A biscuit in the United States and Canada, is a variety of small baked goods with a firm browned crust and a soft, crumbly interior.
They developed from hardtack which was first made from only flour and water, with later first lard and then baking powder is added.
(Source: Wikipedia – Biscuits)
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They are usually made with baking powder or baking soda as a chemical leavening agent rather than yeast.
Biscuits, soda bread, and cornbread, among others, are often referred to collectively as “quick bread”, to indicate that they do not need time to rise before baking.
(Source: Wikipedia – Biscuits)
The following tips were sourced from our Facebook Group, King Arthur (flour company), and Land O Lakes (butter company) website.
Use Cold Butter for Biscuits
For flaky layers, use cold butter.
When you cut in the butter, you have coarse crumbs of butter coated with flour.
When the biscuit bakes, the butter will melt, releasing steam and creating pockets of air this makes the biscuits airy and flaky on the inside.
Also, use the best quality butter that you can. (And a low protein flour too!)
Some bakers will refrigerate or freeze the dry ingredients too before whipping up a batch of biscuits!
TIP: Freeze the quantity of butter needed and shave it as needed with a vegetable peeler or a grater. Also, cut your butter into smaller pieces and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them (an egg slicer is perfect to make small pats of butter).
I roll mine on my countertop with a marble roller I keep in the freezer before I am ready to use.
Measure Ingredients Accurately
Measuring accurately is important. For flour, we recommend using a spoon to fluff up the flour within the container. Use a spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup and use a knife to level the flour across the measuring cup.
If you want to really dig into “true baking methods” when it comes to flour, weigh it instead of using a measuring cup. (1 cup of flour = 125 grams)
Use Fresh Baking Powder
Baking powder is the leavening agent in biscuits it is often referred to as a “double-acting baking powder”. This means its first release action is when the liquid is mixed in, and then when the biscuits are placed in the oven at high heat.
Three things to remember 1) preheat the oven, 2) shape the biscuits immediately after preparing the dough, and 3) always bake biscuits immediately after forming.
Baking powder is an ingredient that may sit in our pantry for months, it is important to check the expiration date. You can easily test the freshness by mixing a small spoonful of baking powder with ¼ cup of hot water, it should bubble vigorously. If it does not, you need to replace the can.
Buttermilk and Biscuits
Make sure the buttermilk is cold. Buttermilk adds tenderness as well as a tangy flavor.
If you do not have buttermilk available, you can make your own by starting with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and enough milk to equal 1 cup. Let stand 5 minutes.
Rolling or Patting Biscuit Dough
The biscuit dough can either be rolled with a rolling pin or you can pat the dough to the size and shape given in the recipe. If the dough is patted into shape, the top of the dough may have an uneven surface and not be perfectly smooth.
Do not Overwork Biscuit Dough
Handle the dough as little and as gentle as possible as every time you touch, knead, and fold, you are developing the gluten. The more you develop the gluten, the tougher the biscuit, which is more prone to shrinkage.
When kneading very lightly flour your hands or rolling pin, use flour sparingly.
A smooth, homogenous dough is not what you want.
Do not Twist the Biscuit Cutter
When cutting out the biscuits, use a strong, sharp metal biscuit cutter to make it easy to cut through the dough.
To cut, press straight down do not twist the cutter as you cut the dough, or the biscuits will be sloped and not bake evenly on top. If you do not have a biscuit cutter you can use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut your biscuits into squares.
Best Baking Sheet
Metal baking sheets without sides is best, if your pan has sides the biscuits may not bake as evenly. There is no need to grease your baking sheet when making biscuits.
Consider Placement on Baking Sheet
If you want the biscuits to be browned on all sides, place them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
Otherwise, place them 1/2 inch apart, the sides will not be golden brown, but the biscuits will rise nice and tall when they bake together.
Below are the biscuit recipes that we have published to date: