Marion Cunningham's Angel Biscuits
Marion Cunningham's Breakfast Book is a breakfast bible as far as I'm concerned. It's been fun working my way through it and there hasn't been a single disappointment so far.
According to Marion, this recipe was probably developed in the nineteenth century because leavening agents back then were not always reliable. So cooks often used more than one leavening agent as insurance. Nowadays, yeast and baking powder are sure-proof, so there's no need to combine them. But when you do, as in this recipe, the result is light as air, therefore the name "Angel" biscuits. Also referred to as double-proof biscuits, you'll find them a snap to make, although they do require 8 hours in the fridge and another hour to rise, so plan ahead.
From The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
5 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes to dissolve.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir with a fork to mix. Add the shortening and cut in with a pastry cutter, or use your fingertips, which is what I did. The mixture should look irregular and crumbly.
Add the baking soda to the buttermilk and add to the flour. Stir. Add the yeast mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about 8 hours. (I left it in overnight.)
Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead a dozen times. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a 2 inch cutter. Place them 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet (I used Pam). Cover and let rise 1 hour.Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until browned. Serve hot.