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« Cheddar Dill Biscuits | Main | Dark Chocolate Oatmeal »

Tuesday Tip: Mile-High Biscuits

Cheddar Dill Biscuits

Biscuits—the wonderfully soft and flaky quick breads we all know and love—have become an American staple. Biscuits act as an alternative to dinner rolls or cornbread, soaking up gravy when paired with meat or potatoes, but they work equally well as a breakfast treat, covered with a thick layer of jam.

There are a few coveted qualities of all biscuits. They must be soft and flaky, unbelievably tender, and they must rise to towering heights (if for no reason but to entice us in). If you follow the few tips below, your biscuits can come out perfect every single time.

Mile-High Biscuit Tips:

  • Start with very cold butter or shortening. The cold ingredients, when incorporated into the flour, will give you flakier biscuits. We want flaky biscuits (FYI: this is also the trick for flaky pie crusts!).
  • Mix the butter into the flour just until it resembles coarse sand. This can be accomplished using a stand mixer, food processor, pastry blender, or with your hands (but make sure your hands are cold so you don't warm the butter!).
  • Add the liquid (again, make sure it is cold) and do not over-mix when incorporating it into the flour. Over-mixing will result in less tender biscuits. Why? Gluten forms when mixing dough, so the more you mix, the more gluten forms. When a lot of gluten forms, it results in a heavier, denser bread. This is the opposite of what we look for in a light, tall biscuit.
  • Move dough to a lightly floured surface and flatten with it with your hands (as opposed to a rolling pin) to 1/2-inch to 1-inch thick. If you need to knead the dough a few times to get it to come together, it is okay to do so but don't knead more than 10-12 times. The less you handle the dough, the softer the final result will be.
  • Cut out biscuits with a cutter lightly coated in flour. Do not twist cutter once you have pressed into the dough. Twisting will cause the sides of the dough to seal, meaning the dough will not rise as high as possible (or one side may seal and the other doesn't, resulting in a very crooked biscuit).
  • Place biscuits close to one another on the baking sheet for biscuits with soft edges or place 1-inch apart for crusty edges (depending on your preference).

To reheat leftover biscuits, wrap biscuits individually in foil and bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, you can place biscuits in a microwave with a damp paper towel on high for 15-20 seconds, or until warm.

Can you guess what type of recipe is coming up next?

Cheddar Dill Biscuits

Reader Comments (13)

These look lovely, cannot wait for the recipe, and great tips!
biscuits are some of my favorite things to make! so easy once you get the hang of it. and these you made look fabulous. can't want to see the recipe.
01.24.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbonny
Love this! I have yet to make a perfect biscuit. Hoping these tips will change that!
Great tips. I knew about the minimal handling but not the twisting or cold liquid!
01.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKtP
Oh my gosh those biscuits look delish, I can't stop looking at them :/ Thanks for the tips! I think I've been inspired to whip up some biscuits soon!
01.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
Aww, my friend and I were just talking about how to make the perfect pie crust last night, which uses many of the same tips :)
01.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Klotz
Great tips! I definitely learned of that close or far away trick recently (I prefer crusty edges, personally) and the cutter trick! Again, love this series.

I can't wait to see the recipe for these! Have you ever used White Lily flour to make biscuits? My godfather, whose from Tennessee, taught me how to make biscuits when I was big enough to reach the kitchen counter and he always said it was the best for super tender, flaky ones. So good! Now we've gone healthy and make whole wheat, but I miss the real kind!
Those biscuits look incredible. I've never had mine rise as high as that, EVER! You have some really great tips going on here. I especially like the reheating one. I never thought of putting a wet paper towl over the biscuit before placing it in the microwave.
01.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
The biscuits look great! Next time I try biscuits I will keep in mind the tips mentioned here. thanks fro sharing!
01.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterShumaila
Thank you for these tips. I never make biscuits really well. I will try, try, try again because yours are beautiful!!
These are beautiful. I just saw them on tastespotting and had some come look at the recipe. Biscuits are something I need to try my hand at a bit more this year and any tips help!
01.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKita
Your blog makes me so happy, I'm glad it slipped into the back of my mind just so I could rediscover it again ^__^
Hi I have discovered your blog...I love it!!! great work :) Such as shame you've only done 3 "Tuesday Tips" I really like them :)
Can;t wait to try out some of your recipes.
06.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

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