I have such a weak spot for a good biscuit: golden brown, tender and light as air, with flaky seams through the middle so they’re easily split and slathered with jam or sandwiched with Virginia ham (or prosciutto, even better) and hot mustard. Are you with me, people? Biscuits.
This recipe, I’m very happy to report, passed those crucial criteria with flying colors and had the added interest of goat butter. It gives the biscuits a clean, subtle tang, much like buttermilk might, and if it sounds a bit unorthodox, trust me when I tell you it absolutely works. (If you haven’t tried goat butter before, it’s delicious on everything – corn on the cob, baked potatoes, popcorn.) Since Southern flours are much lighter and lower in gluten (they’re typically milled with soft red winter wheat versus the hard summer wheat in other commercial brands), I used a bit of cake flour in this recipe to soften things up. If you don’t have it, you can substitute pastry flour (even lighter) or just use all-purpose. In any case, use a light hand when mixing and cutting to keep the biscuits from toughening. Enjoy, y’all.
Goat Butter Biscuits
adapted from Southern Biscuits by Natalie Dupree & Cynthia Graubart, 2011
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus another 1/4 cup for dusting
- 1 cup cake flour
- 3 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 generous teaspoon salt
- 1/4 C (2 oz) goat butter, chilled, cut into 1/4″ pieces
- 1/4 C (2 oz) goat butter, chilled, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 3/4 C milk, chilled, plus more if needed
- biscuit cutter
- one tablespoon goat or cow butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl (preferably one wider than it is deep), whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup cake flour (reserve the extra 1/4 cup of all-purpose for later), the salt and baking powder. Scatter the smaller pieces of goat butter on top and toss to coat with flour. With a pastry cutter or your hands, cut the butter into the flour (use a snapping motion if you’re doing it by hand to make little flakes) until it looks crumbly (Dupree and Graubart say the mixture should resemble coarsely crumbled feta cheese). Add the 1/2″ butter pieces and continue until the butter is mixed in, with little pea-sized pieces. Pop the bowl into your fridge for 5 minutes.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in 3/4 C of milk. With a spatula or wooden spoon, pull the flour into the milk in broad, light strokes. Mix until just moistened, folding in any dry bits until it’s sticky and a bit shaggy looking and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (If the dough seems too wet, add a bit of flour; too dry, a little extra milk.)
Lightly sprinkle your worksurface with some of the reserved 1/4 cup of flour. Transfer the dough to your worksurface and with lightly floured hands, gently pat into a square or oblong shape. Fold in half. (If the dough is still a little clumpy, fold in half again.) Lightly pat the dough until it’s about 3/4″ thick. Dip your cutter into a little flour and cut out biscuits; transfer to a baking sheet. (You can repress the scraps, but they’ll yield a tougher biscuit.)
Bake for 10-14 minutes; turn the baking sheet 180 degrees and check the bottom of one of the biscuits. If it’s taking on too much color, slide another baking sheet underneath to buffer some of the heat. Bake for 4-8 minutes more. Brush with some of the melted butter and serve warm.
Note: your yield will depend on how large a biscuit cutter you use and how tall your dough is before cutting, but I ended up with 11 biscuits using a 2 1/4″ cutter.