Lard in Biscuits
Lard is pure fat. It greases the proteins in flour so they don't form gluten and
the flour doesn't absorb as much moisture, keeping biscuits, dumplings, and pie
Both lard and shortening are better than butter for crusts and biscuits, because
they hold their texture over a wider range of temperatures. When you put butter
in a hot oven, it melts. A cookie with butter is going to spread.
On the bad-for-you scale, lard is better than butter. A tablespoon of butter has
33 milligrams of cholesterol and is 62 percent saturated fat, 29 percent
monounsaturated fat, and 4 percent polyunsaturated fat. A tablespoon of lard: 12
milligrams of cholesterol, 39 percent saturated fat, 45 percent monounsaturated
fat, and 11 percent polyunsaturated.
2 C. all-purpose flour
heaping 1/2 t. salt
3 1/4 t. baking powder
1 t. sugar, if desired
1/2 t. baking soda
5 T. chilled shortening or lard
7/8 C. buttermilk
Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Add the cold shortening and
work all through the flour with your fingertips until all the flour is combined
with a bit of fat. Add the buttermilk and stir vigorously until the dough forms
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Flouring your hands if necessary,
knead lightly for 10 strokes. Stop just as soon as dough begins to look smooth.
(Sprinkle some additional flour on the dough if needed, but add as little as
Pat dough out into a rectangle, about 8 by 7 by 3/4 inches. Using a cutter
dipped in flour, cut into 2-inch rounds. (Dough scraps can be pulled together
and patted out again once.) Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in an
oven preheated to 500°F. for about 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve hot.
Makes about 12 biscuits.