5 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. packed shortening, lard, or butter, cold
2 cups cold buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (optional)
- Heat oven to 500 degrees F. In large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Add shortening, coating in flour. Working quickly, rub shortening between fingertips until coarsely blended.
- Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk all at once. With a fork, stir mixture quickly just until it is blended and begins to form a sticky dough. (If dough appears dry, add 1 or 2 additional tablespoons buttermilk.)
- Immediately turn dough onto generously floured surface. Using floured hands, knead dough briskly 8 to 10 times into a smooth ball. Gently flatten dough with hands to even thickness. Then using floured rolling pin, lightly roll to a 3/4-inch thickness.
- Using a 3-inch floured biscuit cutter, cut dough into rounds and arrange on heavy baking sheet with sides just touching. Gather dough pieces, knead gently and repeat the process until all dough is used.
- Place on rack in the middle of the oven. Bake 8 to 12 minutes until crusty and golden brown. Remove. Brush with melted butter (optional). Serve hot.