How to Make Perfect Biscuits in a Few Simple Steps
November 18, 2014
Making light-as-air biscuits is easier than you think
How to Make Biscuits
Making biscuits from scratch is easy if you follow a few basic steps.
Combine the Dry Ingredients
It’s really important that the dry ingredients are well-blended or you’ll end up with pockets of salt or baking powder and the biscuits won’t rise properly. A whisk does a great job of mixing and incorporating. It only takes a few seconds so don’t skip this step.
Add the Fat
Once the flour is whisked, the fat is added. Some biscuits use all butter, others use all shortening or lard, and others use a combination. You can blend with a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers. Just be sure to work quickly so the fat doesn’t melt, incorporating it into the flour until only pea-sized pieces remain.
Add the Liquid
When the liquid is added to the dry ingredients, it’s important to mix just enough to moisten the flour, but not much more than that. If you over-mix, you’ll develop too much gluten and your biscuits will be tough.
Shape the Dough
After mixing, the dough is turned out onto a well-floured surface. Some recipes tell you to use a rolling pin, but you can also use your hand to pat the dough to the proper size and shape. The important thing is not to roll or pat the dough too much. The less you handle the dough, the more tender the biscuits will be.
Fold the Dough
For flaky biscuits, the dough needs to be folded to create layers. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, pat it gently, and then fold it in thirds again for a total of nine layers. One last pat flattens the dough to the final thickness — about 1 inch.
Cut the Biscuits
When you’re cutting biscuits try to use something with a thin, sharp edge. Regardless of whether you use a cutter, a knife, or an inverted glass, cut straight down without twisting so you get a good, even rise on the biscuits. You can gather the scraps of dough, re-roll them, and cut more biscuits or gather them to make free-form biscuits shaped by hand.
Bake the Biscuits
Arrange the biscuits on a parchment-lined pan. If you place them close together, they’ll have soft sides and will usually rise a bit more than ones that are placed further apart. If you put more space between your biscuits, you’ll have crisp brown sides.