This is my all-time old faithful biscuit recipe. In the interest of wording how I actually mix and prepare them, I've borrowed the wording from a Cooks Illustrated recipe that was VERY similar to mine. My ingredients are a bit different from the CI version, but this is the recipe that I got the 3rd place ribbon with. Enjoy.
2 cups bread flour (plain will be okay, but the harder bread flour makes the layers more defined)
1 tablespoon baking powder, preferably Rumford
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons chilled lard, cut into 1/4" cubes
3/4 cup cold milk
2 tablespoons bacon grease, melted
After stirring in the milk, this dough should feel very soft and moist, but you should be able to hold it briefly between lightly floured hands without its sticking. If it turns out wet and sticky, return it to the bowl and sprinkle it with 2 to 4 tablespoons additional flour (of any kind) on all sides, gently patting in the flour with your palm. Let the dough rest another half-minute before removing it to your work surface. It is best to discard the dough that is left over from the second cutting, as biscuits made with thrice-recycled dough tend to be tough and flat. These biscuits are best served at once, though leftovers may be wrapped and refrigerated for a day, then reheated for a few minutes in a 350° oven.
1. Adjust rack to center position and heat oven to 450.°
2. Mix first 4 ingredients in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade. Add butter; with your fingertips, a pastry blender, 2 knives, or steel blade of a food processor, mix, cut, or process butter and shortening into dry ingredients, until the mixture resembles dry oatmeal. (Transfer food processor mixture to a large bowl.)
3. Stir in milk with a rubber spatula or fork until dry ingredients are just moistened. Let dough rest for 1 minute, then transfer it to a well-floured work surface. (I prefer a floured flour-sacking kitchen towel - kc.)
4. Roll the dough into a rough 6-by-10-inch rectangle. With the long edge of the dough facing you, fold in both short ends of the dough so that they meet in the center; then fold the dough in half by width, forming a package of dough four layers thick. Once again, roll the dough into a 6-by-10-inch rectangle 1/2-inch thick. (You're creating layers here - the more gently you work and the less you handle the dough, the better the biscuits will turn out. kc)
5. Using a lightly greased and floured 2 1/2 inch cutter, stamp, with one decisive punch per round, 4 rows of 3 dough rounds, cutting them close together to generate as few scraps as possible. Dip cutter into flour before each new cut. Push the scraps of dough together so that their edges join; firmly pinch the edges with fingertips to make a partial seal. Pat the dough into small rectangle, fold it as before, and re-roll 1/2-inch thick. Cut out 3 or 4 more biscuits.
6. Place dough rounds 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet; brush dough tops with melted butter, bacon grease (my personal favorite) or milk. Raw biscuits may be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 hours.
7. Bake until biscuits are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.
Hope you enjoy my biscuits. Since we've been South Beaching, I haven't made them. Used to make them at least 3 times a week. We miss them...
Keri C, smokin' on Tulsa Time