Making biscuits has almost become therapeutic for me, I mostly find myself making them on rare lazy Saturdays after a long week of work. There is something about using my hands to cut the butter into the flour, then folding and working the dough by hand, finding the perfect spot to make the first biscuit cut. It really makes me feel like I’m making something special even though it’s just simple biscuits. My family loves them and even the hint that I might make them turns my brothers into giddy children. We usually have them with homemade sausage gravy or sometimes we fry up eggs and bacon for a breakfast sandwich. They are really simple to make and with only a few tips and tricks you can look like a pro!
1) Make sure the butter is cold before you cut it into the flour. The reason for this is steam! When the biscuits go into the hot oven the butter melts quickly and releases its water content in the form of steam, this steam pushes up each layer of dough as it cooks to form flakey layers.
2) If you don’t have buttermilk, not to worry you can use milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Make sure you use lemon juice as the baking soda must have acid to properly react. Buttermilk has enough to make this happen but milk by its self needs lemon juice! I recommend letting the milk and lemon sit together at room temp for about an hour before making the biscuits. Trust me on this!
3) Once the dough is formed and on your work surface flatten the dough into a rectangle about 2 inches think. Next fold over one end onto itself and flatten back down to about 2 inches repeat this 4 to 5 times. This step is CRITICAL for flakey biscuits in essence you are creating the layers of the biscuit! Make sure not to do any more than 5 folds you still want the dough to be tender and over working it will make for tough biscuits.
4) I sometimes skip this step for time but it does make a difference. After you have cut and placed your biscuit on a baking sheet refrigerate for 1 hour before baking. This ensures the butter is very cold when the biscuits go into the hot oven, and it also allows for the fat to really coat all the flour which helps with browning as well as flaking.
- 3 cups (384 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for searving
- 1 1/4 cups cold buttermilk
- pure maple syrup, for rubbing the biscuits
- nice sea salt or coarse freshly ground black pepper for sprinkling
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 425
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Using your fingers, work in the butter just until the mixture turns into coarse crumbs with some pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the buttermilk just until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.
3. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured work surface and pat into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Fold it in half once so that it's 1-inch thick. Do this three more times to create layers in the dough. Then roll the dough out to about a 1-inch thick.
4. Using a lightly floured 3-inch round cutter, cut out the biscuits (in one motion — do not twist the cutter), as close together as possible, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet leaving 2 inches between them. Gently pat the dough scraps together (do not overwork the dough), reroll and cut out more biscuits. (Note: You could just cut the rectangle into 8 squares, which will leave you with no scraps to reroll.)
5. Brush each biscuit with maple syrup and sprinkle with crushed black pepper and sea salt.
6. Bake for 15min.