Best Ever Biscuits
A Little Touch of Heaven
Saturday Mornings & Biscuits
When I was growing up, one of our favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning was when mom would put on a pan of baking powder biscuits. We would gather round the table in our PJs or take a plate and go in and sit on the front room rug, happily munching on the warm biscuits that we slathered with butter and jam or butter and syrup.
As soon as I got old enough, I started making my own biscuits and while I still use our family recipe, through the years, I've discovered a few things and refined the way I make biscuits, for near-perfect results. In this article, I will share my recipe and tips and tricks for making light and fluffy biscuits.
Homemade Biscuits Ready for the Oven
Made the wrong way biscuits can be tough as hockey pucks or they don't rise high enough, but with a bit of know-how and some tender loving care, you can make biscuits you can be proud of.
A large sifter can be a godsend in a kitchen and sifting your flour helps to ensure fluffy, light biscuits. While many cooks may not bother with sifting, it takes just seconds and makes a big difference to how fluffy your biscuits will be.
Ingredients for Best Ever Biscuits
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 4 tbsp. vegetable shortening (not oil), room temperature
- 1 cup milk, approximate
Shortening tip: Never try to cut in cold shortening from the fridge. This is a difficult undertaking and results in tough biscuits.
Folding tip: I fold over my dough and do this 1-2 times.
- Place a fine mesh sifter over a bowl and add first three ingredients. Shake sifter until all is in bowl.
- Cut in room-temperature shortening with a pastry cutter.
- Add milk and stir lightly with a wooden spoon, until a loose ball forms.
- Place biscuit dough on a floured surface and knead lightly. Fold over and use the heel of your hand to join the folded dough. The fold makes for higher biscuits. Flatten out dough with your hands or with a rolling pin (a rolling pin makes for a more uniform top).
Rule of thumb: go by feel. When you work your dough in your hands, you can feel whether it is too dry or too moist.
Adjust amounts of shortening, baking powder, and milk to personal preference. A little more shortening or milk makes for a moister biscuit. A pinch more baking powder makes for a higher biscuit.
Secret to Making High Biscuits
Cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter and holding one, form a circle around it with your hand. Now turn the dough and lightly squeeze inward until the biscuit round becomes 1-1&1/2 inches high. Squeezing the sides forces the biscuits to become higher and they are lighter as they cook. As they rise, they reach impressive heights. I've been asked, many times, why my biscuits are so high and what my secret is for making such high biscuits.
Just the Way I Like 'Em!
At times, using my squeeze-the-middle technique, my biscuits have risen so high that, like the leaning Tower of Pisa, they have developed an actual lean and then have cooked in that shape.
- Double-pan so your biscuit bottoms don't over-brown.
- 350 degrees, for first 10 minutes, then reduce heat.
- Reduce heat, as necessary, so that you produce golden biscuits that are fully cooked in the middle.
- Check bottoms during cooking time.
A Word About Baking Time
Because oven temperatures vary and biscuit sizes may be different, baking time will vary from about 15-25 minutes. The best rule of thumb is to simply watch your biscuits as they cook to make sure they turn out golden. If you are unsure as to whether they are cooked in the middle, do the "done-ness test." Take out one biscuit and cut or pull it apart to check the middle. I touch the insides with a finger and go by how the biscuit feels.
A Word About Biscuit Shapes
In the section below, we'll take a look at the different biscuit shapes.
Rolled and Cut Round Biscuits
It is a good bet that the all-time favorite biscuits are those that are rolled out and cut with a round cutter. This produces great-looking biscuits with a all-round good texture.
If you figure you will be making lots of these, it might be an idea to visit a specialty kitchen shop and invest in a set of sturdy stainless steel biscuit cutters that will last you for years. The lighter-weight cutters become misshapen and aren't up to the task.
Round Biscuits Fresh Out of the Oven
Fancier Shaped Biscuits
You can use neat-shaped cookie cutters to make shaped biscuits. If the cutters are open-topped, this is a real plus. The old-style aluminum cutters usually have closed tops but can still be used to make shaped biscuits.
It Can Be Fun to Change Things Up a Bit
Biscuit Cutter Tip
When using cutters, make sure to dip them in flour, so dough doesn't stick to them.
When you just can't be bothered with any kind of fuss, and you don't want to use biscuit cutters, you can make what I call Lazy-Daisy Biscuits.
Quick Square Biscuits
Roll out biscuit dough into a rectangle and then cut into squares to make square biscuits. You can do this on a cutting board or even in the pan. These won't have as good of a texture but they will do in a pinch.
Baked Square Biscuits
Quick Diamond-Shaped Biscuits
Roll out biscuit dough and cut like you would for square biscuits but cut these on the diagonal in a criss-cross pattern for diamond-shaped biscuits.
Quick Round Biscuits
If you are pressed for time but prefer round biscuits.
- Shape biscuit dough into a log and cut into rounds. This is an easy and fast method for making round biscuits. They won't look as nice, but if you are in a hurry, this can shave minutes off prep time.
- This allows you to determine thickness when cutting out biscuits, so if you like high biscuits, simply slice wider/thicker pieces.
- Use flour so knife doesn't stick.
Lazy-Man's Way to Cut Out Round Biscuits
Making Round Biscuits
A Word About Biscuit Height
If you follow the "squeeze-the-middle" tip for making high biscuits, found at the beginning of this article, you will fashion high biscuits. Another way to get the same results is to use deeper biscuit cutters as seen below.
How to Make High or Grand Biscuits
For high biscuits, you should use sturdy open-top, deep biscuit cutters. I absolutely love these and they are well-worth the investment. This way your biscuit dough doesn't stick to the top of the cutter and you can cut thicker biscuits.
Want High Biscuits?
How to Make 3" Biscuits and Gravy
Biscuits Made With Care Are Better Biscuits
When making biscuits, if you take a little care, your final result will be far better. When I first started making biscuits, I would hurry through them and I ended up with tough, awful biscuits that even our dog wouldn't eat.
Make your biscuits with tender loving care and you will be rewarded with wonderful fluffy biscuits.
Biscuits with Butter and Strawberry Jam--What a Way to Greet the Morning
• Slather biscuits with real butter while still warm and top with strawberry jam
• Serve biscuits with butter and real maple syrup
• Butter biscuits and drizzle corn syrup over
A Biscuit is Just a Biscuit... or is it?
My biscuit recipe can be used with for following:
- Biscuit Casserole Topping: top casseroles with biscuit crust and dot with butter. This really adds down-home goodness to meat-based oven casseroles. Cook casserole as you normally would and place biscuit crust on top about 15-20 minutes before you plan to take casserole out of the oven.
- Butter Biscuits: substitute butter for the shortening. These biscuits are every bit as good and for those who don't care to use hydrogenated fats, butter can be used as a tasty alternative.
- Cheddar Biscuits: add shredded cheddar cheese when you are mixing up your dry ingredients.
- Cheese-Bacon Biscuits: add precooked and crumbled bacon along with cheddar cheese. These biscuits are incredibly good!
- Cinnamon Biscuits: roll out dough into a thinner rectangle and butter top. Sprinkle on brown sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of cloves. Roll dough into a long log, then cut out rounds. When cool, ice with butter icing or with glaze (as is seen in markets).
- Dumplings: use biscuit recipe but substitute butter or margarine for the shortening. This substitution is important to achieve tender dumplings every time. Add to gently simmering soups or stews, dropping in by teaspoons or tablespoons. Make a moister dough for dumplings.
- Fruity Biscuits: add raisins, currants or soft cranberries and slightly more sugar for sweeter biscuits or scones.
- Peach Breakfast Biscuit Pie: layer sliced peaches and syrup in a smaller casserole dish. Top with biscuit crust and bake in oven until crust is cooked.
- Pinwheel Biscuits (chicken, ham, or turkey spirals): 1-2 cans of chicken, turkey, or ham. Place meat into bowl and mince with fork. Add minced green onion and finely chopped celery, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Roll out biscuit dough into rectangle and spread with meat mixture, then roll up and cut as you would for cinnamon rolls. These are great when you want something a little different--a good accompaniment to a meal if company's coming. If you take these to potlucks, they are sure to garner comments and compliments.
- Whole Wheat Biscuits: replace 1 cup of white flour with one cup of whole wheat flour.
- Xmas Biscuits: add mixed chopped peel for brightly-colored, slightly sweeter biscuits.
A Biscuit For Every Taste
Do You Make Biscuits?
Southern Homemade Biscuits
Biscuit Baked Golden Brown
Every Day Should Have a Biscuit in it
I hope you've enjoyed this page on biscuit-making and find the tips and tricks helpful. I've made biscuits for years and enjoy them in their many variations. Biscuits truly are a comfort food that spells "home."
*Copyright Athlyn Green (M. Rhodes). Do not copy.
© 2007 Athlyn Green