Easy Tips For Homemade Biscuits

Homemade biscuits can be a delicious part of a variety of meals.
Homemade biscuits can be a delicious part of a variety of meals.

Fresh, warm biscuits complete a delicious weekend breakfast, and they can also make a great side dish at dinner. If you’ve been making do by using tins of pre-made dough, you should try preparing your own. With a few simple cooking tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to baking a soft, flaky batch today.

Select the butter
Quality biscuits begin with a good butter. Since this element contributes much of the flavor to the final product, Bon Appetit recommended choosing an unsalted variety that you would enjoy spreading on your morning toast. Make sure the butter is cold, as this makes it capable of holding the dough together and giving the biscuits structure.

“Make sure you use cold butter.”

Some cooks are strong supporters of using lard in their dough, preferring the extra flakiness and tenderness that come from baking with pig fat. If you like, you can even combine both options for added taste and improved texture. The New York Times Magazine provided a recipe that calls for mixing equal parts lard and unsalted butter.

Mixing the dough
For classic buttermilk biscuits, combine flour, baking powder and salt before adding butter and shortening. Then, stir in buttermilk until it’s just barely combined. Never overwork the dough or pour in too much liquid. The mixture should be sticky, not wet. As a result, the biscuits will achieve the proper flakiness when they are finished, rather than becoming cake-like.

Depending on the equipment you own and your personal preferences, there is plenty of room for experimenting with the dough preparation. If you have a food processor, for instance, Serious Eats advised using it to cut the fat into the dry ingredients. This will create layers that can be combined quickly, before the butter has time to grow too warm and soft. Otherwise, you can rely on a whisk, pastry cutter or your fingertips.

After you have made a batch or two, you might also try out some different ingredients. The Food Network’s Ree Drummond instructed  throwing in 2 teaspoons cream of tartar with the dry elements, contributing an acid to activate the baking powder. You can also mix in whole wheat flour for a more interesting texture or add sweetness with a couple tablespoons of sugar.

Layer on
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and place the dough atop it. Add a further dusting of flour, and then start folding. According to Alton Brown, you should fold the dough over five or six times, creating several light layers. Another option is to cut the dough into four pieces and stack them up.

Serious Eats pointed out that this is also an excellent time to add in layers of flavor. After the first fold, you can incorporate extras like grated cheddar cheese and sliced scallions or bacon and Parmesan cheese.

Cut the dough into round pieces with a biscuit cutter. Bon Appetit suggested departing from tradition by cutting square pieces, which means you’ll use every piece of dough without the trouble of rerolling it.

Layering your biscuits will make them perfectly airy and flaky.Layering your biscuits will make them perfectly airy and flaky.

Bake at high heat
Preheat the oven in advance, so it’s ready by the time you set the biscuits on a baking sheet. The Kitchn’s directions call for baking at 425-450 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes. Look for the biscuits to puff up and become golden brown on top. Give them a little time to cool on a wire rack, and then serve.

With these ideas, you can get started on developing your own spin on homemade biscuits. With a little practice, you’ll find how to achieve just the right flavor and texture. You can even enroll in online baking courses to learn more about achieving exceptional dough and cooking it to perfection.

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