber spatula to mix the dough.

Makes about 10 (2-inch) biscuits

 

  • 2 cups self-rising flour (White Lily preferred), plus more for dusting
  • 5 tablespoons butter: 4 tablespoons cut in small cubes, at room temperature, and 1 tablespoon melted
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup whole buttermilk (may substitute low-fat buttermilk)

1.      Preheat the oven to 500°F. Make sure the oven rack is in the middle position.
2.      Measure the flour into a large bowl. Incorporate the cubed butter, then the cream cheese into the flour, using your fingers to “cut in” the butter and cheese until the mixture resembles cottage cheese. It will be chunky with some loose flour.
3.      Make a well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk and, using your hands or a small rubber spatula, mix the flour into the buttermilk. The dough will be wet and messy.
4.      Sprinkle flour on top of the dough. Run a rubber spatula around the inside of the bowl, creating a separation between the dough and the bowl. Sprinkle a bit more flour in this crease.
5.      Flour a work surface or flexible baking mat very well. With force, dump the dough from the bowl onto the surface. Flour the top of the dough and the rolling pin. Roll out the dough to ½-inch thickness into an oval shape. (No kneading is necessary—the less you mess with the dough, the better.)
6.      Flour a 2-inch round metal biscuit cutter or biscuit glass. Start from the edge of the rolled-out dough and cut straight through the dough with the cutter, trying to maximize the number of biscuits cut from this first roll out. Roll out the excess dough after the biscuits are cut and cut more biscuits. As long as the dough stays wet inside, you can use as much flour on the outside as you need to handle the dough. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet with sides lined with parchment paper, or in a cast-iron skillet, or a baking pan with the biscuit sides touching. (It does not matter what size pan or skillet you use as long as the pan has a lip or sides and the biscuits are touching. If you are using a cast iron skillet, no parchment paper is necessary.) Brush the tops with the melted butter.
7.      Place the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 450°F. Bake 16 to18 minutes, until light brown on top (or as dark as you prefer), rotating the pan once while baking.

Note: You can freeze any leftover biscuits. To reheat, do not defrost. Wrap the biscuits in foil. Bake in a 400°F oven 25 to 30 minutes. Open the top of the foil for the last 3 to 5 minutes to brown a little on top.

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Why Carrie loves this recipe

The buttermilk biscuit is the purest and most simplest form of bread perfection. All my biscuit recipes start out as a buttermilk – it’s like a blank canvas. You can enjoy the beauty of its simplicity or gussie it up and make it more complex with a little black pepper and bacon folded into the dough.  It’s up to you…once you’ve perfected the basic then you can become really creative.  My most favorite way to eat buttermilk biscuits is simply sliced and toasted with a large pad of butter on each half.  Nothing is better than a puddle of butter running off of a hot little biscuit.  Images by Angie Mosier, all material Copyright 2013 by Carrie Morey, from Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions, published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster

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BAS

Will these still be as tasty if you make them the day before? Can you refrigerate the dough for a few hours and bake later? Just trying to plan out my dishes for Thanskgiving!

Teresa

I am a very capable baker, but I can not, for the life of me, make proper biscuits. Yeast rolls, yes: with my eyes closed and both hands behind my back) but I need so much help in the biscuit department. I will try this method, but I don’t hold out much hope. Although, the addiiton of cream cheese intrigues!! :-)

Isabelle

One of the culinary highlights of my life occurred when I accompanied my father to a family reunion of his southern relatives. Breakfast was served in a kitchen larger than my city apartment that had both an old wood burning stove and modern electric. I don’t know what they used the electric one for but breakfast was cooked on the wood stove. I watched my hostess make biscuits with the same ease I would have made toast and then she fried ham and made ham gravy while the biscuits baked. I can’t even find ham that will fry and leave residue in the skillet for making gravy and those biscuits still resonate on my taste buds and that was 40 years ago.

bk

So the picture shows the melted butter being swirled into more buttermilk (I guess), but this step isn’t listed in the recipe. How much buttermilk should be used to glaze the biscuits, and at what step do you glaze them?

Meg

I’ve been hunting for a great biscuit recipe and I’m excited to try this one. Thanks! When you mention freezing the biscuits, does that mean you can freeze extras that aren’t baked yet? Or freeze the leftovers after baking?

Kristina

Hi BK, I believe those are milk solids in the melted butter. Step 6 instructs to brush the tops with melted butter at the end. I hope you try them out! Kristina

IA

Any salt added to this, or is it salted butter perhaps? Looks great!

salan

Just made these today! So simple and delicious! I’m going to try with herbs next time!

Tiffany

Also wanting to know if the freezing instructions refer to uncooked biscuits or cooked ones …

Carrie Morey

Hi Ya’ll! Please do bake them fully and then freeze them for a later date! That’s how we do it! Also the melted butter is for brushing the tops of the raw biscuits before they go in the oven BUT I have to admit I always swipe a brush across them when they come out too!

WD

Could you please tell us the measurement of baking powder/salt to add per cup of flour or per your 2c. Recipe? I want to use my own organic unbleached flour and not the cake&pastry flour w other junk in it that is the only self rising brand available here.
Many thanks! Never heard of cream cheese used before! And can’t wait to try…

Kristina

Hi WD, as a native Nashvillian, Martha White flour was my reference flour forever until I moved where it wasn’t available. I therefore have always relied on one of the formulas provided in a Martha White cookbook of 1.5 teaspoons of baking power and 1/4-1/2 teaspoons of salt per cup of flour. However, I recommend you google “Homemade self-rising flour” and choose the source with which you are most comfortable. King Arthur Flour recommends 1.5tsp baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt; Nigella Lawson recommends 2 tsp baking power and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Some sites also getting into the composition of the flour mix as well. I’ve never done a scientific test to see whether my mix needs to be adjusted though. I’ve always been happy with the results. -Kristina

Antonella

Just made them for dinner, here in London, England, of all places. Very scrumptious! It was my first time and I know how to tweak them for next time. Thank you for sharing this recipe online!

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