There is hardly a wedding or garden party in the Lowcountry without these yeast biscuits. They are small, only about an inch in diameter, and they are split to hold slivers of salty country ham tempered with dollops of chutney or mustard. One ham provides enough meat for 200 to 250 biscuits.

These doubly lightened breads—really yeast rolls—are also called “angel biscuits” and “bride’s biscuits.” Bill Neal has suggested that the “bride” is the inexperienced cook who needs the insurance policy of the double leavening.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound (about 4 cups) unbleached (all-purpose) flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure salt 3 ounces (about ½ cup) chilled lard
  • ½ ounce fresh compressed yeast
  • cups buttermilk at room temperature

Method

Sift the dry ingredients together into a warmed mixing bowl. Cut the lard into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or 2 knives until it is evenly distributed. In a separate bowl, stir the yeast into the buttermilk until it is well blended, pour the liquid into the flour mixture, and stir until blended.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and work lightly until the mixture is smooth and evenly textured. Roll out to about ½-inch thick, then cut 1-inch biscuits with a clean, floured metal biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on an ungreased sheet pan, cover with a dish towel, and allow to rise for a while. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400°. When the biscuits have risen by about a fourth, bake them for about 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.

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