One secret ingredient keeps these low-fat baked goods moist and tender.
By: James Briscione
July 28, 2015
1 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
When you’re looking to kick up the excitement level around your brunch table, a platter of tender, flaky biscuits should cement your legacy as breakfast royalty. I challenge you to just say “buttermilk biscuits” without smiling. It can’t be done. Warm from the oven, they’re the ultimate crowd pleaser, and if you run across someone who doesn’t get excited about homemade biscuits, you probably don’t want to be friends with them anyway.
2 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
Your Mise En Place
Chilled butter, cut
Pastry blender (or 2 knives)
Wire cooling racks
3 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
1. Mix dry ingredients with butter.
Preheat oven to 400°. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Chill 10 minutes.
4 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
2. Whisk wet ingredients together.
Combine buttermilk and honey in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
5 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
3. Work with your hands.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times.
Making the perfect biscuit is all about learning to handle the dough properly. Don’t mix or knead too much. You want your dough to be moist lumps of flour and butter that just barely hold together.
6 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
4. Sprinkle flour over top.
Roll dough into a (1⁄2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour.
7 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
5. Fold and flatten.
Fold dough crosswise into thirds (as if folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope). Re-roll dough into a (1⁄2-inch- thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds; gently roll or pat to a 3⁄4-inch thickness.
When you pat the dough into shape, use your rolling pin sparingly. Your restraint will be rewarded with the most tender and flaky biscuits you’ve ever tasted.
8 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
6. Cut and cook.
Cut dough with a 13⁄4-inch biscuit cutter to form 14 dough rounds (rerolling if necessary). Place dough rounds, 1 inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. To maximize the number of biscuits you get from the recipe, gather the dough scraps after cutting, gently pat or reroll to a 3⁄4-inch thickness, and cut out additional biscuits. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until golden.
Remove from pan; cool 2 minutes on wire racks. Serve warm.
Once you’ve perfected your biscuit technique, don’t let them be pigeon-holed to the hours before noon. Mini biscuits with thin slices of ham deserve a place in the Hors d’Oeuvre Hall of Fame. Or omit the salt and drizzle baked biscuits with honey, then fill with fresh fruit and lightly whipped cream or yogurt. No matter how you eat them, you win.
9 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
Variation 1: Parmesan-Pepper Biscuits
The sharp, nutty flavor of Parmesan and the spicy bite of black pepper make these biscuits a standout pairing for roasted meats or the perfect vehicle for a breakfast sandwich.
10 of 10Photo: Hélène Dujardin / Oxmoor House
Variation 2: Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits
You’ll find many different methods for rolling biscuit dough, but the folding technique used in these recipes helps create the most irresistible, flaky layers.