these drop-biscuits are a piece of cake to make, delightfully flaky, and versatile. Double the recipe and serve them for a brunch, or just store them in the freezer and enjoy them for a while. As the name suggests, they are a great way to use up old milk, which you might have at home. Otherwise, follow the recipe and use buttermilk.
I've been making them for years, as one of two essential components in fool-proof, stick-to-your-ribs, Montana ranch-style biscuits and gravy (recipe coming soon). However, they are equally satisfying with black tea, butter, and local honey or homemade jam. Our recommendation - have them both ways, and eat them with soup for lunch, too!
I was assigned responsibility for mastering this recipe years ago, while working at Pine Butte Guest Ranch. My version of the recipe is hand-written, and I cannot find it in the two cookbooks which were primary sources in that ranch kitchen. If any readers know the source, please let me know.
Yields a couple dozen, depending on how big you make them.
- 2 1/2 tsp. yeast
- 2 T sugar
- 1/2 c. warm water
- 5 c. flour
- 1 tsp. each: Salt, Baking Soda & Baking powder
- 3/4 c. shortening (butter, lard, Crisco)*
- 2 c. sour milk or buttermilk
- Parchment paper (nice, if you have it)
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit if baking immediately.
- Measure yeast and sugar into the warm water, and let sit until dissolved - yeast will start to "act up" and the water will become the color of very creamy coffee. Don't stir - the yeast will stick to your utensil.
- Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl.
- Use a pastry dredge (pastry cutter - pictured above) to cut shortening into flour mixture. Keep cutting until mixture has consistency of crumbs.
- Mix in water and buttermilk just until mixture is moist.
- At this point you have two options:
- *First, using two spoons, drop dough onto baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Size of biscuits should be relatively uniform, and will affect baking time. Bake for ~12 minutes (or less if biscuits are small), or until biscuits are golden brown.
- Second option - cover and refrigerate until needed. Keeps well in the fridge for several days, and even improves somewhat, as dough rises thanks to slight yeast activity.
- * If you cut the recipe in half, you will need 6 tablespoons (T) of shortening, or 1/4 cup plus 2 T.
- Serve warm, with fresh butter and homemade jam.
- For a more savory biscuit, add some grated cheese and finely chopped chives to the batter before baking.