Phila’s make-do biscuits recipe


Phila’s biscuits have been featured in documentaries, newspaper articles, and magazine spreads. She can make them with buttermilk or cream, with yeast or without leavening. But on the day we visited, she wanted to show us yet another way of making do with what she had in the cupboard and fridge. These biscuits feel light despite the sour cream and have a breath of orange, as you’d expect from the ingredient list. Regardless of your experience with biscuits, these are truly simple to whip up.

  • Yield: 2 dozen biscuits (depending on the size of your cutter)


  • 1 cup (125 g) self-rising flour, plus more for turning out dough
  • ½ cup (120 ml) full-fat sour cream
  • Splash of orange juice (about 2 tablespoons)
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Use convection if you have it.
  2. Combine the flour, sour cream, and orange juice with your hands, working quickly and stopping as soon as a dough forms  be careful not to overdo it. If you feel like you need it, sprinkle on a little more orange juice.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and fold it over twelve times. Cut the biscuits into rounds by pressing the cutter straight down and place them close together on a baking sheet. Combine the scraps if you would like by pressing them together just once or twice to use up all the dough.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. If you’re not using convection, which I do not have, you might find these biscuits to be flatter and less golden on top. That’s okay. They’ll be more brown on the bottom and cooked through. Serve them warm with butter, sorghum, honey, or your favorite preserves.

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