Virginia Willis’s Buttermilk Biscuits with White Lily Flour

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As a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and respected chef, Virginia Willis is a trusted source for all things Southern cuisine. This Georgia native has been baking biscuits with her grandmother since she was a child. As an adult and French-trained chef, she returned to the South to pen a number of Southern cookbooks, from Secrets of the Southern Table to Bon Appetit, Y’all. So, it’s no surprise we tapped her for a biscuit recipe that would feature the cumulative wisdom of her many years as an expert Southern cook and baker. Making the most of buttermilk, butter, and, of course, White Lily flour, her recipe comes packed with tips and tricks for creating the perfect soft, tender biscuit.

Don’t miss out on our National Biscuit Month giveaway, hosted by White Lily! Win a trip for two to Charleston, South Carolina, by baking these biscuits and uploading a photo of them on Instagram! Follow @thebakefeed and @whitelilybaking, and use @whitelilybaking#thebakefeed, #whitelilyflour, and #contest in your caption to be entered to win! Visit our Instagram post for more details.

Photography courtesy of Virginia Willis

Get to know Virginia

Georgia-born, French-trained chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, and Aretha Franklin with her cooking—but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen.  

Virginia is the author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories—from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, Fox & Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

She is author of the popular column “Cooking with Virginia” for Southern Kitchen and editor-at-large for Southern Living. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit.

Virginia Willis's Buttermilk Biscuits with White Lily Flour
Makes about 9 biscuits
  • 2 cups (250 grams) White Lily All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¾ to 1 cup (180 to 240 grams) whole buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C). Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in cold butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, and stir just until combined. (It will be a shaggy mass.) (Alternatively, in the work bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Add cold butter, and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. With processor running, add buttermilk, pulsing just until combined.)
  3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly, using the heel of your hand to compress and push dough away from you and then fold it back over itself. Give dough a small turn, and repeat four or five times.
  4. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to 1-inch thickness. Using a 2¼-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut dough without twisting cutter, and place on prepared pan. (If biscuits are baked close together, sides will be tender. If biscuits are baked farther apart, sides will be crisp.) Reroll scraps once. (Do not simply roll them into a ball; this will create a knot of gluten strands. Instead, place the pieces one on top of the other in layers, roll out dough, and cut out more rounds.)
  5. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm.


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