Old-fashioned southern angel biscuits
Angel biscuits are a very special family tradition on my dad’s side. Or, at least they were while she was living. She never did anything without a long, crisp-white Virginia Slim hanging out the side of her mouth- and making biscuits was no exception. I don’t recall exactly how old I was, but I remember looking up at her as she worked the dough by hand. Starting by swirling the buttermilk into the yeast, then slowing incorporating it into the flour and shortening. Since she was just shy of 5 feet tall, I reckon I must’ve been under 10 years old.
She was always laughing. It was my favorite thing about her. Whether she was making an inappropriate joke during family rummy cube, singing hymns while my uncle accompanied her on the piano, or cracking up at one of Grandaddy’s jokes- she was always laughing.
After she’d just barely worked the dough, she handed me the rubber nesting bowl, popped the lid on it, and told me to go put it in the outside fridge. All true southerners know something’s special when you put it in the outside fridge. That’s where my step mom would put the fancy bottled waters when we came to visit. Everyone knew the inside fridge was for everybody, but the outside fridge held items that had a specific purpose and resting this biscuit dough was of the utmost importance.
I've been practicing making these for a few years- and I'm BEYOND EXCITED to finally share the recipe with you!
- To a small bowl add your whole packet of yeast.
- Add two tablespoons of lukewarm water (if you've got a thermometer I usually get it around 108 degrees)
- Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the water/yeast mixture and stir it all together with a fork.
- Set aside to PROVE for 5 minutes. After the five minutes your yeast mixture should be frothy and fluffy. If it's not, your yeast isn't active and you need to try again with a new packet of yeast.
- Add 1/4 cup of buttermilk to the proved yeast mixture.
- To a separate, larger bowl add 1 cup of self-rising flour.
- Add 4 tablespoons of shortening to the flour and cut it into the flour until it's crumbly and resembles the texture of cornmeal.
- Add your liquid mixture to the dry mixture and combine gently, being careful not to overwork.
- On a clean counter, shape the rough dough into a square and cut out your biscuit shapes.
- Bake in a cast iron skillet or ungreased baking sheet at 450 degrees for 7-9 minutes until golden brown.
- Enjoy with all your favorite southern foods!