Ocala Cooks | Scott Mitchell

Scott Mitchell is the director of the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center in Ocala. He learned about cast iron cooking from reenactors portraying Florida pioneers at the Ocali Country Days festival each November at the center. Traditional biscuit recipes call for a campfire, hot coals and a Dutch oven. This contemporary recipe is delicious and can be made in any modern kitchen with a cast iron skillet and conventional oven.

Modern Cast Iron “Pioneer” Biscuits


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ sticks salted butter (frozen)

1 ¼ cups whole milk

10-inch cast iron skillet

Preheat oven to 450°. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well by hand.

Grate the frozen butter into the bowl of dry ingredients with a cheese grater, which will yield small bits that mix easily. This process makes extra savory biscuits for your family or guests—including visiting old timey pioneers.

Combine the grated butter and dry ingredients using a spoon until you have a crumbly dough with butter bits mixed evenly throughout. Mix gently, and not too much.

Move the dough to a cutting board or smooth surface dusted with flour. Press the dough out into a big circle by hand until it is about ¾-inch thick. Sprinkle a very light dusting of sugar across the top and gently pat the granules in by hand.

Put a light film of butter on the bottom of the skillet. Cut out about seven biscuits with a 3-inch cookie or biscuit cutter and arrange them in the skillet so they are touching. 

Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown on top. Use a potholder to remove the skillet from the oven. Brush the biscuits very lightly with melted butter as soon as you remove them from the oven.

Check the underside of one of the biscuits and if it is getting too brown, gently flip them all up a bit to avoid burnt bottoms. Cast iron retains heat and will continue to cook the biscuits after you remove them from the oven.

Serve while warm with rich old-fashioned butter and cane syrup or jam.

These biscuits also go great with a variety of entrees, such as biscuits and gravy, or any dinner that includes a bread. If you have a large family or a lot of guests, double the recipe and use two skillets.

Ocala Cooks is a place to share recipes and discuss all things food. Join the conversation at fb.com/groups/ocalacooks

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