Tips & Tricks
Biscuit Baking Tips from Biscuit Boss Erika Council
These days have seen us spending a lot of time at home, with quite a few trying their hand at bread baking, some finding success and others finding that bread, when prepared incorrectly, works well when one requires a door stopper. We’ve received a lot of questions on how to be a better biscuit baker and I’m here to help you rise to the occasions, no pun intended, with a few tips and tricks that will help you on your quest to biscuit greatness. What’s better than the quintessential quick bread that is biscuits. Absolutely nothing, but that’s just my humble opinion.
— Erika Council
Let’s start at the beginning. With any recipe, especially with baking recipes, the ingredient measurements provided can cause different results depending on the actual product used. When it comes to biscuits, buttermilk is where this can most be seen.
Not all buttermilk is created equal
Historically, real buttermilk was a by-product of butter making, made from cream. It's the liquid that's left when cream is churned into butter that would ferment naturally into a thick tangy cream. Most buttermilk sold today is cultured buttermilk, made by reintroducing lactic-acid bacteria to pasteurized skim or low-fat milk. Naturally, this causes different consistencies depending on the brand. All that to say, if you have a recipe that calls for 1 cup of buttermilk, there is a chance that when that recipe was developed the buttermilk, they used could’ve been thicker than what you have in your fridge.
To avoid adding too much liquid to your biscuit mix, start with ½ of what the recipe calls for and gradually add in the remaining amount of liquid until you get the dough consistency of almost silly puddy.
If you do add too much liquid to the dry ingredients, don’t “add more flour” as some recipes call for. Doing so will cause your biscuits not to rise as they should since you’ve added more flour but not the additional leavening ingredients (baking powder and baking soda). Instead, grab an ice cream scoop or spoon and make them drop biscuits instead of trying to roll them out the traditional way.
Roll it out
How many times should you re-roll that biscuit dough? Once, twice? I tend to stop at twice, because if you keep rolling, you’ll have car tires rather that fluffy biscuits—and no one wants that. One way to avoid this is a little trick that I learned as a kid and has since gone viral after I posted it on social media. Big Mama would roll out the dough and place it on a sheet pan or skillet, then proceed to cut rounds out of the dough leaving the edges as well. This made for some of the softest biscuits I’ve ever had with crisp edges us kids used as spoons. Of course, you can also just use a knife and cut them into squares.
Cut the dough
Now that we’ve gotten to the process of where you’re cutting out your biscuits, let’s discuss this glass cup situation. Guys, put the glass away—unless you’re pouring a glass of wine. Using a drinking glass to cut out your biscuits often seals the edges of the dough; this will leave you with some very flat biscuits. Use a knife if you don’t have biscuit or cookie cutters. A tin can will work if the edges are sharp enough.
Crisp the bottom
There is nothing better than a crisp-bottom biscuit fresh out of a cast iron skillet. One way to get a great crisp on the bottom is to put your cast iron skillet in the hot oven for about 10 minutes before adding your biscuits to it and baking them.
Practice makes perfect
Lastly, biscuit making takes time to perfect. So, my best advice is taking the process too seriously. If your biscuits come out too hard, make some bread pudding or French toast with them. Too runny? Butter up a skillet and let’s make some pancakes.
You’ll get better at it the more you make, just don’t forget to invite me over. I’ll bring the gravy!
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