High-Altitude Buttermilk Biscuits

Biscuits are my favorite. 

When I moved to New Mexico, the altitude put a major damper on my biscuit-making abilities. One year, I made a pact to myself: I was going to master high-altitude biscuits! (It's good to have goals.) I tinkered with my tried-and-true sea level recipe and ended up with these. They are quick enough that I can whip up the dough and have the biscuits ready to go by the time my oven preheats, buttery, and moist and flaky all at once. I make these nearly every Sunday morning - such an easy, delicious treat. 

High Altitude Buttermilk Biscuits

I live about a mile above sea level and this recipe should work well without adjustments for anyone in the 4,000 - 6,000 feet range. Higher or lower than that and you may need to make adjustments - for lower altitudes, try increasing the baking powder by 1/2 tsp. For higher, decrease it by 1/2 tsp. I'd also recommend increasing the buttermilk a TBSP at a time for higher altitudes.

takes: 22 minutes               makes: 6 biscuits

ingredients: 

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 TBSP butter - very cold and cut into cubes (I slice into tablespoons then quarter. Keep it cold!)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk (if it's extra dry you may need a few TBSP more)

instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Crumble in the cold, cubed butter - I dump the cubes into the flour mix and quickly crumble with my hands.
  4. Gently stir in buttermilk - start with 3/4 cup and add more a TBSP at a time until the dough has just come together.
  5. Turn out dough onto a floured, flat surface and lightly press into a ball to make sure that it's sticking together. Dust the top with flour and then lightly press into a 1" thick round.
  6. Cut out biscuits - I use a wide-mouth ball jar. You'll likely be able to cut out about five biscuits from your initial round, and then you can gently form the scrap edges into your sixth biscuit. Place onto a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes, until top of biscuits are lightly golden brown.

Whether you top these with butter and jam, or a sausage gravy, or slice them in half and make a little breakfast sandwich, or just eat them plain (I've happily done all of the above). Enjoy!