Southern Buttermilk Biscuits: A Follow-Up

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits: A Follow-Up

Originally, I thought using a food processor was the best way to mix the dough. Turns out, that overmixes them and they come out dense and doughy. 

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, frozen
1 cup buttermilk

*If using regular milk, omit the baking soda.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Grate a stick of butter with a cheese grater. Or use a knife to cut the butter into very small pieces. Freezing the butter makes grating and cutting much easier.

Add the grated butter to the dry ingredients and cut the butter into the flour mixture. I usually use my hands by rubbing the pieces of butter into the flour between my fingers until all the big pieces are mixed in.

Stir in the buttermilk in just until it comes together. The dough should look barely crumbly. By the time you fold it into layers, it’s a very soft dough.

As demoed in the video, the dough is too wet and I have to add almost another quarter cup of flour to get the consistency right - meaning, it’s not sticky.

To me, it’s easier to make sticky dough drier by adding flour, than it is to make dry flour wetter by adding liquid.

Folding the dough eight times, alternating between vertical and horizontal folds. This gives you really nice layers in the biscuits. And only stretch it out to an inch of thickness, no thinner. This should give you only six biscuits but very tall fluffy biscuits.

And when you cut your biscuit shape, don’t twist, just scoot the cutter from side to side to break the dough.

With my leftover dough, I’ve started rolling into little balls to set on the outside of the biscuits to help them rise more evenly. The biscuits need to touch each other which helps them rise and i’ve had a major issue with the outside of the biscuits not rising and ending up with very lopsided biscuits. So this helps a little and it makes fun little biscuit nuggets.

When biscuits to into the oven, raise the temperature to 500 degrees F and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned.

If your biscuits look a little wet on the inside or on the edges, you can try baking for a few more minutes or this is your cue that the dough was too wet or over kneaded. I had a touch of that with this batch but by the time they fully cooled, I noticed that the wet-dough look had dried out and I ended up with very soft biscuits and they were wonderful.

So the moral of this story, kids, is your biscuit baking will become your own as you learn your oven and your preferred method of grating butter and mixing the dough and folding the dough. And the best way to perfect your biscuits is to make them often.

*The dough can also be frozen before baking for future use. I haven't tried it yet, but it's probably best to freeze right after mixing in the milk, before folding. That way, when it thaws (in the fridge overnight), you can work it a little to ensure the layers are still fluffy, while the oven preheats. We use this technique with croissants.

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