you grew up in the country, like I did, and if you had a
country-food-cooking mom like mine, you ate a lot of biscuits. Maybe
you still do. Lucky you!
My mom made biscuits from
scratch, with sausage gravy, bacon or sausage, and eggs, every Saturday
morning and sometimes on Sunday mornings, too. Her biscuits rose high
as they baked, brown and crusty on the outside, soft as down on the
inside. A pat of butter melted into the flakiness, then adding some
blackberry jelly, strawberry jam, molasses, or honey, and . . . well, I
must stop. I’m making myself hungry.
When I first married, my husband
told me he was used to having biscuits and gravy every morning and
would like for me to keep that custom alive in our home. I told him I’d
try, but you see, my mom, as loving, generous, and kindhearted as she
was, never taught me to cook or bake while I was growing up. She was a
busy farm wife, plus she worked forty hours a week in town. Not only
that, we attended church every time the doors were open, and Mama was
an active member of our congregation. So teaching me to cook simply got
overlooked. My poor husband. He was my kitchen guinea pig for quite a
I tried to make those biscuits
like he asked. Hockey pucks could not be any firmer, flatter, or darker
than my first homemade biscuits. I tried to learn from my new
mother-in-law, but her biscuits were odd to me, made from self-rising
flour, old grease drippings, and a bit of milk. Or worse, she just used
the canned variety you find in the store. I still cringe when I think
of her biscuits.
next time we visited my folks, I held a pen and paper and stood next to
my mom while she made a batch of her biscuits. It was actually quite
easy, once I got the hang of it. Here is what she told me to do:
Measure flour into a bowl (I’ve found you can make about four
biscuits to every cup of flour)
• Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt for every cup of flour and 1 heaping
tablespoon of baking powder for every cup
• Sift these together or mix them with a whisk.
• Add about 1/3 cup of Crisco shortening ( Mama said it must
be Crisco or the biscuits won’t taste as good) for every cup of flour.
Cut this into the flour mixture well.
• Add milk, a few splashes at a time until your dough is sticky, but
not firm. Do not stir it very much, just until everything is moistened.
Turn out the dough onto a floured board or countertop. (I put mine
onto a floured piece of waxed paper, then clean-up is a lot quicker and
• Knead a few turns gently. Do not overwork the dough by kneading it a
lot. The more you work it, the tougher and denser your biscuits will
• Roll out the dough (I just pat it out until it’s about ½ inch high)
then cut out with a biscuit cutter and bake at 425 for about 10 to 12
minutes. If they don’t rise as high as you’d like, you probably rolled
the dough too flat. If they’re really tall and a little doughy inside,
roll the dough out a bit more next time.
mom’s biscuits were
well-known in our community. Guess what? My biscuits are now well-known
in my own community. It takes a little practice, just like everything
else in life. But having a great teacher to learn from and persevering
in your own efforts brings sweet rewards, especially when you top it
all off with a little honey.