Introduction: Foolproof Biscuits

About: Michael's Test Kitchen - FOOD - SUGAR - RECIPES

Ever tried to make biscuits and they just come out of the oven like dry pieces of cardboard? Or they carry a taste reminiscent of baking soda?

This recipe will eliminate those issues, if followed properly – in order for the biscuits to rise significantly, and achieve a butter flaky texture, one of the most important aspects is the cold butter. And I place important stress on the word cold for good reason. If the butter is not cold, then it will melt. This should be comprehensive enough since we are/should be familiar with ice cubes. If the butter melts, then you don’t achieve multiple layers of butter fat inside layers of flour. Instead, you end up with a melted blob that will stay in the form that you left it in when you placed it in the oven in the first place.

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The solution is obvious enough, easier said than done: keep the butter cold. It’s good to keep the butter in the freezer up until you cut it up and use it. Once cut into the flour, it’s a good idea to place the entire bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to take it out and use it with the wet ingredients (which should be cold as well). The faster you work, the colder the butter will be. And the colder the butter is, the more layers will be formed in the dough, and the flakier your biscuits.

However, butter is not the only aspect to a good biscuit. The other aspect is the rising agent. I won’t go into much detail on this, but have found via research and experimentation that a 2:1 ratio of cream of tartar to baking soda works better than a straight-up measurement of baking powder, and also helps eliminate that baking-soda flavor that some people get when they use too much.

Have fun baking, and enjoy!

Step 1: Ingredients


2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

8 Tbs. unsalted butter, frozen

NOTE: As a substitute for buttermilk, mix 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes before using.

Step 2: Dry Ingredients

Preheat oven to 375 (if you want to use convection, preheat to 350). Mix the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl.

Step 3: Butter

Cut frozen butter into tablespoons, and dump the pieces into the food processor. Pulse for not more than 30 seconds until the butter resembles coarse crumbs.

Step 4: Wet Ingredients

Pour flour and butter mixture back into the large bowl.

Pour in the buttermilk and fold it in until the mixture is just holding shape, being careful not to over-mix dough.

Step 5: Roll It

Place dough onto a floured surface, and roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick.

Cut it into thirds, stack the thirds on top of each other, then roll it out again as an inch thick slab.

Step 6: Cut Them Out

Cut out biscuits with any round device like a cup, and place the circles of dough bottom side up on a baking sheet.

Step 7: Bake It

Place in the preheated oven (375 degrees) for 15 minutes or more, until biscuits are golden brown.

Step 8: Enjoy!


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