It's been a long hard road to get to good biscuits. Many (and I do mean many) recipes have been tried and there have been many (and I do mean many) disappointments. But thankfully Slate.com's Thanksgiving post on biscuits/rolls came through. A yeast-y biscuit that doesn't require a long wait time and they are buttery and fluffy as the day is long. Finally, the biscuit odyssey is complete!
Yield: 25-30 biscuits
Time: About 45 minutes
2 1/4 ounce packets active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter
2 cups buttermilk
1. Heat the oven 425 degrees F. Combine the yeast with 1/4 cup warm water- about the same temperature as the inside of your wrist- in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add 1 cup (2 sticks) of the butter and blend with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk and the yeast mixture and stir until just combined, then transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead 5 or 6 times (don't over knead!).
3. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it's 3/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter or class and transfer to an ungreased baking sheet with the edges of the rounds touching. Gather up the dough scraps, roll them out, and repeat. Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes.
4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave.) Brush the biscuits with the melted butter. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm.