Before I can share with you this recipe for Sour Cream Biscuits, there is a little bit of history to share. Pillsbury was a favorite growing up, then it became all about Popeye’s. Real fancy, right? To me baking biscuits has always been elusive, not something you make at home. A baked good only to be enjoyed out. A few years ago, I had the most amazing biscuit at Empire State South, here in Atlanta. It was tender and light and encased in a crumbly outer shell. Their biscuit totally messed me up because I could never again settle for a mediocre store bought or fast food biscuit. We would go back to ESS’s brunch multiple times, just so I could have that biscuit again. Then we stopped eating out…
So I started the quest for the perfect biscuit at home. I found an amazing recipe that is fool proof and learned some secrets that helped curate a top notch biscuit. Now, I am sure you are wondering the role sour cream plays in all this. Good question. I love a buttermilk biscuit just as much as the next person, but honestly sometimes I just don’t have buttermilk on hand. I usually have to buy a quart for one cup, and then I freeze the rest. Well, there are also times when we wake up, and we just don’t even have a stash in the freezer, but we still want biscuits. In our house, we always have sour cream on hand, it’s a staple, like ketchup. Using sour cream instead of buttermilk results in the same fluffy biscuit and the same slight tang buttermilk has. Also, no need to fear baking biscuits from scratch. It is so simple and literally takes like 15 minutes of prep time. Crazy, right? Before baking them myself I thought it was an all day affair.
Now some secrets to a better biscuit:
- Never use a rolling pin. It flattens and compresses the dough which will result in a hockey puck not a sky high tender biscuit. Use your hands to flatten it out and to fold it over a couple of times.
- Invest in a pastry cutter. There is no need to dirty a food processor. If you have a pastry cutter and some elbow grease you can cut the butter into the flour in like 3 minutes.
- Sugar or no sugar, your choice. If you want a savory biscuit for sandwiches or to pair with ham etc. you will want to skip the sugar. If you are pairing with jam and butter, I like to add a little bit of sweetness. The amount in the recipe is not overpowering so don’t worry about it being too sweet.
- Good unsalted butter. You want to use the best quality butter within your budget. It may seem like a small thing, but good butter equals good flavor.
- Cold butter. To start, I actually will cut the butter into cubes and place in the freezer while I prep the rest of the ingredients. I only recommend this if it will only be in there no more than 10 minutes. Any longer just stick it in the fridge.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp baking powder (use one without aluminum)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 6 tbsp cubed unsalted butter, very cold
- ½ cup sour cream (full fat)
- ¼ cup whole milk, plus 2 tbsp
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. Alternatively this can be done in a food processor. Pulse the butter with the dry ingredients until it resembles a coarse meal.
- Add the sour cream and milk and mix until just combined and the mixture is slightly wet and sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Lightly dust flour on top of the dough and lightly pat using your hands to form a rectangle. Fold the dough in half and pat down again. Dusting with more flour as needed. Repeat folding 3 additional times and finally pat to a about 1.5" thick rectangle. Using a 2½" cutter cut out 8 biscuits. You may only get 4-5 from the first pass, pat out the scraps until you get 8 biscuits.
- Place the biscuits in a circular shape touching each other in greased baking dish (preferably a cast iron pan).
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.