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I was making some baking powder biscuits and wondered if using different types of oil in the recipe would effect the taste, fluffiness, and texture of the finished biscuit. So I decided to try it.

I started by modifying slightly a recipe from allrecipes.com. I cut the recipe in half since I was testing three different oils, and substituted almond milk for cow's milk.

The recipe I used included:

1 cup all purpose flour
1.25 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
2.5 tablespoons oil (butter or olive oil or coconut oil)
3/8 cup almond milk.


Step 1: Preparing a Batch With Butter

First combine the dry ingredients and mix them well.

- add the flour
- add the baking powder
- add the salt
- mix well

Then cut off the appropriate amount of butter, and chop it into small pieces before adding it to the dry ingredients.

Mix until the dough forms small clumps.

Add milk slowly until the dough forms a ball.

Dump out all of the dough onto the counter and roll out into a sheet. Use a cookie cutter to cut out biscuits. Bake for 6 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven.

I carefully rolled out each batch to 0.5 cm thickness and measured each product after baking to compare the three oils.

Step 2: Baking the Biscuits

I baked each batch on an ungreased cookie sheet for 6 minutes in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven on the middle rack.

Step 3: Measuring the Thickness of the Butter Biscuits

After baking, I sliced one of the butter batch in half and measured the cross sectional thickness of the biscuit. The biscuit had been rolled out to 0.5 cm in thickness before baking.

After baking the biscuit was 1.0 cm in thickness.

The biscuit tasted fluffy and moist.

Step 4: Preparing a Batch With Olive Oil

For a second batch, I replicated the same recipe with the same procedure and other ingredients but substituted olive oil for the butter. I found it easier to mix this batch since the oil was a liquid rather than a hard solid like the butter. The dough was drier and crumblier than the butter dough.

Step 5: Measuring the Thickness of Olive Oil Biscuits

After baking, I sliced one of the olive oil batch in half and measured its thickness.

Before baking these biscuits were 0.5 cm in thickness, after baking they were 0.75 cm in thickness.

Step 6: Preparing a Batch With Coconut Oil

Again I repeated the same procedure except this time I used coconut oil instead of butter.

The coconut oil is a soft solid at room temperature so it was really easy to mix into a batter.

Step 7: Measuring the Coconut Oil Biscuit Thickness

The biscuits made with coconut oil were flakier in texture, had a nice nutty flavor, and also had large gas pockets within the biscuit that increased their overall volume. This batch definitely looked fluffy when they came out of the oven.

Before baking these biscuits were 0.5 cm in thickness.

After baking they were 1.0 cm in thickness.

Step 8: So Which Biscuit Was the Best?

All three biscuits were tasty, but the texture and appearance of the coconut oil biscuit was the smoothest, fluffiest, and sweetest.

In the photo of the cross sections of the biscuits, they are from left to right: butter, olive oil, and then coconut oil.

Now I wonder what will happen if I switch to another type of flour? or add a sweetener to make desert biscuits? or spices to make them savory?
Interesting "experiment". I have always wondered as well but did not take the time to do what you have. Thanks. I doubt adding spices would affect the overall biscuit but flour might and sweetener might as well. Let us know.
I have messed around with sweeteners before but never formally. I have a bunch of different flours which I think will effect the results, that is my next goal. I actually did this for a final project for a cooking class I'm taking online and it was quite fun.

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Bio: I'm a physics and chemistry teacher at a public school in Maryland and active in my local science teacher's association. I love building ... More »
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