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Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

These southern buttermilk biscuits are given a little boost from active drive yeast so they become light and fluffy.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time1 hr 2 mins
Servings: 30 biscuits


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour sifted (sift, then measure)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening chilled
  • 2 tablespoons butter salted, melted


  • In a small saucepan slowly heat the buttermilk until it bubbles around the edges (the buttermilk will curdle). Cool to lukewarm. Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or non-stick liner such as Silpat.
  • Sift the pre-sifted flour with the baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a medium bowl and then add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Stir in the lukewarm buttermilk.
  • Cut the shortening into the flour mixture using two forks (like scissors) or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and then pour in the buttermilk mixture all at once. Stir, starting around the edges of the bowl first, with a fork to mix well creating a stiff dough.
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board. Knead the dough gently, by picking up the dough from the far side and then folding the dough over towards you; press lightly with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat kneading process until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Using a floured rolling pin, gently roll out the dough, beginning at the center, all around until 1/2-inch thick. This is important, especially if you want thick biscuits. With a 2-inch floured round cookie/biscuit cutter, press straight down into the dough. Re-roll the trimmings to 1/2-inch thick and cut more biscuits. Place the cut biscuits on the prepared baking sheets 1-inch apart.
  • Prick the tops of the biscuits three times each with a fork, cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place (75-85°) free from drafts, for 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk, about 1-inch high.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the over to 400°. Lightly brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter right before baking. Make sure it’s salted butter so that the biscuits don’t taste bland. Bake the biscuits 10–12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.