Never Fail Lard Baking Powder Biscuits

In the 60’s and 70’s Farm Journal Cookbooks lard is listed as the FIRST choice of fat in this recipe for biscuits. They called them “never fail” so I figured I couldn’t go too far wrong. This is my absolute “go-to” recipe for biscuits. They are perfect every time. The lard makes them crisp and flaky.
The biscuits are very light, as you can see, tender, but not crumbly. Even the ones I patted out to use the scraps were tender. The dough was very easy to work with; I sprinkle my board with flour I keep in a shaker. When you use your biscuit cutter, be sure to cut straight down; do not twist, to get a good even rise and that “split” in the middle of your biscuit.
A word about lard. Don’t use the grocery store lard. Try to buy lard at your nearby locker plant or meat processor – it is the real thing, not hydrogenated.  If you can't find it, Myrna likes the shortening version of this recipe.

Never-Fail Lard Baking Powder Biscuits
4-5 biscuits
1 cup Flour, All-purpose – sifted (4 ½ ounces)
½ tablespoon Baking Powder (1 ½ teaspoons)
½ teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Lard (or shortening)
3/8 cup Milk
8-10 biscuits
2 cups flour – sifted (9 ounces)
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
¼ cup Lard (or shortening)
¾ cup Milk
• Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse meal or crumbs.
• Make a hollow in the flour-shortening mixture and stir in enough milk to make a soft dough that leaves the sided of the bowl and sticks to the mixing fork.
• Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead with the heel of the hand 12 times. Gentle kneading is an important step, to produce good volume, fine flaky texture and good shape and crust. Overkneading with a heavy hand will give your biscuits a tough texture. Roll 1/2" thick.
• Cut with a 2 1/2" cutter; place close together on a baking sheet for soft sides, 1" apart for crusty sides on ungreased baking sheet. I use parchment paper. Let set on pan 5 minutes before baking.
• Bake in very hot oven (450°) for 10-12 minutes. Serve at once.
*If using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt.
"Homemade Bread" By Farm Journal - 1969
2010 cost: 21¢ for the small recipe or 42¢ for the larger recipe or about 4¢ per biscuit
Per Serving: 124 Calories; 5g Fat (36.5% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 6mg Cholesterol; 307mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

22 comments:

  1. Thank you I remember these as a young girl and wanted to make sure I had the correct amount of the ingredients. Will make them tonight! Arizona Shirley

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    Replies
    1. You'll love them...the lard makes them crisp crusted but tender inside.
      My brother-in-law doesn't share his homestead lard with me any more
      after I gave his wife this recipe!

      Delete
  2. Your biscuits look amazing. We just had a hog processed and the butcher talked me into getting the lard. I have never used lard and it sounds so unhealthy, but after some research I am shocked to see that it is acturally healthier than crisco. So your biscuits will be my first project. Thanks.
    Toni

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  3. Replies
    1. If you're talking about the flour - it's not 8 ounces.
      Liquid measures are 8 fluid ounces - that's a measurement, not a weight, as the flour is in this recipe.
      You might want to read this post: Weighing ingredients

      Sue

      Delete
  4. Ok, I give up! I've tried 3 times now and they keep comming out hard, flat and crumbly! Someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong! Arrgggghhhh in NC LOL

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    Replies
    1. To start with, check your baking powder. All you have to do is stir about 1/4 teaspoon of powder into 1/2 cup or so of very hot water. Tap water is fine, and the proportions aren't fussy. It will immediately start to bubble if it's still good. If it doesn't fizz a lot, you may need a new box and check expiration dates at the store when you buy. Buy Clabber Girl or Calumet, not an off brand.
      Then, flour - if you don't weigh it, spoon it GENTLY into the cup after stirring it in the canister. Then level off. Too much flour - crumbly. Cut in your lard a little less. Your dough should clean the bowl but still stick to the fork - if not, a teaspoon or two more milk.
      Don't handle your biscuits too much, stir briefly, knead very lightly, maybe a few less times than you have been doing. Just pat your dough out before cutting.
      Last thing to try, let them stand on the pan 5 or 10 minutes before baking - they should already start to rise a little.
      Good luck.

      Delete
  5. Thanks Sue! I tried another batch this morning with fresh baking powder and cake flour, plus added an egg to the buttermilk. Got much better results with the rising and general overall look, but still a little dry, and the flavor was bland. Will keep trying for Biscuit Perfection! LOL

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  6. THANK YOU! I am from the south, but have failed at biscuit making (which is a little embarrassing). My mom says that her grandma made the most amazing biscuits ever, but she never learned how from her, so it stopped there. I have made these biscuits 3x with lard we bought from a local farm and they have been perfect every time. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Good for you! My husband now tells me he never really loved my biscuits until I tried lard. There is something about lard that makes your biscuits tender in the middle, but gives them a crisp, not soggy crust.

      Delete
  7. i am having difficulty getting a good high rise with these. They are delicious, but they turn out like little hockey pucks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To start with, check your baking powder. All you have to do is stir about 1/4 teaspoon of powder into 1/2 cup or so of very hot water. Tap water is fine, and the proportions aren't fussy. It will immediately start to bubble if it's still good. If it doesn't fizz a lot, you may need a new box and check expiration dates at the store when you buy. Buy Clabber Girl or Calumet, not an off brand.
      Then, flour - if you don't weigh it, spoon it GENTLY into the cup after stirring it in the canister. Then level off. Too much flour - crumbly. Cut in your lard a little less. Your dough should clean the bowl but still stick to the fork - if not, a teaspoon or two more milk.
      Don't handle your biscuits too much, stir briefly, knead very lightly, maybe a few less times than you have been doing. Just pat your dough out before cutting.
      Last thing to try, let them stand on the pan 5 or 10 minutes before baking - they should already start to rise a little.
      Good luck.

      Delete
  8. These turn out great every time! I just shared a link to this via Facebook and it reminded me that this is a blog and I can post here to thank you! Your directions are spot-on - although I admit ... I only knead six times. Like you, I try to make sure not to cut the lard in too fine. Voila - biscuit heaven!
    ~Wendy in Thunder Bay, Canada

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  9. Just made these for breakfast this morning and they are delicious! Ever since Crisco changed their formula, my old standby biscuit and pie crust recipes no longer work. So I've been experimenting with lard and only wish I'd tried it sooner. Great results!

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    Replies
    1. Glad you like them...my husband didn't really like my biscuits until I started using lard like his Mom did!

      Delete
  10. I've been making biscuits (really good biscuits) for many years. This is the first time I've tried lard. I used the store lard as I didn't want to go through the process of finding unprocessed lard before trying this recipe. While blending the lard and dry mix the lard smell was slight but noticeable and unpleasant and I almost abandoned the trial there. Happily I went forward. Truly the most beautiful biscuits I've ever made! They were tender, fluffy with and browned perfectly without using the broiler. I made two changes because I didn't have milk on hand: added 1 1/2 tbs buttermilk powder and used mix of water and half 'n' half for the milk. Wow! These are excellent! Thanks for the recipe and for the 'do not twist' tip when cutting. These make finding fresh lard a Very Important Goal! ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you persisted...they are great, aren't they! My biscuits were OK until I tried lard...then they were perfect.
      Good luck on your lard quest.

      Delete
  11. Any chance these can be made the night before? I am hosting a baby shower brunch and want to serve biscuits. This would make the morning so much easier if I could.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, store at room temperature and reheat slightly in the oven.
      You may want to experiment ahead of time to see if these do the job that way.

      Delete
    2. You can refrigerate biscuits a couple hours; not so successfully overnight.
      You can freeze your biscuits and then bake them in the morning...I haven't had much luck with this, although others have.
      I generally mix my flour mixture with the cold lard and refrigerate that; then mix and cut out the biscuits early in the morning...refrigerate them an hour or so if necessary, then bake.
      If I were you, I would try out whatever method you choose ahead of time to be sure you are satisfied.

      Delete
  12. I put a tablespoon of butter in a cast-iron skillet and placed in the oven while it was warming. Then made out the biscuits by hand, rather than cut them out, and dropped them in the hot skillet to bake. Came out GREAT!

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    Replies
    1. Sounds good and easy...our mom always made drop biscuits-fast when you need that meal on the table now.

      Delete

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