Appalachian Food

Buttermilk Biscuit Bread

Batter bread

Several weeks ago Chris, a Blind Pig reader, sent me the following question and asked that I share it with you. (Upper Peachtree is a community just down the road a ways from where I live)

I was raised in Upper Peachtree and now live in Florida. When I was growing up in U.P. my grampa made a butter milk biscuit bread it was thick like corn bread batter and he would just pour it in a pan or cast iron pan and bake it. I was wondering if you could put the question on your site and maybe some of the older people will or can remember how to make it. I have looked and looked on the internet and can’t seem to find how to make it. We had quite a few honey bee stands back then and I tell you what that hot bread with some honey and butter was something to talk about. My mom passed away in 2000 and I never got her to show me how to make it, you know them older folks hardly ever wrote a recipe down. I am as guilty as anyone, but it is a shame the younger people are not learning the way we and our parents and grandparents got by. I am currently learning how to can deer meat and some other stuff to put up. I used the recipe for sourkraut that you had on your site it turned out good but not as white, I think it is the water down here nothing like that good mountain water for canning.
Thanks
Chris
I looked in all my Appalachian cookbooks but couldn’t really find a recipe that sounded like the one Chris remembered. I found a recipe online on the Deep South Dish website that sounded similar so I gave it a try and it is very good.

Old fashioned biscuit batter bread

You need:
  • 2 teaspoon bacon drippings (or lard)
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add the bacon drippings or lard to a 8 inch cast iron frying pan and place pan in heating oven. Add butter to flour and cut it in until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Old recipe for batter biscuits

Add buttermilk to flour mixture. The batter will be very moist but shouldn’t be runny. Pour batter into hot cast iron pan. Use a spatula or spoon to spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Buttermilk batter bread

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and flip bread out onto a cooling rack or a plate-slice up or break off and serve.

Baking the dough in the piping hot frying pan gives the outside a wonderful chewy crust. The buttermilk adds a nice wang that goes perfect with butter and honey-which is how I ate mine.

Biscuit bread made with buttermilk

I’m not sure this is the recipe that Chris is looking for-so if you’ve got a recipe that’s seems similar to the one Chris remembers Grampa making please share it with us!

Do you ever make biscuit bread instead of biscuits you cut out?

Tipper

You Might Also Like

45 Comments

  • Reply
    Jane Poindexter
    September 13, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    We had this bread often after a long day working in the tobacco fields ,Mama called it hoecake or some time sponge bread . If we dint have milk she used water flour drippings .it was so good with home made jelly .

  • Reply
    Suzanne Boyd
    September 13, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    We called it Hoe Cake even tho it was cooked in a skillet.

  • Reply
    Becky Hale
    September 26, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    i’ve been looking for the recipe for what my granny made as well…no one has come up with it…the only things i remember specifically were flour and milk…she called it pone bread and could mix it up in a flash..it was really white, would often split on the top when it was baked and was really really fluffy…worked wonderfully for absorbing jam and honey…it didn’t taste anything like biscuits…so i know it wasn’t her biscuit dough.any help would be appreciated…

    • Reply
      Jackie
      November 21, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      Pone bread is made like a corn bread

  • Reply
    debbie inman
    July 21, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    This recipe is easy and soooo good! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Joan Parker
    June 25, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    My grandmother use to make what she called sweet bread. I was just a child but I remember it being like biscuit bread but a little sweet. She would make it into a big round cake of bread. I have tried to find a receipt for it but have been unable to find one. It could have just been something she made up.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 16, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    This is new to me but sure sounds worth a try. Love all the comments too!

  • Reply
    Ron
    January 15, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Hi again Tipper,
    My Grandmother used to make her bisquits like you were talking about. My Mother, who was very close to dads mom learned how to make them that way from her. I think they called them Hocakes or something like that. I remember grandmother making that type of bread that Chris is talking about but I was very young and never knew how she made it but it was good. She was very picky about her kitchen and would never let anyone help her cook but mom. She died 5 days before my birthday in 1969. Ironically, the only reason she went to the hospital was because Grandpa was sick(we thought he might die). Anyway, she had a cold and the only way grandpa would agree to go to the hospital was if she would agree to go get checked herself. She finally agreed so dad called the ambulance for grandpa, I helped grandma get in the ambulance and sit down beside grandpa and the ambulance left with them and we locked their house up and then went on to the hospital and time we got there, she had died. My dad passed out like a light when they came out and told him. I was sure they were coming to tell us grandpa had died because he seemed really bad when they picked him up. He lived 10 years after that. Turned out she had pneumonia.

  • Reply
    Glynda P. Chambers
    January 14, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    You are right, Tamela, this bread is definitely not for one who’s on a diet or watching their calories and carbs but it’s certainly worth it to have it occasionaly and every carb and calorie is sooooooo delicious and worth it to me! And thank you Ed, this bread with the fried eggs is so good, the bacon would make it even better so I will definitely be adding the bacon next time I make it!! Which will be soon….

  • Reply
    Carolyn Hunt
    January 14, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    We called this hoecake. Biscut dough with a little more milk added that was poured into a cast iron fry pan and baked.
    So good to sop up tomotes covered with redeyed gravy.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    January 14, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    This is my son’s favorite ‘biscuit’. I’ve always heard it called ‘cake bread’. It’s yummy!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 14, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Glynda P. Chambers is a genius! Now I know I’ve gotta try it.
    You put in your bread.
    You scramble your eggs and stir in a handful of bacon pieces.
    You turn out your bread, regrease the pan and put in the eggs.
    While the eggs cook, you split the bread.
    When the eggs are almost done, you put the top half of the bread back in the pan, cut side down, then turn it out again on a plate, put the bottom half back on cut side down and cap the pan back on the whole thing.
    The pan will keep the whole thing hot until it is ready to serve. Just bring it to the table and turn ’em loose on it.
    I repeat. Glynda P. Chambers is a genius!

  • Reply
    Wanda
    January 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Sure looks good. Mama made the cathead type biscuits made out with her hands. They do have a different texture from rolled out biscuits & I don’t know anyone who can make them now. I remember her telling about being in bed sick or after having a baby & having her pan brought to the bed where she mixed & made out the biscuits. She had a bowl she kept in the lard stand that held the flour & that was the biscuit making bowl. We didn’t have any bought bread. I’m going to make us some biscuit bread–I’ll bet the crust is wonderful.

  • Reply
    Glynda P. Chambers
    January 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Tipper, I have been eating this and making this bread my whole life. We as kids called it Hoecake and my Mama made this all the time, I still continue to make it. I use a small black skillet, put some Oil in it, put it in the oven and get it really hot. Mix the S.R. flour( I also add about 1/2 tsp. baking powder, buttermilk and then pour in most of the hot oil. Mix all together pour into the hot pan then bake it in the over. My favorite way to eat it is to use the hot skillet after removing the bread, adding a very sm. amt. of oil and put in 3-4 eggs, fry until done and after slicing the bread across and separating put the eggs which will be the same size as the bread, split into 4 pieces and this is supper for us. So so good. I actually had this just last week.

  • Reply
    Tamela
    January 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Oooh! What a wonderful read (and challenge) for us carboholics!! 😉

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 14, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I remember watching Mommy making drop biscuits for us in the mornings. She would mix up a batter then take a big spoonful and using another spoon, push it off onto the pan. We were a hungry bunch so she had to make 2 or 3 pans. Sometimes when she was running late or just tired of scooping, she would put the rest of her batter/dough in a pan and smooth it down with the back of her spoon. When she did it that way, she called it biscuit bread. If she had a recipe, I have no idea what it was. All I remember is how good her biscuits were.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Tipper,
    I wonder if anyone ever had bologny
    gravy. Mama would quarter those 1/4″
    thick bologny sections, cook ’em on
    top of our old wood stove while the
    biscuits was baking in the oven. After
    making a big panfull of gravy, she’d
    put the blackened bologny pieces back
    in and let it simmer a bit. We always
    thought it was “pig ears”, and when
    it hit the table there wasn’t much
    talking going on. I had to sit on a
    bench behind the table with some of
    my older brothers and you’d better
    not move or someone’d get your spot.
    Such wonderful memories of a better
    time…Ken

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull, PhD
    January 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Tipper: I may share these wonderful notes with my grandson – who just ‘moved out’ and may be he will be eager to learn an ‘old way’ of making bread. He loves old things – even me!
    Cheers,
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    January 14, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I make a lot of biscuits and biscuit bread too. Several things I think make it better are:
    use either a cast iron skillet or a stainless steel pan (the aluminum pans are too thin and biscuits seem to get too brown on the bottom in a hot oven), get the oven really hot, about 450 degrees, use lots of real buttermilk, and I use real butter in my biscuits. I also bake with white whole wheat flour (2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt) 5 tablespoons cold butter, and one cup or more buttermilk. The most important thing is bake often and your biscuits get better. My grandmother served them with a dish of molasses and butter stirred together with a fork. My mother-in-law served them with thickened blackberries. I usually have syrup or jam, but most anything is good. Grandchildren love them and always ask for them.

  • Reply
    Luann
    January 14, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I, too, have Dabney’s wonderful book—a great read and wonderful recipes. Recommend it!
    Looking forward to trying the recipe you gave us Tipper.

  • Reply
    Brenda
    January 14, 2014 at 11:01 am

    So how I love reading everyone’s memories….I, too remember my granny making this bread and eating it will honey that papa got from his own bee hives…
    Brenda

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    January 14, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Mama’s Biscuits were made “Till they looked right”
    by Garland Davis
    Any baker will tell you that the secret to fluffy tender biscuits lies in the ingredients, temperatures and mixing procedures. Only chilled shortening or butter or a combination of the two should be used. Flour, baking powder, and salt must be meticulously measured and sifted together. The chilled butter and/or shortening should be cut in until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. The chilled liquid, milk or buttermilk, should be added and the dough mixed only until it is formed. Do not over mix. The resulting mixture should be placed in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. After chilling, move the dough to a floured board and roll or pat to the desired thickness. Bake.
    All that being said, I watched my Mama make biscuits many times. She would put the flour into the sifter (no measuring cup or scale) and sift into her mixing bowl. She would then add baking powder with a soup spoon and salt by pouring some into her hand from the Morton salt container. She then reached into the lard bucket and got a handful of lard and worked it into the flour mixture. She added the liquid and “worked the hell out of it.” Instead of rolling and cutting her bicscuits, she would squeeze a portion of dough between her thumb and forefinger, shape it, and place it on a greased biscuit pan. This made a biscuit with a tough crust and a chewy interior.
    My Uncle Frank once said that his Mama, my Granny Davis, made biscuits that wouldn’t fall apart when you drug them through a plate of gravy or ‘lasses. I remember him pouring about a half cup of molasses onto a plate and grabbing four biscuits and making a breakfast of it.

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    January 14, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Our hoecake was always corn bread “baked” on top of the stove in a cast iron skillet with a lid. I sure wish I could sit with my Mother and have a hot piece of her hoecake with butter on it. Nothin’ better. She made one everyday or two.The old one was always crumbled into beans or buttermilk.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 14, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I might just have to try your recipe. I like the bacon grease part best. And the crust!! You see I am a dedicated crust fan (no not a crusty old man.) I have been known to bake a can of of them Grands (imitation biscuits,) split them open, rip out all that doughy white stuff and replace it with a mater or apple butter or sausage or crispy fried bologny or jelly or jam or fried eggs and bacon or scrambled eggs and cheese or something. I know that’s cheating but I can’t make a good biscuit. I need a hammer and chisel to open them up. My wife makes good biscuits but they fall apart.
    I think that canola oil stuff comes from a place up in Canada. They say it comes from plant but I think they pump it out of the ground. They put it in tank cars which erupt into flames whenever they cross the border into the U.S.
    I bet your biscuit bread would be great crumbled in a bowl and soaked with strawberry juice. You couldn’t let it set too long lest the crust lose too much of its crunch.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    January 14, 2014 at 9:46 am

    My recipe is very similar to the one above.
    2 cup self-rising flour
    1/3 cup lard or Crisco
    1 to 1 1/2 cup of buttermilk
    Preheat oven to 425. Grease your pan and set it in the oven to get hot. Mix lard with flour then add buttermilk. Pour batter into pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes or til done.
    I pretty much always make biscuits. If I’m in a hurry though and don’t want to fool with patting them out, I just make biscuit bread.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    January 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Oh my, that is the bread commonly cooked by my family, and always mixed with buttermilk. Mom mixed up self-rising flour with buttermilk and dumped it into a heated greased sheet pan with dots of butter on top to melt and brown as it cooked. My sis cooks a thin bread like this on a pizza pan. Mostly I fry on top of stove in small cast iron pan, and is it ever good with fried apples. I have heard it called batter bread, hoe cake, and a friend in Kansas called it squaw bread. I’ve eaten it cooked every kind of way, and I have never ate a bad batch. Yours looked delicious, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Beth in Ky
    January 14, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Yeah, my dad made biscuit bread, it was a special treat! But I do remember it was made if you were in a hurry cause you could have in in the oven in no time. Might add a dash of salt to that recipe. We also ate this with chocolate gravy! Yum! Something I found interesting, Dad’s family came from England & this recipe is really close to Yorkshire Pudding, especially the smoking hot greased skillet. Beth in Ky

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Tipper,
    My sister-in-law calls that bread a hoe-cake!
    I was going to make some quick Cat head biscuits. In the cast iron skillet on top of the stove, I was using my regular biscuit recipe, only thinner and dropping them by large tablespoonfuls into the hot greased skillet. I just dropped them a circle and one in the middle, til I used up all the sticky dough! LOL
    I was just going to bake them quick on top of the stove, like “camping pan biscuits”….Well, those things spread, fluffed up and went together, so I turned the oven on and popped them in. There was barely a seam where the biscuits were dropped together..That pone just flipped out on the plate, much like the one you have pictured. Crusty, good! They were so good and you could just break off a piece or slice off a pie piece. I have made them that way since! I was using skim milk but buttermilk would make them fluff and taste a lot better…
    Does’nt Pap make a skillet of bread much like this one. Only using sugar and egg too.
    I also have put eggs in my biscuits!
    Thanks Tipper, and Chris for reminding uf of this recipe!
    PS..Ken, my Dad said his mother made “dodgers”…I never ever got how she made them or the ingredients…I always thought they were just big biscuits, baked on the pan…There were 5 hefty boys in the family so they took half a rack of bacon and a couple a dozen eggs as well for breakfast my Dad said!

    • Reply
      Jane Poindexter
      May 11, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      My Grandmother made hoe cake bread like this ,It was just biscuits dough made in a cake .

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    January 14, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Hoecake or Biscuit Bread was made in the Dyer house in Choestoe when the cook didn’t have time to “make out”–shape–the biscuit dough into biscuits. It was basically the regular biscuit recipe. Back then, we didn’t have self-rising flour. In fact, we had our own wheat we took to the “wheat-grinding mill” to have ground into flour. (We also had rye grain ground, so we could make rye-bread dodger). So baking soda, salt and baking powder had to be added in the “guesstimate” amounts so the bread would rise. Even better than having it baked in our Home Comfort wood stove was having it baked in the iron dutch oven at the fireplace, with coals underneath the three-legged oven and onto the iron lead cover on top of it. I can remember coming from school on a cold winter afternoon, after 3 p. m., and Mother having the biscuit bread just ready to come out of the dutch oven. We kids would then have a real treat: Hot biscuit bread from the Dutch oven with churned butter and sorghum syrup (which was also a staple around our house)–made for our family and all the families who grew ribbon cane. My Dad was the champion sorghum syrup maker in the community! If any of you still have one of the old iron dutch ovens and a fireplace, you might try making Tipper’s recipe and cooking it in the way I’ve described here. Good eating, indeed!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    January 14, 2014 at 9:08 am

    I make this often but I was raised calling it “Batter Bread” since you make it into more of a batter than you do biscuit dough. I also make it on a small biscuit tin as well as a cast iron pan, both are good but on the tin you get a very crusty edge that is great. (spray the tin with Pam). If you really want great biscuit bread make it in a Dutch Oven on a camp fire deep in the woods and eat it with “Speckled Trout” fried crispy and any other camp food you prefer. Your recipe sounds good but I use canola oil in my batter as well as in the cast iron pan, it’s supposedly healthier.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    January 14, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Tipper, Oh what a true story came to mind about biscuits bread mother called it batter bread.I was four years old but remember it like it was yesterday Mother was so sick and she called me to her bed and told me I was to help Dad make breakfast so I got me a chair and stood beside him at the old country cook stove. He had a good fire in the stove ready to bake our bread. He got his flour sifted and lard in and he had a boiling pot of water and he poured this over the flour mix and I said , ” Daddy, Mama don’t do it this way.”
    He said,” Who’s doing this Moo me or you?” So I let it happen with no more mama didn’t do it this way. He had a mix and tried to stir this glunck he finally spread it in a greased pan. I made the gravy and scrambled me an egg, he fried his eggs. This was the lumpiest bread I ever eat but the best when I got the lumps chewed up.

  • Reply
    Beth
    January 14, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Looks yummy, I’ll have to try this. My mom made a loaf bread without yeast, as she was allergic to yeast. The closest thing I can find to it is a soda bread. Any other ideas? This is the group that ought’a know!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 14, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Tipper–I am fairly confident that any regular recipe for buttermilk biscuits, and there are scads of them, will work equally well for biscuit bread. The only basic difference, at least the way both Grandma Minnie and Momma approached matters, is that you cook biscuit bread in a cast iron pan (although Momma sometimes used a flat baking pan) and don’t bother to cut the biscuits. In other words, the dough is the same.
    Here’s a recipe for Bryson City Cathead Biscuits from Joeseph Dabney’s wonderful book, “Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, & Scuppernong Wine: The Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking.” Incidentally, if your readers don’t have a copy they are missing not only scrumptious food but a world of interesting reading.
    Dabney got this recipe from a Winchester woman who lived in Bryson City and regularly gave old-time cooking demonstrations at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Park.
    2 1/4 cups flour
    1/3 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons baking powder
    5 tablespoons lard
    1 cup buttermilk
    Sift and mix dry ingredients and then blend with lard. Add buttermilk and mix. Bake at 475 to 500 degrees until golden brown. Interestingly, and this is something someone who is familiar with wood stove cookery will have to answer, the temperature if cooked in a wood stove oven is 350 degrees.
    Jim Casada
    http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  • Reply
    dolores
    January 14, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Yummy! What a wonderful way to start the day – I can smell the aroma. I really enjoy biscuits with honey as well as just about any kind of freshly baked bread. This just makes me want to bake some.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 14, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Tipper,
    I remember this kind of bread that my
    mama fixed sometimes. She called it a
    “dodger” and we just broke off what
    we wanted. Back then we had hogs and
    a milk cow so Lard or bacon grease
    wasn’t a problem, or buttermilk. I
    sometimes helped with the churning to
    get butter and buttermilk. And we kept our milk in the Spring, didn’t have a refrigerator then. Sounds like your receipe is about right.
    This brings back nice memories…Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 14, 2014 at 8:26 am

    My mother use to make biscuit bread. It was always good with homemade jams, jelly or honey. I have no idea how she made it but it was made when she was too busy to make biscuits. Now, you done went and made me hungry!

  • Reply
    james gentry
    January 14, 2014 at 8:25 am

    This reminds me of my mother’s hoecake. She didn’t use cornmeal in her hoecake, just flour, drippings, shortening, and buttermilk. It was glorious. Thanks for sharing. I may try this myself. Seems like I couldn’t possibly mess this up.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 14, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I never had biscuit bread, but it looks great. I will be trying it out soon.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 14, 2014 at 8:08 am

    That looks wonderful! No, I’ve never heard of it but you can bet I’m gonna try it!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    January 14, 2014 at 8:05 am

    this kind of sounds and looks like bread that I fry on top of the stove. Everybody loves it.

  • Reply
    spezhel ed
    January 14, 2014 at 7:48 am

    now whir am i gonna find a mater two fit in that thair peece uv biskit. wreckin yu cud take a snuf glas an cut a rownd peece sos yer mater aint hangin out sew much

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 14, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Yours looks yummy Tipper, thanks for bringing this up Chris. I have never had the bread, but I know I am going to enjoy eating it and am trying any recipe that gets submitted.

  • Reply
    Dan McCarter
    January 14, 2014 at 7:09 am

    We had this often when I was growing up in East TN. The recipe that my Mother used was just her regular biscuit dough but it didn’t have to be shaped in to Biscuits. She taught me to bake it by giving me instructions from her bed where she was confined after being diagnosed with breast Cancer.

  • Reply
    Jo
    January 14, 2014 at 5:09 am

    Sounds and looks like good biscuit-bread. I think the key to baking might be that cast iron skillet (just like with good cornbread). Our family also makes “Flour Bread” in a skillet on the stove top or campfire. It is a big biscuit, pressed thin, and cooked slowly in a seasoned skillet. Looks like your same recipe, but thinner and perfect for camping. (I know what we are having with supper.)

  • Leave a Reply