I just came back from a nine day road trip to the South. My friends and I drove from Boston down to Nashville with stops in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. There were such amazing landscapes and the most gorgeous farms. I ate like a pig and probably went through a week’s worth of detox, eating mainly fruits and vegetables the week I returned.

That being said, the food that stayed most on my mind, even though I had the most amazing of chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits and hot chicken in Tennessee were the simple biscuits I had throughout the various restaurants of the South. They all had an amazing crust on top and the most fluffy and soft center.

I write about Loveless Cafe because I have plenty of pictures from them, but they were all so good. Something I did catch at the Loveless Cafe was that the flour used for the biscuits were soft winter wheat. An instructor in culinary school had told us his secret for great southern biscuits was soft wheat flour as well. It has less protein and therefore yields a lighter and softer biscuit.

Another technique I saw at the Loveless Cafe was that the biscuit maker actually folded up her dough like puffed pastry to create layers in the biscuit. This will help with the rise and the flakiness of the biscuit. This is a technique I used in the bakery often and is really the secret to any dough you want to be extra flakey. Basically you roll out the dough and fold it into three. Rotate, roll out again and repeat. I did this about four times to the biscuits.

Because this was a vegan recipes (but oh my gosh, it tastes pretty darn close to the real thing and is just amazing) I made a couple substitutions. I substituted butter for coconut oil, which still provided amazing richness. The thing you have to remember is to chill the coconut oil in the freezer before you work with it. That way, when you cut it up it functions very much like chilled pieces of butter, which will create the flakiness you want. I mixed a soy creamer with lemon juice for the buttermilk. I also brushed the tops of the biscuits with Earth Balance to get the butter color and flavor.

These are amazing biscuits and I hesitate to call them vegan because I would put them up against some of the best biscuits I’ve had. Give them a try!

Vegan Southern Biscuits

(Makes 14 medium biscuits)

  • 2 cups White Lily Self-Rising Flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, for color
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, frozen until solid
  • 3/4 cup soy creamer
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix together the soy creamer and lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Mix together the flour, salt and turmeric.
  4. Cut up the chilled coconut oil into small chunks. Add to the flour mixture and mix with a fork until coconut oil is coated. Using fingers, mix until mixture resembles lumpy cornmeal.
  5. Pour in soy creamer mixture and mix until loose dough is formed.
  6. Put dough out onto a floured surface. Push loose dough together to form a larger ball of dough.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough to about 1/2-inch rectangle. Fold dough into 3. Repeat this process 4 times.
  8. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a round biscuit cutter, cut the dough and place into a greased cast iron skillet.
  9. Brush Earth Balance liberally on top of biscuits. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown on top.