In this installment of Sue and Ruth Ann’s cooking lessons, Sue’s Baking Powder Biscuits take center stage. I find it interesting that When Sue Began to Cook waits until nearly the middle of the book to introduce biscuits. In many beginning cookbooks it appears as the first recipe that a young cook learns. It was that important to the vintage kitchen.
Hardly a week went by without seeing fresh biscuits on the table. Biscuits with butter appeared with dinner. Biscuits with jam appeared at breakfast, luncheon, and teatime. The recipe at the end of this post makes it easy for you to make Sue’s Baking Powder Biscuits, too.
This is Lesson 23 of When Sue Began to Cook, a cookbook from 1924 in the Bettina’s Best Recipes series. If you’re new to the series, click on the link to visit Lesson 1. This book contains a story along with the cooking lessons and you don’t want to miss anything!
Sue’s Diary from Biscuit Saturday
I really think this was the most interesting cooking lesson we’ve had yet!
Mother has often told us that it is very important to a cook to know how to make good baking-powder biscuits, because you use the recipe in so many ways. For meat pie, for instance, and strawberry shortcake, and those good little “roll-em-ups” that Grandmother makes. And oh, lots of other things. So I can tell you we were excited when Mother said we might try baking powder biscuits today.
I supposed biscuits would be very hard to do! But they weren’t, not one bit. They were easy. And it was such fun to see the fat brown little biskittens coming out of the oven looking for all the world like Mother’s own!
Mother says most people work too hard over them and handle them too much. And the main thing to remember is to handle them just as little as possible. And never, never use a rolling pin!
We ate up all of Ruth Ann’s as well as mine for lunch. And Ruth Ann said she was going straight home and make some more at her Grandmother’s for dinner, just for practice. (I hope she won’t learn to make such perfect ones that she’ll get ‘way ahead of me.)
Sue’s Baking Powder Biscuits
- 2 cups flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp lard
- ⅔ cup milk
- Mother had Ruth Ann and me each measure out our flour and our baking powder and our salt into a flour sifter and put it through twice.
- Then we each emptied the mixture into our own mixing bowl. Then we measured the lard very carefully in on top of the flour mixture.
- Then we each took our funny little spatula and cut the lard right into the flour. (Mother showed us how.) It took quite a while, but when it was all flaky and nicely mixed, we added the milk slowly and went on mixing with the knife.
- After the milk was all mixed in, Mother had us press the mixture softly into kind of a little ball of dough, not handling it much, and lift it out onto the mixing board that we had sprinkled with a little flour.
- We each patted our dough ball down with our fingers into a shape about half an inch thick. Then we each took a biscuit cutter, dipped it in a little flour, and cut out biscuits with it.
- Ruth Ann and I each had about fourteen biscuits. We each lifted these into a pie pan, (no, we didn't flour or butter it) and baked them in a moderately hot oven for from twelve to fifteen minutes.Note: Moderate oven = 375 degrees F.