Loaves and Dishes

Wendi Spraker

Recently someone said to me, “I bet your kids are the best cooks ever since they learned from you!” Really? Why would my kids cook anything? They have mostly avoided the kitchen like the plague.

If you want your children to learn to cook, don’t fix them anything good to eat. My own children have never had to lift a finger to cook for themselves. Except for my son (now 30 years old), who might not admit that he threatened to call Social Services at age 13 about feeling starved when we had to limit him to just four meals per day and snacks. If you have a fast growing child that age, all I’ll say is, “buy on sale and stock up!”

Let’s don’t even discuss the day I came home and found him and three of his friends eating a 5lb bag of frozen breast filets, a loaf of bread and multiple cans of corn for an afterschool snack. What can you say except, “Growing Boys”.

The same person asked me if my family reads this column. Are you kidding me? They have spent the last 30 years trying to ignore absolutely everything I have ever said to them unless I was calling them to dinner. Why in the world would they read what I have written?

In fact, we get together on Monday’s for dinner. Last week they were all congregated outside watching the kids and dogs run in the yard when I went to the back door and hollered, “There’s a big pan of hot biscuits in here if anyone wants one before dinner.”

That phrase and “Dinner’s Ready” are the only two things I’ve ever said that motivated them to move. I am certain I have said, “Go clean your room” or “help carry these bags in” and they never heard that until I was screaming like a fire engine. PRO TIP: when you scream “take out the trash!”, your family will look at you like you have lost your mind and say things like, “OK, OK, you could have just asked me, no need to yell.”

I say all of that to say this, if you are a parent trying to figure out if your child (or spouse) needs hearing tests, try these biscuits first. Once prepared say in a normal voice, “there are hot buttery biscuits in the kitchen if you want one before dinner”. No expensive test required. (DISCLAIMER: Do not use this “biscuit test” in place of actual medical care).

You can thank me later. If you are interested in seeing step by step photos of this recipe, you can visit my website at www.loavesanddishes.net and search for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits. If you need to see it on video, just hang on because I’m starting a video cooking show that will broadcast on YouTube starting August 1, 2018. If you are in desperation, you can always email me at wendi@loavesanddishes.net

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

4 Cups Self Rising Flour “White Lily” (brand) Soft Winter Wheat plus extra for dusting the bread board and for kneading.

1 Tbs Baking Powder

1 tsp Granulated white sugar

1 Tsp Kosher salt divided

⅔ Cups Crisco Shortening

2 Cups Very Cold Buttermilk

⅓ Cup Evaporated Milk

2 Tbs unsalted sweet cream butter – melted


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and a ½ tsp salt together with a whisk.

Drop the Crisco into the flour mixture and use a dough cutter to cut the crisco in. Rock the cutter and make chopping motions until the crisco is in small pieces and the flour has a wet clumpy appearance throughout (see photo). Do NOT use your hands to mix the crisco in.

Keep the buttermilk in the fridge until ready to use. Add the buttermilk all at once and mix together with a rubber spatula until it just comes together.

Place ½ a stick of butter (4 Tbs) in a rimmed half sheet pan (jelly roll pan) and allow it to melt in the oven as the oven comes to temp. Do not allow the butter to burn. The butter should be melted and bubbly (but not black) by then end of the next 3 steps.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and sprinkle the surface with a small amount of flour. Knead the dough by folding it over on itself about 6-8 times. The dough should feel soft and smooth.

Using your hands press the dough down into a flat circle that is 1” thick (no need to use a rolling pin).

Cut the biscuits using a biscuit cutting and cut in a straight motion down towards the counter. DO NOT twist the cutter. Remove the hot buttered pan from the oven. Sprinkle half of the remaining salt onto the hot buttered pan.

Gently lay the cut biscuits onto the hot pan into the butter. The biscuits may touch one another. Put the biscuits in the pan quickly so as to return the pan to the oven as quickly as possible. Brush the tops of the biscuits with evaporated milk using a pastry brush. Return the pan to the hot oven. Shut the oven door and DO NOT open it again for at least 10 minutes.

Bake biscuits for 18-25 minutes. The biscuits are done when they are golden brown and risen.

On removing the biscuits from the oven, brush with hot melted butter and sprinkle with the remainder of the salt. This recipe will yield 18-24 biscuits.


Wendi Spraker