Now this is the way my grandmother made biscuits. I can still see them coming out of the oven and her brushing the tops with homemade melted butter. Of course she made them with homemade buttermilk also. I can't make biscuits. The only reason I tried this recipe was because I'd just made a new batch of Homemade Baking Powder. Well let me tell you, I impressed myself. These came out wonderful.
You have to start with good very cold lard, fresh, very cold buttermilk, and a very hot oven. Work the fat into the flour with your fingers; stir together and knead the dough as little as possible; don't twist the biscuit cutter when stamping them out; and finally, place them on the baking sheet as close together as you can without touching.
Hot Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits
about 15 2 1/2-inch biscuits
Thanks to The Gift of Southern Cooking
5 cups sifted White Lily flour (measured after sifting
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon Homemade Baking Powder (you can use store bought)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1/2 pound) packed lard, chilled (I still don't know how to make it)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, very cold
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. That is not a misprint.
Put the flour, homemade baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl, and whisk well to blend thoroughly. Add the lard, and, working quickly, coat it in flour and rub between your fingertips until approximately half the lard is finely blended and the other half remains in large pieces, about 1/2 inch in size. Pour in the buttermilk, and stir quickly just until the dough is blended and begins to mass.
Turn the dough immediately out onto a floured surface, and with floured hands knead briskly eight to ten times, until it becomes cohesive.
Gently flatten the dough with your hands into a disk of even thinness; then, using a floured rolling pin, roll it out to a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch. With a dinner fork dipped in flour, pierce the dough completely through at 1/2-inch intervals. Lightly flour a 2 1/2 to 3-inch biscuit cutter and stamp out rounds, without twisting the cutter in the dough. Cut the biscuits from the dough as close together as you can, for maximum yield. Transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet, placing them so they just barely kiss. Don't reroll the scraps. Just arrange them around the edge of the sheet, and bake them - cook's treat.
Put the baking sheet immediately on the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake 10-12 minutes, checking after 6 minutes or so, and turning the pan if needed for even baking. When the biscuits are golden brown, remove from the oven and brush the tops with the melted butter.