Buttermilk may be one of those slightly mysterious ingredients that we only know in one or two contexts (in this case, fried chicken and biscuits are probably the winners). But to understand what buttermilk really is helps to understand the smartest ways it can be used.

In case you haven't yet heard, the process of fermentation is a special kind of magic that creates healthy bacteria and cultures when certain ingredients are left alone. Buttermilk is regular milk that has fermented slightly, which gives it a subtle tang and an increased rise when interacting with baking soda. That's why buttermilk is so important in this biscuit recipe, and why you'll end up with a super flavorful and fluffy batch. Perfect to accompany those late morning breakfasts, alongside a big bowl of chili for dinner, or frankly, as just a snack on their own, we hope you'll save this recipe as your go-to, and whip up these simple biscuits maybe even more than once a year (we imagine it won't be that hard). Enjoy!

What you'll need: 3 cups all purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 4 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 cup (1 1/2sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces 1 cup buttermilk

Equipment: large mixing bowl small sheet pan spoon

Recipe steps:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl to blend.

  2. Make the dough Using fingertips, rub 3/4 cup chilled butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir until evenly moistened.

  3. Drop and bake! Using 1/4 cup dough for each biscuit (a heaping spoonful), drop biscuits onto baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

(featured image: Sanaë Lemoine)