Swathed in salted honey butter, drenched in silky gravy, or covered in melted strands of cheese; the humble biscuit is the “it” staple on the table. I’ve been biscuit challenged in the past, with results resembling hockey puck sized discs and lumps of flatten dough that never rose in the oven. But I’ve turned a corner. All it took to create a wonderfully flakey dough was one simple change. Stop cutting your butter into small pieces and pull out that old box grater, and get grating!
For best grating results, have the butter nice and cold. I toss it into the freezer for 5-8 minutes prior, then shave it into large splintery shards. The grated butter goes back into the freezer while I mix the dry ingredients. Frozen butter makes for an easier distribution into the flour mixture and when baked, the steam from the water in the butter boosts the dough resulting in flakey, delicate layers. I wish I could claim this hack, regardless, it’s a great trick for any dough recipe. I first saw this technique in a post from Joy the Baker, what an epiphany!
How you combine your dough also important. When you combine your wet ingredients into the dry, you don’t want to man-handle the dough, or you’ll end up with hockey pucks instead of divine golden clouds with steam lifting away when split in half. Be gentle and just combine your ingredients until they come together, then gently fold over like a book. You can give it a slight roll with a rolling pin but don’t be rough! Pull out either a biscuit cutter or in a pinch, use a glass and cut away.
Whether rolled, folded or spooned, basic pantry ingredients comingle to create something that most of us can’t resist. Soft, tender and with an ever so-light tang, this recipe can be your starting point. From there you can experiment with different flavorings and seasonings, such as ground pepper, cinnamon, or whole grains. In my mind, a good old traditional southern buttermilk biscuit is the mack-daddy of them all! I came a bit late to the popularity of biscuit baking. But with that one little tweak, I’ve seen the light.
ButterFlourSugarSalt’s Cathy Lee Gruhn’s love affair of all things kitchen and food can be traced back to watching episodes Julia Child with her mother and being mesmerized by Gourmet magazine. This love affair was confirmed while in culinary school where she studied Pastry Arts. Cathy’s career has included 25+ years in book publicity, specializing in cookbooks and lifestyle; working with names that include Nigella Lawson, Yotam Ottolenghi, Chef Michael Anthony, James Beard Award Winning Food Writer Michael Ruhlman, and many others.
ButterFlourSugarSalt.com is her virtual recipe box for both delicious sweet and savory food that isn’t fussy or overly complicated. You can find ButterFlourSugarSalt on Facebook (@Butterfloursugarsalt ) and Instagram (butterfloursugarfloursalt).
Makes 12 2-inch biscuits
This recipe comes from the team at Tasting Table. Like many recipes, I stumbled upon this late at night while scrolling through my Facebook Feed. Since my previous attempts at making biscuits had been less than successful, I thought, this is my last attempt and I really liked the recipe. The entire process with this recipe roughly half an hour, plus some chilling time. While I like to use a box grater, you can use a food processor with the grating blade. This recipe calls for a 2 ½ inch cutter, but if you don’t have a biscuit cutter, you can use a glass.
10 tablespoons butter, frozen (1 stick plus 2 Tablespoons)
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Sugar
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
¾ cup chilled Buttermilk (full fat)
¼ cup chilled Heavy Cream
- Preheat the oven to 450* and make sure to have one of the oven racks in the center.
- Over a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper, grate the butter on the large side of t a box grater and place the butter package in the freezer to chill. In a bowl or glass, combine both the buttermilk and heavy cream and place in the fridge to chill while you sift the dry ingredients together.
- In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Take the chilled butter shreds and with a fork, stir in the butter into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the butter-flour mixture and the wet ingredients and stir slightly until the dough comes together. The dough will be clumpy.
- On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and press and fold it up the five (5) times. It’s best not to knead or squeeze the dough. Form the dough into a rectangle shape and softly pat the dough to a thickness roughly ¾ of an inch.
- With a 2 ½ inch biscuit cutter, press into the dough and don’t twist. Place each piece on a baking sheet lined with parchment and have them just touching. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for roughly 20-minutes.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the topes are just golden. Let the biscuit cool slightly before serving. To make ahead, place the biscuits on a sheet tray and freeze, then transfer to a plastic bag for up to one month.