1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/8 teaspooncayenne pepper
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Biscuits and gravy is a classic diner breakfast that’s easy to make at home. The key to fluffy biscuits is keeping all the ingredients as cold as possible, so we put everything in the freezer for 10 minutes before making the biscuits. While they bake, brown your breakfast sausage, then stir in flour and milk to make a creamy gravy. Season it with some cayenne for a subtle kick and serve it with just the biscuits, or add scrambled eggs for a hearty weekend breakfast or brunch.
1Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2Whisk together the measured flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl to aerate and combine. Add the butter pieces and toss to just coat them in the flour mixture. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.
3Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, and working quickly so as not to soften the butter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-size pieces. Drizzle in the buttermilk and stir just until a moist, shaggy dough comes together.
4Generously dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the surface and dust the top with more flour. Using floured hands, gently pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick circle.
5Using a 2-1/2-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut out as many biscuits as possible (press straight down through the dough—do not twist the cutter, or the biscuits will not rise properly). Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps into a ball, pat it into a 1-inch-thick circle, and cut out more biscuits. Repeat as needed until you have 8 total. Discard any remaining dough.
6Bake until the biscuits have risen and are golden brown on top, about 15 to 16 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the gravy.
For the gravy:
1Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until the meat’s no longer pink and is starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
2Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the sausage with the flour, measured salt, measured pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, until the raw taste of the flour has cooked off, about 1 minute.
3Gradually stir in the milk, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 1 minute more (the gravy will continue to thicken as it sits). Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm.
4To serve, split the biscuits in half horizontally and top with the sausage gravy.