Quarantine Bake Along: Biscuits

Of all the quick breads out there, I gotta say that biscuits are at the top for my favorite alongside scones. There’s nothing like tearing open a warm, flaky biscuit and slathering it with honey butter. We often make them for breakfast, but they’re a welcoming option alongside any meal.

I have a few favorite recipes when it comes to biscuits, and it all kind of depends on what I have on hand and what I plan to use them for. I tend towards buttermilk varieties because I love the added flavor and tang that it lends. However, I know most people don’t often have buttermilk in their fridges, so I have back up regular milk and yogurt recipes as well. Find whichever suits your tastes and with what you have available!

A Brief Biscuit History

Several 19th-century innovations helped us get to what’s now recognized as the Southern biscuit. Better mills and increased wheat production dropped the price of flour enough that poorer Southerners could afford to buy flour. The development of chemical leavening agents, such as potassium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate, and sodium bicarbonate (what we now know as baking soda) helped biscuits rise without yeast or beaten eggs, creating the light and fluffy biscuits we know and love.

Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 6 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Add flour into a medium bowl, then add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well combined (this may take a minute or more). Add cubed butter, toss to break up the pieces, and smash each cube flat. Continue smashing and rubbing until butter has mostly disappeared into a floury mix, although a few larger, Cheerio-sized pieces may remain.
  3. Add buttermilk and stir with a flexible spatula until the flour has been fully absorbed. The dough will seem rather crumbly and dry at first, but keep mixing until it finally comes together. Once the dough forms a rough ball, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
  4. Using your bare hands, gently pat dough into a squarish shape about 1/2 inch thick, then fold in half; repeat twice more for a total of 3 folds, using only enough flour to keep your hands from sticking. Finish by patting the dough to a thickness of 3/4 inch. Dust away any excess flour, if necessary, then cut dough into 3-inch rounds and arrange closely in a cast iron skillet. Gather scraps into a ball, pat and fold a single time, then cut as many more biscuits as you can. The final round of scraps can be gathered and shaped into a single biscuit by hand.
  5. Bake biscuits until they are well risen and golden brown, about 25-35 minutes. Let biscuits cool about 5 minutes to help set their crumb, then serve fresh.

Adapted from Serious Eats.

Classic Biscuit Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Alternatively, cut butter into flour in the mixing bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter.) Return dough to bowl, add milk and stir until it forms a rough ball.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
  4. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Adapted from NYT Cooking.

Yogurt Biscuit Recipe

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 400°F.
  2. Sift flour into a medium bowl, then add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk until well combined. Add the butter, toss to break up the pieces, and smash each cube flat. Continue smashing and rubbing until the butter has mostly disappeared into a floury mix, although a few larger pieces may remain. This can also be done with 4 or 5 pulses in a food processor.
  3. Add yogurt, and stir with a flexible spatula until the flour has been fully absorbed. The dough will seem rather crumbly and dry at first, but keep mixing until it finally comes together. Once the dough forms a rough ball, turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
  4. With your bare hands, gently pat the dough into a squarish shape about 1/2 inch thick, then fold in half; repeat twice more for a total of 3 folds, using only enough flour to keep your hands from sticking. Finish by patting the dough to a thickness of 3/4 inch. If needed, dust away any excess flour, then cut into 1 3/4-inch rounds and arrange in a cast iron skillet or round cake pan. Gather scraps into a ball, pat and fold a single time, then cut as many more biscuits as you can. The final round of scraps can be gathered and shaped into a single biscuit by hand.
  5. Bake until the biscuits are well-risen and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let the biscuits cool about 5 minutes to help set their crumb, then serve as desired. Leftovers can be stored up to a week in an airtight container; to serve, split the stale biscuits in half, brush with melted butter, arrange on a baking sheet, and broil until golden brown.

Adapted from Serious Eats.

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