I have made my own from-scratch biscuits for years but I’ve never been really happy with them (I feel the same about pie crusts). They were … fine. But never as fluffy or decadent as I dreamed they could be. So I began searching for help. Tips. New techniques. Whatever it took. And one of my favorite baking websites, Baker Bettie, came to the rescue. Her site has not only recipes, but a how-to specifically on biscuit-making. I’ve used her 411 a couple of times now and I’m getting better at it. The hand-patting rather than rolling-pin rolling makes me feel like a klutz. But I’m enough of a believer to keep giving it a go. So here’s my biscuit-making guide, based on hers. May your dough rise up to meet you and warm buttery goodness find its way into the palm of your hand.
Makes 6 large biscuits or double the recipe for a baker’s dozen
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 Tbsp. aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
- 6 Tbsp. butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk, very cold
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) in a large bowl and whisk together.
- Cut cold butter pieces into the flour, using a pastry cutter, fork or mixer, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Add the cold buttermilk and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. The dough will be wet and sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With floured hands gently pat (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. Add a bit of flour on top if needed and fold the dough over itself about 5 times, gently pressing down between each fold. Carefully pat the dough out to a 1-inch thick circle.
- Use a round cutter (I use the rim of a mason jar, like my grandmother did) to cut the dough. The smaller the cutter, the more biscuits you get.
- Gently pat the scraps together to cut out the rest of your biscuits.
- Place the biscuits in a round cake pan or springform pan close together. Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat up to 450ºF. (Baker Bettie says a high-sided pan and the active high heat on the biscuits both help to make taller, fluffier biscuits.)
- Bake for about 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Do not open the oven door. You want the steam to stay trapped in the oven to help with the rise. Brush biscuits with melted butter if desired.