Kentucky Food: Barry King’s Angel Biscuits

Published by Monday, June 27, 2016 Permalink 1
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onlinepastrychef via / CC BY-NC-SA


Angel biscuits are eaten at special Kentucky meals such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Derby.

2 pkg. active dry yeast (don’t use quick-rise yeast)
1/2 tsp. sugar
8 Tbsp. warm water

5 cups all-purpose flour (I use White Lily)
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Crisco (solid) or other vegetable shortening or lard, well-chilled
2 cups cold buttermilk
Butter, melted

Yield: 60 small cocktail size biscuits or about 2-dozen large.

NOTE: Angel biscuits can be made and baked immediately, but I like to make the them 12-24 hours in advance, so that the biscuits have time to rest and ferment a bit before baking — it adds a special quality to the flavor.

angel biscuits and country ham, Kentucky Derby Southern food, recipe by Barry King




















  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water, and let it rest until mixture begins to foam.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour with remaining dry ingredients. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add buttermilk and yeast mixture to the flour and stir with a large spoon until a soft fluffy dough just comes together.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead/fold a couple of times. Pat out dough to flatten.
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out until it is at least 1/2-inch inch thickness.
  6. Using a biscuit cutter (small for cocktail sandwiches, or larger to accompany a meal), cut dough into individual biscuits and place on a greased cookie sheet.
  7. Brush lightly with melted butter, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
  8. About an hour before baking: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  9. Remove biscuits from the refrigerator and allow to proof at room temperature in a warm kitchen — the biscuits should start to rise and be soft/pillowy to the touch.
  10. Place biscuits on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.
  11. When done, the biscuits will be 1 1/2 to 2 inches in height.
  12. Brush lightly with melted butter.
  13.  They are perfect for brunch or filled with sliced Kentucky country ham with cocktails.
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