The Great Biscuit Debate Finale-The One

Biscuit finale

Here it is!  The grand finale in my quest for the perfect buttermilk biscuit recipe.  I have finally, through many trials and tests – three of which I wrote about here, here, and here, found the recipe that I will be passing down to my children and their children.  That’s how much I love them (the biscuits and my children).

Here is my one disclaimer:  If you like thin, crusty biscuits this recipe is not for you.  I would say this is the major difference in people’s tastes in homemade biscuits.  Some enjoy tall and fluffy, some thin and crusty.  Personally, I wouldn’t turn away a quality homemade biscuit no matter what, but my preference is for the tall, fluffy and flaky ones.  That’s what this recipe delivers.

First of all, I found by using unbleached all-purpose flour my biscuits rose higher and held together better.  When bleached flour (White Lily) was used, it made a softer biscuit that was not quite as tall and fell apart easier.  (My guess would be that using less fat with the bleached, low protein flour would give you a great thinner, crusty biscuit.)

Secondly, the type of ‘fat’ I ended up liking best was butter, after making shortening, butter/shortening, and all butter versions.  The half-and-half version tasted good, too, and the shortening may add just a little more flakiness, but I think this really comes down to convenience and personal taste.

Finally, here are my conclusions about how to make the best biscuit possible:

  • Sift the flour so the biscuit will be tender and rise as high as possible.
  • Make sure the butter/shortening and buttermilk are very cold.
  • Leave some larger pieces of butter/shortening along with the smaller pieces when cutting it into the flour.
  • Make sure the dough isn’t too dry – it should be sticky before patting or rolling it out.
  • Knead only enough to incorporate all the flour.
  • Cut straight down with the biscuit cutter – don’t twist.
  • Don’t skip the melted butter on the tops after baking.

So if you’ve been searching for a great biscuit recipe, you came to the right place.  Don’t be afraid – once you make these a few times, you’ll be ready to churn them out like your grandmother.

Hot, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

from Shortbread

makes about 10; can easily be doubled

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), shortening, or both, chilled
  • 1 cup buttermilk plus a few tablespoons more if needed, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 485 degrees.
  2. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  3. Cut in the butter/shortening with a pastry blender or fork until it is in pieces the size of large and small peas.
  4. Stir in the buttermilk with a fork until the dough starts to come together.  Using your hands, knead the dough inside the bowl to incorporate all the flour.  The dough should be sticky; add more buttermilk if it is too dry.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and fold over itself 2 or 3 times to make layers.
  6. Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin or pat with hands to 3/4 inch thickness.
  7. Cut out rounds of dough with a 3 inch biscuit cutter (don’t twist!) and place on a baking sheet so they almost touch.  Push the scraps together and cut once more, then place the last of the scraps on the pan.
  8. Bake for 9-12 minutes until golden brown, checking about halfway to rotate pan.
  9. Brush biscuit tops with melted butter right after removing from the oven.  Serve hot.

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9 thoughts on “The Great Biscuit Debate Finale-The One

  1. You’re right. Made these this morning. They are amazing and I have deleted every other biscuit recipe from my database. This will be the only one forever and I, too, will teach my two kids to make them and pass them along. Thanks so much. Really like your site. Hope you’ll visit mine which will be up within the week or so. My Favorite Flavors on WordPress.

    Cheers!
    Steve

  2. oh great finally i find some tricks to make my bisscuits work because i always try step by step the recipes bt they never good and i was always looking for the secret ways of doing it..i will practice to see if i get it right this time

    thank you for sharing

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