Just a few simple ingredients plus your countertop can comes together to make flaky, tender biscuits. Take a look at our notes below for tips about salt, using milk in place of the buttermilk and how to make your own buttermilk at home.
2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
8 tablespoons (115 grams or 1 stick) very cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup (175 ml) very cold shaken buttermilk, plus more as needed
Extra butter and flaky salt or coarse sugar for tops of biscuits, optional
Heat oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
Place butter into the freezer for five minutes so that it’s thoroughly chilled Meanwhile, sift or whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together then dump into a mound on your countertop.
Cut the butter into large, thin pieces and lay them on top of the mound of flour. Flip the butter in the flour so that it’s well coated. Press the butter slices down and away from you into the flour with the heal of your dominant hand. Then with the other hand, use a pastry scraper to scrape up the pressed butter and flip it over onto the top of the mound.
Continue to press and scrape until the butter turns into thin flakes pressed into the flour, about 2 minutes. Once you see more butter flakes than loose flour use the pastry scraper to cut the flakes up so that you end up with an assortment of small flakes (similar to the look of large rolled oats) and some crumbs.
Make a well in the middle of the mound then pour in the cold buttermilk. Using a fork, gently work the buttermilk into the flour mixture until a very loose dough forms. If the dough seems too dry, add an extra splash of buttermilk. Scrape up the dough with the pastry scraper and fold it over itself a few times until it comes together into a scraggly dough.
Use your fingers to gather it into a ball then press into a rough rectangle, about 9 inches in length. For square biscuits, use the pastry scraper to cut the edges away from the rectangle, which helps all sides of the biscuits to rise more evenly. Then, cut into twelve squares. Or, use a round biscuit cutter.
Reduce the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange biscuits about 1 inch from each other on the baking sheet. Bake biscuits until doubled in size and light golden brown on top, about 10 minutes.
Brush tops of hot biscuits with a little butter and sprinkle with a pinch of salt (or sugar). Enjoy warm.