I woke up a few weeks ago dreaming of biscuits, so I spent an inordinate amount of time searching the internet for recipes. I have a biscuit recipe from Tassajara that I've used quite a few times and it's pretty good but I don't believe in being 100% faithful to recipes, even my tried and true ones. Sometimes it pays to stray.
I am so, so glad I cheated.
I stumbled on this Alton Brown recipe that uses buttermilk (vs. the cream the Tassajara recipe calls for). I almost never have buttermilk on hand, but I always have full fat Greek yogurt, so I mixed a couple tablespoons into regular milk and it worked just fine. I also used all butter, rather than butter/shortening. I'm sure that if you have all the correct ingredients it's even more delicious, but considering the fact that I made these twice in a one week period, I don't think it's critical.
I also love that the recipe is very easily halved, so I can easily make a small batch (although you can always freeze unbaked biscuits and bake them later). The recipe below is how I made a small batch.
Best buttermilk biscuits (my adapted recipe for a mini batch, makes 4 - 6 biscuits, depending on how big you go, original recipe from here)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional - I like a little bit of sugar in my biscuits)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1 tbsp Greek yogurt + milk to 1/2 cup, whisk well)
:: Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
:: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
:: Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter, the food processor, or your hands (as long as you don't run hot - warm hands ruin pastry). The mixture should look like crumbs, with small pieces of butter intact.
:: Pour in the "buttermilk" and stir until the dough just comes together (I always use a rubber spatula for this).
:: Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat into a rectangle, then gently fold the dough over on itself 5 - 6 times (you're creating layers here - if you haven't done this before watch the video in the original recipe for a demonstration).
:: Pat down into a rectangle at least 1" high and then cut into 4 (or 6) squarish pieces. You can also opt to make circles and then re-roll the scraps, but the second pass won't be as tender, so I go with squares and save myself the trouble.
Add some egg, cheese and bacon and these make the ultimate breakfast sandwiches.