Angel biscuits are light, flaky, tender biscuits that are different from standard biscuits because they ride the fence between a quick bread and a yeast bread. They traditionally include not only baking powder but also baking soda….and YEAST. (If these biscuits don’t rise with all that, just throw your oven out the window.) My mother never made yeast biscuits. She always made the regular biscuits I make with my Quick Mix. For a long time, I wondered what were those biscuits people brought to church suppers or I had at someone’s house. I finally discovered that they were yeast biscuits, usually called angel biscuits, and I experimented. Angel biscuits are just a slight, but crucial, deviation from the ordinary biscuit, and I figured out how to make them with my own biscuit recipe.
I’ve included the recipe here to make them from scratch, or with Quick Mix (or another standard baking mix).
Angel biscuits are especially good when you want a “sandwich” biscuit, such as for sausage biscuits. They hold together better (less crumbly) because of the yeasty texture. They are also “fancier” dinner biscuits, or just fun any time you want a different type of biscuit.
For me, they’ll never replace the sentimental and delicious regular biscuit. But there are those times when riding the fence between a quick bread and a yeast bread is just right–and that’s when it’s time for angel biscuits!
How to make Angel Biscuits:
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, shortening, or lard
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
Or replace the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar with 3 1/4 cups of Quick Mix. To vary the amount of dough and make more or less biscuits, per (full) cup of Quick Mix, use:
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon warm water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, shortening, or lard
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
Add yeast to warm water. I put the yeast right in the measuring cup with the water.
Sugar helps yeast to activate, so put a pinch or so in there. I probably put in about 1/8 teaspoon. (It doesn’t really matter–just add a teeny bit.)
Stir it up a little since this is a very small container then let sit.
Your yeast should bubble in a few minutes.
If it doesn’t, I fear for your biscuits. And your bread loaves. And the very foundation of your world. Say, Get thee behind me, Satan, and throw that yeast out because something is wrong with it. Go buy some new yeast.
If your yeast is really good and you leave it sitting too long, it will try to take over the world. Is it just me, or does that look like a face? Two eyes, a nose, a mouth….. Okay, never mind.
Combine flour and other dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in butter, shortening, or lard with a pastry cutter. Add the water/yeast mixture. Go milk your cow then add the milk or buttermilk. (You can skip the milking part if you want.)
Stir to combine. It will seem a little dry–it’s not. Knead lightly, working in all the flour until you have a nice firm but pliable ball of dough. Roll out on a floured surface. Cut biscuits, rolling and re-rolling. Place cut biscuits on a greased cookie sheet and let sit for about 20 minutes.
They’ll rise a little, and more when you put them in the oven.
Bake at 450-degrees approximately 12-15 minutes (depending on size of biscuits).
I used a pretty generously-sized biscuit cutter here and made 11 big biscuits.
Get the butter!