Old-Fashioned Lard Biscuits
These old-fashioned lard biscuits are incredibly easy to make! With only 6 ingredients and a few simple steps the results are perfectly tender and flaky. Pair these with my classic sausage gravy for the best breakfast!
Why make lard biscuits?
- Biscuits made with lard are incredibly tender, soft, and the most flaky kind of biscuit you will ever have.
- Lard biscuits can be enjoyed sweet or savory! Top them with sweet jam, savory eggs, or (my favorite) sausage gravy.
Ingredient Functions and Substitutions
Flour: Flour is the main structure for these biscuits. All-purpose is recommended but you can also make biscuits using self-rising flour.
Baking Powder: Baking powder does most of the leavening in the biscuit. It gives the biscuit the rise and some fluffiness.
Baking Soda: You might be wondering why baking soda is needed if this recipe already contains baking powder. While baking powder does the heavy lifting, the baking soda balances out the acidic ingredients.
Salt: Salt is what gives these biscuits flavor. It’s not so much that it makes these biscuits too savory. In fact, these biscuits are perfect topped with a sweet jam or salty eggs.
Buttermilk: The buttermilk in this recipe is what gives moisture and holds everything together. Because buttermilk is cultured, it has an acidic quality to it. I personally love the tang that buttermilk brings to biscuits. If you do not have any on hand, you can easily make a substitute!
Put 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and add enough milk to the measuring cup until it measures 1 cup. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes before adding it to your dough.
You can also use a non-dairy milk substitute but it may affect the flavor of the biscuits.
Leaf Lard: The lard in this recipe is the star! Leaf lard comes from the fatty parts around a pig’s kidneys. It is obtained through a process called rendering. It’s creamier and more popular in baking than other types of lard. The lard coats the flour creating a fluffy, tender, and very flaky biscuit.
If you are looking for a vegetarian-friendly biscuit recipe, you can easily substitute the lard in this recipe for unsalted butter or vegetable shortening.
All Butter Biscuits: if you really love the flavor of butter or can’t find lard, you can easily swap the lard in this recipe for unsalted butter. Dice up the butter into small cubes and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Butter and Lard Biscuits: if you prefer the taste of butter but want the flakiness and tenderness of a lard biscuit, swap half of the lard in this recipe with butter.
How to make Old-Fashioned Lard Biscuits
STEP 1: Combine dry ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
STEP 2: Cut in the lard
Add the cold lard to the mixing bowl and cut it into the flour mixture. I like to use a pastry cutter to cut the fat through. You could also use a fork or even your hands but you want to make sure the fat stays very cold and your hands can start warming the temperature. As soon as the mixture resembles coarse meal you are ready to add the liquid.
STEP 3: Mix in the buttermilk
Pour all of the buttermilk into the bowl at once and gently stir together. I like to use a wooden spoon for this but you could use a rubber spatula if you like. Stir just until the mixture is all one mass but not until smooth. You want it to be lumpy and you don’t want to stir very much. It usually only takes me about 5-6 stirs to get here. The mixture is going to look very wet.
STEP 4: Shape the dough
Flour a clean work surface and your hands. Gently gather all of the dough and place it on the floured surface. Now, using your hands, pat the dough out to about a 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick disc. You may need to dust a bit of flour on top of the dough. Fold the dough in half and then turn it 90 degrees. Pat out and fold again for a total of 6 times. This process is creating layers that will create flaky biscuits.
Step 5: Cut out the biscuits
Press the dough out to about 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick and use a round cutter to cut out your biscuits. When cutting out, dip your cutter in flour, press straight down, and pull it back up without twisting it. Gently pat the scraps together to cut out the rest of your biscuits.
Step 6: Bake
I like to place my biscuits in a cake pan very close together to bake. I believe this helps the biscuits climb on each other and in the pan to rise more. You can also bake them on a parchment-lined sheet pan with their sides touching.
Once baked, you can brush with melted butter or top with sausage gravy!
What is lard?
The word lard is actually a general term that refers to fat from a pig. In cooking or baking, this is usually the rendered fat from a pig. The premium fat that is used for rendering lard is called leaf lard. Leaf lard comes from the fat that surrounds the kidneys and inside the loin of the pig.
The result of properly rendered lard is a white, creamy shortening (a fat that is solid at room temperature and liquid at warmer temperatures).
Where can I get lard?
You can buy lard from a butcher or farmer. You may find it in a specialty store, however I’ve never seen it at my regular grocery store. If you ask a butcher, make sure you ask for rendered lard otherwise, you might receive a whole piece of fat tissue.
You can render your own lard by breaking down the fat, heating it, and straining it. Doing it yourself is incredibly simple to do and will give you a very pure fat without hydrogenated oils (which is often found in processed lard).
Prep & Storage
How to prep ahead: Make the biscuit dough the day (or 2-3 days) before serving. Prepare as directed, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or in a buttered cake pan) and wrap with plastic wrap. When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and bake directly from the refrigerator.
How to store in the refrigerator (or at room temperature): Biscuits are best eaten fresh, but they can also be stored after completely cooled at room temperature and wrapped in foil for 2 days.
How to store in the freezer: Freeze the biscuits raw and bake straight from frozen at 425°F/220°C for 18-21 minutes, until baked through.
- 240 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 10 grams (1 tablespoon) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 6 grams (1 ¼ teaspoon) kosher salt
- 85 grams (6 tablespoons) leaf lard, cold
- 240 grams (1 cup, 240 milliliters) buttermilk, cold
- Position an oven rack to the center position and preheat to 450°F/230°C.
- Spray a cake pan with non-stick spray or line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Measure out all ingredients. Keep the lard and buttermilk in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To Make the Biscuits:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour (240 grams, 2 cups), baking powder (1 tablespoon), baking soda (¼ teaspoon), and salt (6 grams, 1 ¼ teaspoon).
- Add the cold lard (85 grams, 6 tablespoons) to the mixing bowl and cut it into the flour mixture. To do this, press down on the fat with the wires of the pastry blender or the tines of a fork as you move it around the bowl. Continue cutting the fat into the flour until most of the pieces of fat are about the size of peas with some pieces being about the size of a walnut half.
- Add the cold buttermilk (240 grams, 1 cup) into the bowl and stir with a spoon or a silicone spatula just until combined. This should only take a few turns. The dough will be pretty wet and sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Dust flour over the top of the dough. With floured hands bring the dough together into one mass.
- Pat the dough out (do not roll with a rolling pin) until it is about 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick. Using a bench knife (or a metal spatula can be helpful if you do not have a bench knife), fold the dough in half and then turn it 90 degrees. Pat out and fold again for a total of 6 times. This process is creating layers that will create flaky biscuits.
- Press the dough out to about 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick and use a round cutter that is about 2.5-inches (6 cm) in diameter to cut out your biscuits. When cutting out, dip your cutter in flour, press straight down, and pull it back up without twisting it. Twisting can seal the edge of your biscuit, not allowing it to rise fully. Gently pat the scraps together to cut out the rest of your biscuits. Alternatively, you can pat the dough into a rectangle and use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 8 rectangular-shaped biscuits.
- Place the biscuits in the prepared cake pan or baking sheet with the edges touching so they will rise up against each other.
- As an optional step, place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking. This will ensure that your biscuits will not spread too much and will allow your oven to fully pre-heat.
- Bake at 450°F/230°C for 13-15 minutes until golden brown. Do not open the oven door for at least the first half of baking time. You want the steam to stay trapped in the oven to help with the rise.
- Brush biscuits with melted butter or top with sausage gravy.
If you do not have buttermilk on hand you can make "soured milk" by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a measuring cup and adding enough regular milk to make 1 cup. Combine and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0