Monday, July 7, 2014

6 Secrets to Baking Tall, Flaky, Delicious Biscuits

Growing up with a Father who comes from the South often means you have biscuits every Sunday for breakfast. It was no different in our household. While my Mom was known for cooking from scratch, she liked to use Bisquick Baking Mix to make her biscuits. It's a short cut I often used as well when I first started cooking for my family, until I got turned on to homemade biscuits. From that point on, there was no turning back. Sorry Bisquick fans, homemade biscuits are beyond comparison to anything that comes from a box.
For years I struggled to make the perfect from-scratch biscuit. I tried recipe after recipe...some using buttermilk, some using regular milk, some with lots of  baking powder others with less, some using all purpose flour others using self-rising....but I was never satisfied. How could I get the tall, flaky, delicious looking biscuits that I've always seen in photos? How could I become a biscuit baking master instead of a biscuit making disaster?
Well, I always thought the secret was in the recipe, when actually the secret is in the technique! That's when I unlocked the secrets to making the ultimate homemade biscuits.
And voila!! Tall, flaky, beautiful....

1. Always, always, always use cold ingredients. Your butter and milk must be cold. Keep them in the fridge until ready to use.

2. Use a Food Processor. Yep, you heard me. I know a lot of people swear that making them by hand is best, but I've had the best results using a Food Processor.

3. Use the fold technique. That means folding your dough over on each other a few times kind of like a letter. This creates the layers!! But be careful not to overwork or you will heat up the butter in the dough. If, at any point you feel like you've overworked your dough, put it in the fridge for a little while.

4. Use a sharp biscuit cutter! This is an absolute must. A dull biscuit cutter will seal the edges of the dough and prevent rising. For a long time I cut my biscuits using a glass that had a wide rim which I later realized was a no-no.

5. Don't twist when cutting your biscuits! Just press down and lift straight up. If you twist, you're basically sealing the edges which will prevent your biscuits from rising.

6. Don't place your biscuits touching each other. Again, placing the biscuits touching each other may look nice, but you are preventing the biscuits from rising as high as possible.

And there you have it, the secrets I've learned through lots of trial and error. Now go out there and bake some amazing biscuits!! If I can do it, you can too!
Here's the biscuit recipe I use. It makes 5-6 large biscuits.
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk (buttermilk will add a tangy flavor to your biscuits) *you might not use all of the milk
6 tablespoons very cold, unsalted butter cut into tablespoon size pieces
Extra butter & jam or honey for serving with the warm biscuits
Preheat oven to 450
Cut the butter into tablespoon size pieces and place back in the fridge
Measure the milk or buttermilk and place back in the fridge
Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse to combine.
Sprinkle the butter over the flour and pulse a few times until you have a course meal.
Place the flour mixture in a bowl. Pour about 3/4 cup of the milk over the flour and use a rubber spatula to gently combine. A soft dough should form. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more milk around the edges and fold again to combine.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently flatten into a small rectangle then starting at the small end, fold one end over onto the other end and gently flatten.  Repeat this process 3 more times. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
After folding, gently flatten the dough to about 1 1/2" thick and cut with a sharp biscuit or cookie cutter. Gently reshape the dough and cut again until you have about 5-6 biscuits.
** the biscuits that are made with the reshaped dough won't be as pretty, but they'll taste just as good
Place biscuits about 1" apart into a buttered skillet or onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake until golden brown. Remove from the oven and top with butter. Serve immediately with extra butter, honey and/or jam if desired.


  1. No time on the baking? Like to have a general idea

  2. My recipe (very similar) calls for 10 minutes at 450.

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  5. I have struggled with trying to make layered fluffy biscuits for more than 45 years. This was spectacular. Thank you so much for sharing.