Biscuits are the easiest way to put homemade bread on the table for any meal. They are buttery and delicious — crisp tops and bottoms — soft, tender layers inside. Homemade biscuits can be mixed up quickly. They only need 12 minutes in the oven. Whenever I make this scrumptious bread, I kick myself for not doing it more often. You’re going to love bringing piping hot biscuits to the table.
This is a simple recipe and for those of you who have made biscuits all your life, needs no explanation. However, if you are new to biscuit-making, a detailed picture tutorial follows. Happy bread-baking!Print
Perfectly tender biscuits, crisp tops and bottoms, soft inside and loads of fluffy, buttery layers! Such an easy recipe means you can put homemade bread on the table for everyday dinners. Delish!
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (500g)
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup ( 1 ½ sticks) cold butter (167g)
- 1 ½ cups whole milk (366g)
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- Cut the butter into pea-sized cubes. Put the cubes into a small bowl and stick in the freezer until ready to use.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, sugar and salt.
- Add the butter cubes to the dry ingredients and cut them into the mixture with a pastry blender, until pea-sized pieces of butter are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
- Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture and add the milk.
- With a wooden spoon, gently stir the ingredients together until it becomes a shaggy dough. Avoid overworking the dough, to keep biscuits tender.
- Transfer the shaggy dough to a floured counter top and with your hands, gently begin bringing the dough together into one mass. It won’t be perfectly smooth, but the flour an liquid will be incorporated enough for it to hold together in a rough ball.
- Press the ball out with your hands to form a disc that is an even 1″ in thickness.
- Gently fold 1/2 the dough over onto the other half.
- Again, press the dough out to a 1″ uniform thickness and then fold in half. Repeat this process 5 or six times to create layers in your biscuits. Be gentle and don’t over work it. You will still see many pieces of butter throughout the dough.
- Use a 2 3/4″ biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Gather scraps. Press to 1″ thickness and cut the rest.
Keeping the butter very cold will allow it to create pockets of steam in your biscuits as they bake. This will create light, fluffy and soft biscuits with a layered internal texture.
Overworking the dough can make biscuits tough.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Two Tips for Perfect Biscuits
For the best homemade biscuits, there are two key things to remember:
- Keep the butter SUPER cold. Using utensils instead of your hands, whenever possible, will prevent the heat from your hands from melting the butter. Cut the butter into pea-size cubes before starting the recipe. After cubing, keep the butter in the freezer until you are ready to add it. You are keeping it cold so there will still be lumps of butter throughout your finished dough. Just like with pie crust, that butter will create pockets of steam as your biscuits bake and help to form the flaky layers.
- Don’t overwork the dough. Stir only until things are combined. Press only enough to bring the dough together. You don’t want to overdevelop the gluten in the dough. Overworking creates tough biscuits.
Quickly cut the butter into small cubes. Once the butter is cut put the cubes into a small bowl and toss it into the freezer until you’re ready to work with it.
Carefully measure the dry ingredients. I recommend weighing the flour to be most accurate. 4 cups of all-purpose flour should weigh 500 grams.
Mixing Up the Homemade Biscuit Dough
In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
Remove the butter cubes from the freezer. Toss them into the dry ingredients. At this point, you’ll want to change tools for a bit. Set the wooden spoon aside and grab a *pastry blender.
Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. “Cutting in” is a method of distributing the butter without over-warming it. It will leave small chunks of cold butter throughout your mixture that will release steam as the biscuit bakes and create the flaky texture you are looking for. Use a *pastry blender (my preference), fork or two butter knives can be used for this. Try not to use your hands, since that will warm up the butter. Cut and combine the butter with the flour mixture until many small, irregular pieces (about pea-sized) are coated with the dry ingredients and distributed evenly through the mixture.
At this point, you can store the whole mixture in the fridge, if you’re not ready to bake the biscuits. Cover it and keep it cold until you are ready. Don’t add liquids until you are ready to bake. Liquids will activate the baking powder and start the leavening. Bake the biscuits immediately if the liquids have been added. That’s a good rule of thumb for any homemade quick bread recipe.
Flour to Fat to Liquid Ratio
The ratio of flour to fat to wet ingredients is important when baking. It is especially important when baking bread. The proper ratio is critical to the texture and moisture content of the finished baked goods. For biscuits, the basic ratio is 3 parts flour: 1 part fat: 2 parts liquid.
If you use a different type of flour, i.e. whole wheat, all purpose, nut flours, coconut flour, the amount of liquid necessary to properly hydrate the flour will be different. Hydration level may also affected by humidity. The more you bake a recipe, the more accustomed you will become to the way it should look and feel. You will intuitively be able to adjust flour or liquid to achieve your desired outcome.
For this recipe, I use unbleached, all purpose flour and whole milk. I use the amounts listed in the recipe shared below (by gram). The liquid I use is slightly more than the basic ratio of 3:1:2. The basic ratio would call for 333 grams of milk. I use 366g, (about 2 Tablespoons more). I prefer that texture and how well the biscuits rise.
Biscuits are much more forgiving than yeast bread doughs. If you don’t have a *scale to measure everything, you are still going to be able to make fabulous biscuits. The results may not be as consistent batch to batch to batch, but they will be delicious. If you use the standard recipe measurements I’ve provided and you’ll be amazed!
If you’re interested in more information on the Science of Biscuits. Check out this web article. For the basic ratios chefs use for baking, I highly recommend the book *Ratio | the Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.
Mixing the Homemade Biscuit Dough
Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture. Pour the milk into it. You could use water or skim milk. You could also use dairy substitutes for milk. Just be aware that the flavor and texture of the biscuits will not be as good as when whole milk is used. Whole milk also contains the necessary fat to keep the biscuits tender.
With a wooden spoon, gently fold the flour mixture and milk together. Stir only until they are combined and a ragged dough begins to form. It won’t be perfectly combined, but resist the urge to overwork it. Overworking the dough can cause tough biscuits.
Turn the ragged dough out onto a floured countertop and using your hands, quickly and gently work the dough together, into a more cohesive mass. You will still see flecks and lumps of butter throughout the dough which is perfect! (If the dough seems too sticky, you can add a little extra flour as you work it together.)
Pressing Out and Cutting the Dough
The dough should be pressed to about 1‑inch thick and then gently folded in half, so you begin building more layers into the biscuits. Use your fingers to gently press it out again to about 1‑inch thickness. Then, fold it one more time and after that, press it out, again. Repeat the folding process 4 or 5 times. You are creating layers without working the dough too much.
The final dough should be pressed out to an even 1‑inch thickness.
Use a cookie/biscuit cutter to cut biscuits in the shape you desire. Go straight down into the dough. Lift the cutter. Try to make your cuts as close to each other as possible, so you don’t have much scrap left between biscuits. The less working of the dough, the better.
The number of biscuits you get will be affected by the size and shape of the cutter you use. I used a *2 3/4′ round cutter. Place the cut biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving ½‑inch of space between them.
Gently gather the scraps together, so you don’t work the dough more than is necessary to bring it back together and pat it to a 1‑inch thickness. Cut the rest of the dough. If there is enough left for another biscuit, then bring it together and pat it into a biscuit shape with a 1‑inch thickness.
Bake at 425° for 12–14 minutes. Biscuits will be a pale golden brown when done.
Remove from the oven and serve your delicious homemade bread warm with butter, jam and honey or your favorite gravy. Who doesn’t love biscuits!!?!
Look at those beautiful layers!!! Enjoy!