Makes about 24
5 cups flour
1 1/2 T baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup crisco or lard
1 stick cold butter, cut into 16 pieces
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 500° F. Yes, 500.
In the bowl of a food processor, measure all the dry ingredients, and pulse 3 times to blend. Add Crisco or lard and process thoroughly (10 seconds). Add butter pieces and pulse several times until the butter is the size of small peas. (At this point the mixture can be refrigerated or frozen indefinitely.)
Empty the mixture into a large bowl. Add buttermilk and stir until combined but raggedy. Dump onto a well-floured counter. Knead a couple of times, pat into a rectangle, roll out a bit, and fold into thirds like a letter. Roll out again and fold into thirds like a letter. Roll out again to a thickness of about a half inch and cut with a 2-3 inch biscuit cutter.
Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake on a high shelf of your oven for five minutes. Rotate. Bake for five more minutes (unless it’s looking too brown–use your judgment). Move to a middle shelf and bake possibly five minutes more until the biscuits are high and light and the bottoms are brown. (If not all your biscuits fit on one sheet, don’t use two–refrigerate the raw ones and wait for the second batch. Two batches at once compromises the rise.)
Eat warm, while reading my essay on The Perfect Biscuit.