The Secret in Making Light Biscuits

From Calumet Baking Powder: The Secret in Making Light Biscuits, circa 1922

The secret in making light biscuits comes from a cookbook that originally belonged to my grandmother. The cookbook is from 1922 and cost at that time, cost one dollar!

I’ve been going through mountains of old recipe books, pamphlets and hand written notes and find myself fondly remembering some of the dishes, foods and treats I ate as a child.

Biscuits are no exception and no one made them like Grandma! I don’t know for sure if the following recipe is the one she used, but I tried it and they were – literally – mouth watering.

This particular cookbook was created by the manufacturers of Calumet Baking Powder. A screen shot of the books page is below, and the picture of the finished biscuits is also from the cookbook.

The Secret in Making Light Biscuits

Anyone can make good biscuits by following the four principles which govern their production:

  1. Cut in the shortening, as the heat of the hands melts the shortening and more flour gets worked into the dough, toughening it.
  2. Have a very soft dough. Add just enough liquid to combine the flour and dough. Use cold milk or very cold water. Keep dough cool.
  3. Bake in a very hot oven at 450 degrees for about fifteen minutes, depending on size of biscuits.
  4. Use Calumet Baking Powder.

While kneading is good for yeast bread, it will ruin biscuit dough. A stiff baking powder dough kneeded and worked will make poor biscuits, while a soft dough handled lightly will make them tender, light and palatable.

The Biscuit Recipes

Fresh baked biscuits on a plate

Calumet Biscuits Recipe

4 cups flour
4 level teaspoons Calumet Baking Powder
4 level tablespoons butter or lard
1-1/2 cup milk
1 level teaspoon salt

Sift flour once, then measure, add salt and baking powder and sift three times, rub shortening in with fork or spoon, add milk, mix lightly, turn out on a well-floured board and roll or pat one inch thick, cut and bake in a quick oven (450 degrees) fifteen to seventeen minutes.

Twin Biscuits Recipe

Make dough as for Calumet Biscuit. Roll a little less than half an inch in thickness. Brush over with melted butter, and put together in pairs. Bake in quick oven twelve to fifteen minutes at 400 to 450 degrees.

A Screen Shot of the Cookbook Page

(Click to view image at a larger size)

The Secret in Making Light Biscuits
The Secret in Making Light Biscuits

 Keep Your Biscuits Fresh

Now that you’ve made these melt-in-your-mouth light biscuits, be sure to keep them fresh while serving! Do so by keeping a piece of blotting paper at the bottom of the container of biscuits. It will keep your biscuits fresh for a longer period of time.

Keep biscuits fresh
Keep Biscuits Fresh

You may also like the Light and Fluffy Biscuits Recipe from our sister site, Belly Bytes.