THE ACADEMY'S SOUTHERN BISCUIT
MAKES 12 to 18, depending on size of biscuit cutter
3 cups self-rising flour, preferably White Lily
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal pieces
1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it forms pea-size pieces. Add the buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough almost forms a ball.
3. Place the dough on a silicone baking mat and begin folding up the sides, right and left, until a ball forms. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Fold one side of the dough into the center and then fold in the other side. Roll out again and refold in the same manner three to six times. (Each roll and fold creates flaky layers within your biscuits.) Roll out one final time until the dough is 3/4-inch thick.
4. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch biscuit cutter or an inverted glass. Place the biscuits on a nonstick baking sheet. Gather the scraps, re-roll, and cut out more biscuits until all the dough has been used. (At this point, you can cover the unbaked biscuits with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, or freeze up to 3 weeks.)
5. Bake until lightly browned on the top and bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. (Bake frozen biscuits at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes.)