How to make The BISCUITS
It’s no secret that Southerners relish biscuits—morning, noon, and night—more than any other bread, and have elevated the technique of making them to a veritable art. While the principles governing the preparation of beaten biscuits, drop biscuits, tea biscuits, and other distinctive styles are covered briefly in this book, special attention should be paid to perfecting traditional baking powder biscuits, since these are the ones made on a regular basis. Ideally, baking powder biscuits should be at least 1 inch high, with craggy tops, light golden brown outsides, and flaky and moist insides; they should be light and tender in texture and clean tasting. You can premix the dry ingredients, but since the first leavening action of the baking powder occurs when liquid is added (the second is when it’s exposed to high heat), never add liquid till you’re ready to bake. To prevent toughness, never handle biscuit dough any longer than it takes to just mix the ingredients, kneading it no more than a few strokes. Patting out the dough gently is preferable to rolling it. To avoid overly compressed biscuits, always cut them with a sturdy, sharp metal biscuit cutter, and to prevent uneven baking of the sides, cut straight down in one quick stroke. The best baking sheets for biscuits are heavy, sturdy metal or silicone ones with no lips except on one side. If the sheet is too thin and flimsy, the biscuits can burn on the bottom; if it has lips on all sides, the biscuits might not bake evenly. Because of the fat in the biscuit dough, there’s no need to grease the baking sheet, Bake biscuits in the top third of the oven. For fully browned biscuits, bake them about 1 inch apart; for browned tops and soft sides, space them about 1 ⁄2 inch apart.