Friday, June 5, 2015

Flaky Biscuits : 5 Tips for Success

Whether you are from the South or not, you know that having a crisp, fluffy biscuit for breakfast is a great way to start the day.  But what's the secret behind getting those biscuits high and light?  I'm going to share with you my recipe for biscuits as well as 5 quick tips to making the best biscuits ever.  (And by the way this whole recipe takes me less than 10 minutes to make!) So throw out your mixes and your pre-made frozen biscuits-you won't be able to go back when you have tried this yummy recipe.

Makes 10 to 12 biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt on a clean counter
  3. Cut the stick of butter into flour mixture until it is pea-sized.  Make a well in the dough and pour in the buttermilk.
  4. Gently knead the dough until it comes together.  It should be on the sticky side.  Fold the dough about 3 to 4 times to create layers and very gently press the dough out.
  5. Using a round biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
Now that you have the recipe follow these five tips to make the PERFECT biscuits.

1. Use Cold Ingredients

The butter should be cold and the buttermilk should be cold.  The cold butter melts in the oven and creates pockets which become flaky, tender bites in the biscuit.  If the butter or buttermilk is too warm the dough will become homogeneous and therefore less flaky.

2. Undermix

Too much mixing develops gluten in the flour and softens the butter.  While gluten is a good thing in bread dough because you need that elasticity, in biscuits it makes a tough, hard product. When in doubt, undermixing is better.

3. Make a Moist Dough

A moist dough makes a moist biscuit.  If the dough is dry the biscuit will be dry too.  Don't be afraid to add more buttermilk to the recipe above if you feel the dough is not sticky enough.

4. Hand Mix and Press Out Dough

I cannot stress this enough.  Mixers and food processors are great for many things but you risk developing too much gluten if you use these devices for biscuits.  Use your hands to gently combine the ingredients and then press the dough out with your fingers (not a rolling pin).

5. Bake in a Hot Oven

High heat activates the leavening agent in baking powder and enables the biscuits to rise high, quickly.  A cold oven will not give the biscuits the lift they need.  For me a hot oven is 400 F.  For you, it might be 425. Try out a recipe you are familiar with first to determine if you are oven is running cool.  Don't be afraid to elevate the temperature if needed.

Mix dry ingredients together and cut butter in until pea sized.

Make a well and add the cold buttermilk.

Press the dough out gently using your fingers.

Place cut biscuits on baking sheet with ample room between.

Enjoy a fluffy hot biscuit!

Have questions or need additional tips on making a great biscuit?  Please provide feedback in the comment section below.  I would love to hear from you! Happy baking!

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