One cook recalls her great-grandmother’s recommendation for whacking biscuit dough 500 times with an axe for company biscuits; 200 times for everyday rounds.
A century later, a biscuit-break, resembling a washing machine wringer, made dough-beating easier.
Today, I make use of food processor blades to produce flat, tender biscuits.
1/2 cup milk, well chilled
1/3 cup water, well chilled
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon each: sugar, baking powder, salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cut into 4 tablespoons
Combine the milk and water in a measuring cup; add an ice cube to keep mixture cool; set aside. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse twice to combine. Add the shortening; pulse until well blended.
Remove the ice cube from the milk/water mixture; slowly pour the mixture the the processor feed tube; process until mixture comes together. (Dough should still have a shiny finish.)
Transfer dough to a floured surface; shape into a disc. Cover with a tea towel. Set aside 10 minutes.
Uncover dough; roll to a thickness of 1/2 inches. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter or buttered and lightly floured glass, placing biscuits on lightly-greased baking sheets. Make 9 holes in each biscuit by piercing each 3 times with the tines of a fork. (Reroll and cut any excess dough.)
Bake until edges and tops just begin to brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Makes about 24 biscuits.