Drop biscuits are a classic Southern quick bread. I use sour cream and butter in place of lard and milk. They’re incredibly easy to make even if you don’t consider yourself to be a baker, and the basic recipe can easily be modified by changing the spices and add-ins.
Makes 6 biscuits
1 cup all purpose flour (120 grams)‡
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (7 grams)*
1/2 tsp salt (5 grams)
1/4 cup salted butter (55 grams), melted
3/4 cup sour cream (180 grams)
2 tsp water (10 grams)
2 tsp Blue Grass N12
a small handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 scallions, thinly sliced
‡ If you can find it, a lower protein soft winter wheat flour makes a more tender biscuit. If you make biscuits all the time (you might after trying this recipe), you can even buy self rising flour that has the baking powder and salt mixed in already. A classic Southern one is White Lily.
* If you don’t have baking powder you can make it by mixing 2 parts cream of tartar and 1 part baking soda. I recommend making only what you will use immediately as it will deteriorate over time
• Preheat your oven to 400°F, or 375°F if you have a convection oven, and position a rack in the middle. Grease a half sheet pan with butter or cooking spray.
• Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. If you really want to save time and make biscuits often I recommend having self-rising flour on hand. In this case just measure out a cup 🙂
• Drizzle the butter over the flour and mix gently with a spatula.
• Mix all remaining ingredients together and add them to the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated but don’t over mix. The idea is to minimize gluten activation so you end up with a more tender rather than chewy biscuit.
• Using the spatula scoop blobs onto the sheet pan, leaving about 2″ between biscuits and between from sides of the pan.
• Bake for 12-15 minutes (ovens vary a bit), until golden brown on top. Cool briefly and serve warm. I like to serve to serve these with honey butter made with Aleppo pepper. Just mix half a stick of softened butter with 1 Tbsp honey and 1/2 tsp Aleppo.
• Substitute the Blue Grass, scallion, and cheddar with:
- 2 tsp Mishmish, small handful of dried fruit of your choice, small handful chopped nuts of your choice
- 2 tsp Salvador, 3 pieces of finely chopped cooked bacon, and one minced shallot
- 2 tsp Chios, 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic, 1/2 of a small scrubbed lemon, finely chopped (include peel and fruit), reduce water to 1 tsp
• Herbed garlic bread biscuits (pictured): substitute half of the butter with olive oil, to the sour cream and water add; 2 tsp Riviera Herbs or Sicilian oregano, 2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic, 2 tsp ground dried garlic, and a small handful of shredded parmigiano reggiano. After you scoop out the biscuits brush with olive oil and top with panko before baking.
• Brown butter miso biscuits: brown the butter (place it in a bowl with a plate on top and microwave for 2 minutes, check continue cooking in 30 second intervals until it’s nutty smelling and browned, you can do this on the stovetop too but I find the microwave easier). Add to the flour and then add to the sour cream/water: 2 tsp Lula N41, 2 tsp white miso.
Fun to try
• You can bake the biscuits more tightly together in a small cast iron pan. Grease the pan and space the 6 biscuits about 1/2 inch apart from one another. I like to brush the top with a bit of melted butter to aid browning. They will rise a bit more.
• For a flakier biscuit shred the butter using a box grater instead of melting it. You’ll get a bit more of a layered texture like you do in puff pastry.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue
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