Biscuits made from Bisquick or homemade mix are good (see Homemade Biscuit Mix), but sometimes I want a good southern biscuit. Getting buttermilk (one of the staple ingredients in southern biscuits) in many cruising areas is difficult, and often impossible. Because I didn’t want to rely on soured milk or other buttermilk substitutes, I went in search of a recipe that produces reliably good southern biscuits without buttermilk.
I think I came up with a winner in the recipe below. In its simplest form it uses two ingredients: self-rising flour and heavy cream. Okay, three if you count the melted butter brushed on the completed biscuits. Granted, self-rising flour can be difficult to find in some areas. In New England, self-rising choices are limited and I generally can’t get soft southern-style self-rising flour brands like Martha White or White Lily Flour. I have included two variations on my recipe: one which uses self-rising flour (either commercial or that you’ve made yourself); and a second using regular flour and baking powder which is only slightly more complicated and also produces good results. Even if you don’t usually bake aboard, give biscuits a try. It’s a quick way to introduce fresh, warm bread into your cruising menus.
Easy Southern Biscuits
- 2 — 2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
- 1 — 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- melted butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Choose a baking pan and brush it with some of the melted butter. Because I like a soft exterior for my biscuits, I use an 8- or 9-inch cake pan, so the biscuits will be touching. If you like a crisper exterior, place them about an inch apart on a baking sheet.
Put 2 cups of self-rising flour in a large bowl, then “sift” with a fork or whisk. Make a deep hollow in the flour and pour in 1 cup of the heavy cream. Mix with a spatula or spoon in circular strokes to pull the flour into the cream. Mix until the dry ingredients are moistened and the soft dough starts to pull away from the bowl. Add more cream, a tablespoon at a time, if dry flour remains in the bottom of the bowl. The goal is to create a fairly wet dough and handle it as little as possible.
Lightly sprinkle a board or countertop with some of the remaining flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little flour and flour your hands as well. Pat the dough into a circle, then fold the dough in half. Repeat just a couple of times until the dough seems to come together. Pat the dough out into a circle one more time until the dough is 1/2-inch thick for normal biscuits, 3/4-inch thick for tall biscuits, and 1-inch thick for giant biscuits.
Brush off any visible flour and cut the biscuits with a lightly-floured cutter (or a drinking glass if you don’t have a biscuit cutter). Move the biscuits to your pan or baking sheet. Bake for a total of 10 – 14 minutes, rotating the pan at the 6 minute mark. The biscuits should be a light golden brown when done. Remove from the oven and lightly brush the tops with melted butter. Turn the biscuits out upside-down onto a plate and allow to cool slightly. Turn right-side up and serve while still warm.
Okay, so what if you don’t have self-rising flour? Keep reading….
Making your own self-rising flour
It’s easy to make your own self-rising flour, which is handy to keep on hand.
- 6 cups all-purpose flour (or 3 cups all purpose and 3 cups cake flour)
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
Whisk together all ingredients and store in a sealed container (preferably in the fridge or freezer) until needed. Makes enough for about 3 batches of biscuits.
If you don’t want to make up a batch of self-rising flour, you can get the same results by using the following recipe:
Southern Cream Biscuits
- 2 – 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup each all-purpose and cake flour)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar (optional, if you like a sweeter biscuit)
- 1 – 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Whisk together the dry ingredients, then proceed as in the Southern Biscuits recipe above.
Fair winds and following seas,
Heather, The Cruising Cook