Buttermilk Biscuits (Soaked and Unsoaked Versions)

how to make biscuits

Every homesteader (or wanna-be-homesteader) should have a tried and true buttermilk biscuit recipe in their arsenal. (That is, unless you’re gluten-free, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic…)

Homemade biscuits were one of the very first things I learned to make from scratch. I remember being soooo proud of myself that I didn’t have to buy those nasty “pop-n-fresh” biscuit cans at the store anymore. Yuck.

These delicate buttermilk biscuits are heavenly whether served up with from-scratch sausage gravy or drizzled with raw honey.

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Fluffy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Instructions: 

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sucanat together in a large bowl.

Cut in the cold butter until you have pea-sized butter chunks. (Or, try grating frozen butter with a cheese grater and adding the shreds into the flour.)

Add just enough buttermilk (or whey or soured milk) to make a heavy, wet dough.

“Knead” the dough lightly- only about 6-8 times-just enough to get everything to stick together. Do not overknead. Pat the dough out on a well-floured surface to approximately one inch thick. Use a floured glass or mason jar ring to cut into circles. (I recently snagged this set of biscuit cutters off of Amazon. Not an absolute necessity, but boy, do they make it nice!)

Place on an ungreased baking stone (where to buy) or cookie sheet. I like to leave the edges slightly touching as it makes for a softer biscuit. If you prefer crunchier biscuits, then spread them out a bit more.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

homemade biscuits

A Couple Biscuit Tips:
-Use cold butter. This is important to ensure that you end up with a nice, flaky biscuit.
Do not overknead.  The heat of your hands will cause the butter to warm up- this makes the biscuits tough. And nobody likes tough biscuits.
Do not overbake. At my house, we prefer soft, tender, biscuits– not hockey-pucks. Therefore, always be sure to set your oven timer for several minutes less than the recipe calls for. I usually pull mine from the oven when the bottoms are golden brown. Generally, the tops are not brown. If you wait that long, you will usually end up with a crunchy hockey puck.

I have no doubt that after you try these, you will never go back to biscuits-in-a can again! Who invented those anyway? What a silly idea…

how to make buttermilk biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits- the Soaked Version

**Update** This is one of the first recipes I ever posted on this blog. However since that time, my thoughts of the whole concepts of soaking grains have changed a bit. However, this is still a very yummy recipe, and definitely suitable for those of you who still like to soak. (I don’t think there is anything detrimental about soaking, it’s just not a fit for my family.)

You Will Need:

Combine flour, sucanant, and buttermilk. You should have a heavy, wet dough, but it should still be somewhat kneadable. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying and allow to soak at room temperature for at least 12 hours.

After the soaking time has elapsed, add the salt and baking powder to the flour mixture, kneading to incorporate. If the dough is too sticky to tolerate kneading, you may have to add a bit of white flour.
buttermilk biscuit recipe

Add the cold butter pieces. Incorporate them into the dough, but do not over-mix. It is perfectly acceptable to have visible chunks of butter within the dough. Over handling will cause the butter to melt and result in tough biscuits.

Pat the dough onto a well-floured surface, approximately 1 inch thick. Cut with a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Place on an ungreased baking stone or cookie sheet and place in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Yields approximately 12 thick biscuits.

homemade buttermlk biscuits

Though this biscuits have a decidedly different texture than traditional white flour, baking powder biscuits, I think they are a good trade-off. They are still delicious, plus I feel better about serving them to my family since they have the added nutrition of whole wheat.

And psssst! Either of these biscuit recipes are heavenly when you pair them with my Savory Maple Sausage Patties or my From-Scratch Sausage Gravy!

Buttermilk Biscuits (Unsoaked Version)

Ingredients

  • 1 c. flour
  • 3 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Sucanat or other unrefined sweetener
  • 1/4 cup cold butter or lard
  • 1 cup buttermilk, soured raw milk, or whey (You may need slightly more or less, depending on the flour)

Instructions

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sucanat into large bowl
  2. Cut in the cold butter until you have pea-sized butter chunks (Or, try grating frozen butter with a cheese grater and adding the shreds to the flour)
  3. Add just enough buttermilk (or whey or soured milk) to make a heavy, wet dough
  4. "Knead" the dough lightly 6-8 times until it sticks together
  5. Pat dough out on a well-floured surface to approximately one inch thick
  6. Use a floured glass or mason jar ring to cut into circles
  7. Place on an ungreased baking stone or cookie sheet
  8. I like to leave the edges slightly touching to make a softer biscuit--but for crunchier biscuits, spread them out a bit more
  9. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven approximately 10 minutes, and cool on a wire rack
http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2011/02/soaked-buttermilk-biscuits.html

 


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Comments

  1. oh my! These look wonderful, definitely trying these!!!

  2. These look great! How long do you knead the dough for? And also, can you explain how the texture of these soaked biscuits are different than traditional?

  3. Sara-

    I only knead long enough to incorporate the ingredients. It's not actual "kneading" like you would do for bread dough, just mixing with my hands. I probably should have use a different word. ;)

    They aren't quite as flaky as a unsoaked biscuit would be. I think it is because you mix the butter into a wet dough, versus cutting it into dry wet. Still very yummy, nonetheless!

    • Since it has buttermilk or sour milk, I always use a pinch of baking soda. If no sour milk products I just use baking powder alone. Try it and see if it makes a difference.

  4. These look soooo good! How will I ever loose those Christmas pounds if I eat these? Not sure I can resist! Maybe just one and I'll freeze the left overs after feeding the family.

  5. thanks for this recipe! i might used my clabbered milk in lieu of butter milk for this recipe, do you think that would work? hubby would kiss me if i could master a home-made biscuit. early attempts have been hockey pucks, so i gave up trying.

    • Jenna- I definitely think you could substitute clabbered milk for the buttermilk- you will have to let me know how it goes! Yes, we’ve had more than our fair share of hockey pucks at our house too. :)

      • Jill, thank you for sharing this GREAT recipe! Just wanted to make a few comments:

        1.) I used homemade goat’s milk kefir instead of buttermilk and it is amazingly delicious. My family (well, and me too) snatch them up in a flash. My youngest doesn’t do so great with fresh milk so we culture all his dairy products and then he’s fine. Anyways, the previous reader asked about clabber, I’m sure it’d yield similarly yummy results.
        2.) I didn’t have sucanat on hand and have used honey one time and agave nectar the other which both turned out super.
        3.) Lastly, according to many, leaving out food for that length of time constitutes fermenting or culturing. This gives a unique flavor and much more nutritious food. The wheat in the biscuits is much easier to digest because of the time left out. I got sidetracked with my batch today and ended up leaving it out for nearly 24 hours, and it was just as, if not maybe even more, delicious.

        Thanks again!

        • Christina M says:

          Rachel, I’m curious about your kefir. I have access to store bought (blah) plain kefir. Would that work? I’m assuming it’s cow’s milk kefir. Also, you leave the batch out when you’re using kefir? I guess, reading through your post again, that’s what you meant. I just wanted to make sure. I really like kefir and would love to try it. I will probably use honey or grade b maple syrup instead of the sucanat.

          • Christina,
            I used kefir I made myself from our goat, but cow’s milk kefir would work too just the same. The storebought stuff isn’t nearly as good for you as homemade which has a greater variety of strains in it, but it’d work I think? Don’t quote me on that, you need to do some research if it’s okay to leave storebought kefir out at room temp for that long. I’m guessing it’s fine, but I don’t know. Honey or grade b maple syrup would be great, just maybe reduce the kefir a tad so it’s not too liquidy.

  6. Thank you for the recipe! I am so excited to try these!

  7. Heather says:

    Is it really 7t baking powder?

    • Heather- I doubled the original recipe which called for 4 t. So technically I left one teaspoon out. I’ve made this recipe 4 times in the last two weeks, and 7 teaspoons didn’t seem to be too much, although it sounded like a lot to me at first as well!

  8. They look great! I’ve had my share of hockey pucks and other things my husband wouldn’t look at after the first taste. I’ll give these a try this week with my grandkids – :-)

  9. I let the flour mixture soak covered for 18 hours and the outer part of the dough had a black/purple tinge to it. The inside was a normal doughy color. I threw it out as I was worried it was mold. Do you think it was? Did I let it soak too long? I’m new to soaking flours! :)

    • Hi Sue-
      Personally, I don’t think it was mold. It almost sounds like the “hooch” that often develops on the top of spent sourdough starter. It’s not bad, just waste products of the yeast and bacteria.
      But, I’ve never had that happen before! I know many people consider it perfectly acceptable to soak for that length of time- is your house really warm?
      I guess I would go by the smell- if it were to smell bad or putrid, then definitely toss it.
      Sorry it didn’t work out this time- hope you’ll try again! :)

    • Just coming here to ask about this! I wasn’t able to finish the recipe for 18 hrs, and used clabbered milk. It had a greyish/blackish tinge to it that looked a bit scary, beyond the normal amount of good bacteria I’m used to seeing! (Although I’m new to soaking flour/grains so didn’t know if this is normal!) I cooked them anyway, figuring a 425 degree oven would kill off anything harmful! We’re eating them now, and they’re very yummy, but still have the grey areas….

      • Hmmm… that is just too weird! I’ve never had that happen, but, my house is generally very, very cool… Glad they still taste good, though. Going to have to do some more research on this!

  10. Oh, OK. It didn’t smell bad. Yes, it may have been because I have a wood stove in the kitchen; maybe it was too warm there, especially overnight. I’m going to give it another try tonight, leave it in a cooler room and not let it soak as long. I’ll let you know how I make out!

    • Sue- I wouldn’t be surprised if all the heat from the wood stove just made the soaking process go that much faster. Please let me know how your next batch turns out- I’m very curious!

  11. Jill, I made the bisquits last night and they were delicious! They did not turn any abnormal color! I’m not sure if it was the heat or I let them soak too long the first time around, but this time I put them in a cooler area (not in the same room as the wood stove) and made them after 12 hours. So yes, they were successful and very good! Thank you for the wonderful recipe; it’s a keeper!

    • Sue, I am so glad the second batch worked out! Thanks so much for letting me know how it turned out. :)

  12. Melissa says:

    I just found this recipe yesterday. I need to use up some of my cultured buttermilk, so I decided to put these on to soak last night. I must confess this was the first time I had soaked my grains. I have been grinding my own wheat for over a year now, but hadn’t move on to soaking them yet. I was a little scared about dairy sitting out overnight. (I just started culturing my own buttermilk and creme fraiche, so I guess I am over the “dairy-sitting-out-all-night” thing.) :-) The biscuits turned out fabulous this morning! I have a good recipe for regular (white flour) buttermilk biscuits, and they turn out great. My oldest son said these were better than my regular biscuits! :-) These were very soft, almost delicate. We enjoyed them very much!

    • Good for you Melissa!
      I totally understand about getting over the “dairy sitting at room temp” deal too. We have been so conditioned that it goes “bad” and will kill us… (Well, I guess pasteurized milk does get pretty nasty sitting out, but real milk is a whole ‘nother deal!)

      So glad you enjoyed the biscuits. That makes me happy! :)

  13. Pavil, the Uber Noob says:

    Since you are soaking with an acid like buttermilk, you might get more bang for the buck using soda instead of baking powder. Remember the little experiments as a kid mixing vinegar & soda? :)

    Ciao, Pavil

    • Yes, my sister and I did LOTS of those experiments as kids! Thanks for the suggestion!

      • How much baking soda should I use in that case? A tablespoon comes to mind but I really don’t know :-)

    • I make 1 Tablespoon of aluminum free baking powder using
      •1 teaspoon baking soda
      •2 teaspoons cream of tartar (a byproduct of winemaking)
      •1 teaspoon corn starch (optional)

  14. These look absolutely fabulous! I wish I had one for breakfast this morning!

  15. Heather says:

    HEY! I can’t wait to try these! And I just came across your blog!! WONDERFUL! But I have a quick question…Is it safe for pregnant women to eat breads/flours that were soaked in dairy…milk, yogurt or buttermilk? I’ve tried water before, but I think the acid in buttermilk or yogurt will break it down even better. Just curious as to what you think!

    • Of course, I’m not a doctor, but I would personally have ZERO problem eating items that were soaked in dairy while pregnant. Probably would be better for you in the long run, anyway. I also plan to continue drinking raw milk during my next pregnancy too. ;)

  16. Jill, do you have a recipe for your sausage gravy? I love to make it but I don’t like using white flour very often so I don’t have to too often. I’ve debated making some sprouted flour and making it with that but I haven’t tried it yet.

    • Hi Katie,
      I don’t have a recipe up yet, but it’s on my list! I have made mine with whole wheat flour before, but I think sprouted flour would be even better. I don’t really like eating the whole wheat flour without any sort of soaking or much cooking. It’s gotta be hard on the digestive system. Look for the gravy recipe coming soon, though!

  17. I like your recipes and am new to soaking flours but will try this. Am I missing the print icons on this website? I don’t see where I can print out your recipes.

  18. I just had to comment on your homemade biscut cutters. Until I got in to highschool i didn’t know there was such a thing as a biscut cutter, I thought everyone used a glass. And doughnuts were made with a glass and I used a pop bottle lid to make the hole. I put this in past tense, but honestly I still do not own a biscut cutter or a doughnut cutter…..

    • Hey Sweet Mama,

      Just wanted to pass on something I learned that I found interesting. Obviously, using a glass works and has been done over & over, but biscuit cutters aren’t an unnecessary do-dad. Because the cutter is made of thin metal (or whatever) with a sharp edge, it actually cuts the dough instead of pressing it down and pinching the edges of your biscuit. Your biscuits rise much higher when using a cutter because it doesn’t have to fight that smooshed down edge. Just passing that on!

  19. Has anyone tried cutting butter in flour first then soaking these biscuits? Maybe it would make the biscuits more fluffier- just a thought

  20. I have a batch of these soaking for tomorrow – I’m hoping (against hope) that soaking *might* possibly reduce the reaction I have to gluten. I’m not wildly optimistic, but it’s surely worth a try! I miss biscuits and breads so much.

    If it doesn’t work out, my husband will surely eat what I can’t. :)

    • I hope so too Erin! You’ll have to keep me posted. Gluten is such a tough thing to be intolerant too… :/

  21. Hi Jill
    Thanks again for such a wonderful site. I’ve shared your link on my FB page.

  22. Hi, Jill… I can’t have dairy… do you think using an alternative ‘milk’ would work? coconut, almond, rice, etc..?

  23. I used freshly ground spelt flour and soaked it in milk kefir….they turned out awesome! Thanks so much!

  24. Hi Jill;
    What a lovely site! I arrived here via Moneysaving Mom and your guest post on making homemade beans (since retweeted and pinned.) My parents were budding homesteaders and I have wonderful memories of growing up on 40 acres in Southern Ontario….I think your daughter is blessed to grow up in such an environment. Will try this recipe for biscuits -sounds like a good one, and I look forward to reading more of your posts!
    Sarita

    • Hello Sarah! Glad to see you here from Money Saving Mom! I think you’ll like the biscuit recipe- it’s had great reviews so far! And thanks for the RT and pin!!

  25. These biscuits sound great but am I the only one who has no idea what Sucanat is?

  26. Daphney says:

    We made these this morning (after soaking all night) and while my 4 littles ones eat them all up, I was asked where I learned how to make these. I said, a nice lady on the internet shared her recipe. Then, my 3 year old daughter said, “Thank you lady for sharing this recipe!” while looking up at the ceiling with her arms raised. I told her I would let you know that the biscuits were a hit! :)

  27. Hi, I was wondering something. If I want to make these around 5 pm or so but will not be awake that early can I start soaking them at night before bed, say around 11 pm? Thanks

  28. This is the best soaked biscuit recipe I have ever tried. I actually think it is the most delicious biscuit I have ever eaten in my life period! I do have one question. My husband and my daughter both complained of upset stomach after eating them. I thought they might have both been getting a stomach bug and that it was a coincidence but the second it e I made them I got a very upset stomach and spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Is this caused by the large amount of baking powder? I was wondering if there was any way to minimize this. Thanks.

    • Hmmm…. Well, honestly, we quit consuming soaked stuff for this reason. :( Hubby always complained of an upset tummy after I would make soaked wheat stuff. I need to do more research still- but for now, I don’t really soak anything.
      Sorry they didn’t sit well with you guys!

  29. To prevent my biscuits, cookies, rolls, etc from getting too dark on the bottom before they have finished baking, I slip a second cookie sheet under the first one, works every time.

  30. These look delicious, and I’m planning them for breakfast in the morning. I laughed at your hockey puck comment because that sounds just like something my husband would say. Thanks for the early timer tip to prevent that.

  31. Hi Jill,

    I was wondering if these biscuits would freeze well? Could you freeze them before baking. I have been searching for a “freezer biscuit” recipe. I’m fairly new to baking breads and don’t know much about how freezing would affect them rising….

    Thanks!

    • If I were to freeze them, I’d freeze then after they were baked. BUT honestly–we’ve never had any leftovers long enough for me to try freezing!

  32. Wow! I tried these tonight and even though I rolled them too thin they were amazing! I can’t wait to try them again with other types of flour. So yummy!

  33. when will your kindle version be out?

  34. I was wondering if you have used less butter or lard for the soaked version. When you use Lard, are they just as flaky? Not only am I trying to feed my family WHOLE foods….but I am also trying to keep my weight down, so 1/2 cup of butter or lard is a tad alarming to me. :) What if I added more buttermilk or clabbered milk in it’s place?

  35. Hoi Jill,
    Thanks to Facebook I learned about your site. I really like it a lot. Especially the recipes. I have one question about them. You’re writing about degrees but is it Farhenheit or Celsius? I’m Dutch and here we use Celsius which is a bit different:-). I guess it’s better to be sure than sorry:-))Thanks again for your lovely site.
    Greetings from the Netherlands,
    Heika

  36. Made the unsoaked version this morning. They were delicious!! However the recipe calls for 1 c flour and 1 c milk. I used only half a cup and they were perfect.
    What does the baking powder do?? Another biscuit recipe i use calls for 3c flour and only 1tsp more baking powder. Wondered what would happen if i used less…

  37. I noticed the two non-soaked recipes said you could use soured milk; but the soaked recipe did not – is there a reason for this? Thanks :)

    • The soaked version needs the added acidity of the whey or buttermilk to help break down the grains. However, if your milk is soured enough, it will also be acidic and can still work.

  38. These look so good but I made them tonight and mine don’t look anything like yours! I will definitely give it a few more tries! They tasted okay. I think I over mixed? And didn’t make them thick enough? How many biscuits does this make? Roughly since we’re cutting them with different things!

    • It might be that you overmixed them–it’s hard to tell without me seeing them. ;) I think I usually get a dozen or so out of this recipe.

  39. Am I missing something here? I made this for the first time (unsoaked) and the recipe measurements must be wrong. 1 c of flour to 1 cup of milk? It was a soupy mess, I doubled the flour and it was more like a wet dough. They are in the oven now, insure hope they turned out, esp since I had to work it more because of adding more flour

  40. Hi Jill, i made these biscuits this morning and had never heard of non aluminum baking powder…so i used what i had. NOW i know the difference…they are very ‘tinny’ tasting. Just wondering why now, my baked goods would taste ‘tinny’ i have never experienced it before. Could my baking powder have now gone bad? was it because i used whey and not buttermilk? curious if you have any thoughts on the matter or the mixture i used. Laura

    • I use non-aluminum baking powder b/c I don’t like the health effects of aluminum in my food. I don’t recall foods ever tasting “tinny” though.