Makes 12 to 14 (2 1⁄ 2-inch) biscuits

Sour cream biscuits are among the easiest of all the biscuits to make. Using a homemade or commercial self-rising flour makes it easier again, as then only two ingredients are needed. The acid in the milk products tenderizes the biscuits as well as activates the baking powder already incorporated in the flour. This recipe is enormously easy and makes exceedingly tender, moist, and fluffy biscuits with a tang. They have a great rise, to about three times their height.

2 1/4 cups commercial or home made self-rising flour, divided

1 1/4 cups sour cream, divided

Softened butter, for brushing.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Select the baking pan by determining if a soft or crisp exterior is desired. For a soft exterior, use an 8- or 9-inch cake pan, pizza pan, or oven-proof skillet where the biscuits will nestle together snugly, creating the soft exterior while baking. For a crisp exterior, select a baking sheet or other baking pan where the biscuits can be placed wider apart, allowing air to circulate and creating a crisper exterior, and brush the pan with butter.

Fork-sift or whisk 2 cups of the flour in a large bowl, preferably wider than it is deep, and set aside the remaining 1⁄4 cup. Make a deep hollow in the center of the flour with the back of your hand. Pour 1 cup of sour cream into the hollow, reserving the remaining 1⁄4 cup, and stir with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon, using broad circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the sour cream. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Use the reserved sour cream as needed to incorporate the remaining flour into the shaggy wettish dough. If the dough is too wet, use more flour when shaping. Lightly sprinkle a board or other clean surface using some of the reserved flour. Turn the dough out onto the board and sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour. With floured hands, fold the dough in half, and pat dough out into a 1⁄3- to 1⁄2-inch-thick round, using a little additional flour only if needed. Flour again if necessary, and fold the dough in half a second time. If the dough is still clumpy, pat and fold a third time. Pat dough out into a 1⁄2-inchthick round for a normal biscuit, 3⁄4-inch-thick for a tall biscuit, and 1-inch-thick for a giant biscuit. Brush off any visible flour from the top. For each biscuit, dip a 2 1⁄2-inch biscuit cutter into the reserved flour and cut out the biscuits, starting at the outside edge and cutting very close together, being careful not to twist the cutter. The scraps may be combined to make additional biscuits, although these scraps make tougher biscuits. For handshaping and other variations, see pages 24–26.

Using a metal spatula if necessary, move the biscuits to the pan or baking sheet. Bake the biscuits on the top rack of the oven for a total of 8 to 10 minutes until light golden brown. After 4 minutes, rotate the pan in the oven so that the front of the pan is now turned to the back, and check to see if the bottoms are browning too quickly. If so, slide another baking pan underneath to add insulation and retard browning. Continue baking another 4 to 6 minutes until the biscuits are light golden brown. When the biscuits are done, remove from the oven and lightly brush the tops with softened or melted butter. Turn the biscuits out upside down on a plate to cool slightly. Serve hot, right side up.

  • If the sour cream is too thick, add a little milk