Dissatisfied with the poor showing I’ve had on earlier occasions of biscuit making I’m doing some experimental baking for myself. I started with White Lily Self-Rising flour as per Southern tradition as well as the multitudes of recommendations. Since this flour already includes leavening and salt, all that’s required is the liquid and fat. Taking a tip from a Cooks Illustrated recipe, I grated frozen shortening (very snow like in consistency) into the buttermilk a before mixing in the flour.
One mistake I made was preheating the baking sheet before adding the biscuits, the bottoms cooked too quickly.
The shortening version of the recipe produced a nearly cake like biscuit, delightfully fluffy and airy.
I tried the same recipe, using butter instead. The texture was nearly the same, a bit moister I think because of the higher water content in the butter. Flavor was markedly improved(suprise suprise!) and butter imparted a pleasant yellow hue through the biscuit.
Next time I will try to figure out how to get them to rise without spreading out!