Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups of flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 450F. Lay parchment paper on a medium to large baking sheet. In medium to large bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to incorporate it some. Drop in the 1/4 vegetable shortening and use two butter knives to "cut in" the shortening to the flour mixture. This means using the knives in a scissoring motion, drawing them apart to cut the shortening and let the flour mixture coat the shortening. Ultimately, the shortening should be pea sized or smaller and well incorporated. At this point, pour in the milk and use your hands to gently turn the mixture into a dough (nitrile gloves help with clean-up). It will be a pretty solid, dry dough. I sometimes have to add another shot of milk to get all of the dry flour mixed in. A word of caution: work the dough as little as possible. The more you work it, the tougher the biscuits will be.
2. Turn the dough out on a clean, lightly floured surface and press out to about 1/2 inch thick. Some recipes call for kneading here. I don't do this and don't recommend it. You can use a rolling pin if you want, but I find that an unnecessary extra thing to clean.
3. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the size you prefer, I like at least a 3 inch diameter one (2 inch will work, too). Move each dough round to the parchment lined baking sheet. Press them together for soft-sided biscuits, or apart for crusty sides. You can press the left over trimmings together and re-cut and then press the last bit of dough into the cutter to use it all, but remember to work it as little as possible.
4. Put the baking sheet loaded with the pre-biscuits into the oven and bake for 12 - 15 minutes. I usually set the oven to 12 minutes and check it. In my oven, 13 is the lucky number.. When the tops start to brown slightly, pull the biscuits out. In order to make sure the bottoms of the biscuits stay tender, take them off the sheet right away. If you let them sit on the hot baking sheet, they will continue to cook and the bottoms will be hard and tough. Brush with melted butter if you're into that kind of thing.
This will make about 8 biscuits cut with a 3 inch cutter at 1/2 inch dough round.
Now, stop reading and go enjoy!
Oh, yes... best served covered with sausage black pepper cream gravy. But that's another post.