Hot, fluffy biscuits, right from the oven...ahhhhh! Certainly one of the real joys of life. But when your biscuits can be used as paper weights that joy fades.
Are your biscuits flat, heavy and tasteless? Well, you are probably making a few common mistakes that are simple to correct.
Biscuits are generally thought of as a breakfast food, but they are very popular in many restaurants served any time of day (Kentucky Fried Chicken for one) So biscuits are not just for breakfast any more.
You should start with a good recipe. Check the link at the bottom of this page for our Southern Biscuit recipe.
Then you need to follow these few simple tips:
1. We will start with one of the most important tips. Do not overwork the dough. Do not knead the dough. That will make heavy, tough biscuits. After you turn the dough out on your board, use your hands to shape and flatten the dough to a 1 inch thickness (DO NOT USE A ROLLING PIN!). Layer the dough by folding it over on itself about three times. Then Stop! Use your hands to flatten the dough to about 1 1/2 inches thick (see tip #5). If you like big biscuits you can use a 2 inch thickness but much thicker that 2 inches tends to make lop-sided biscuits.
2. When you cut out the biscuits from the dough, push the biscuit cutter straight down, then slide your hand sideways firmly and the cut out biscuit will break away from the dough. The tendency is to push down and twist the cutter. This compacts the edges of the dough and causes uneven cooking and tough biscuits. So, push down...slide sideways.
3. Always pre-heat your oven completely (generally 400-425 degrees). Different ovens vary in the time required to get up to temperature. I recommend you always allow at least 10 minutes after turning the oven on before putting the biscuits in. A cold (or not fully pre-heated) oven is one of the major cause for failure of the dough to rise (flat biscuits).
Note: If you do not know how long it takes your oven to reach a specific temperature, I suggest you do a test to find out. Simply place an oven safe thermometer in the oven, turn on the oven set for 400 degrees and start a timer. Monitor the thermometer until it reaches 400 degrees and note the expired time. Once you know this time for your particular oven, you will always know how long to pre-heat. You will also know if your oven actually is 400 degrees when you set it for 400 degrees.
4. When you mix the ingredients and form a dough, your mixture should be slightly wet and tacky when you turn it out on the board. It should not be dripping wet nor crumbly dry. Make sure your board is well floured and flour the dough as you fold it over on itself to keep from sticking to your hands.
5. This should be obvious, but it's a common mistake. If you want higher, fatter biscuits, you have to start with thicker dough. (duh!) If you roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness, you are going to have thin biscuits even if you do everything else right. We recommend rolling out the dough to a thickness about one and one half inches.
6. Place the cut out dough on the cookie sheet with the sides just barely touching. This give a better rise and softer sides than if the dough is separated on the cookie sheet.
7. You can use a biscuit cutter of any size but the 2 inch cutter (actually measures arbour 2 1/4 inch) seems to make biscuits that rise better and it is a comfortable size for one serving.
8. After placing the cut out dough on the cookie sheet, use your thumb to make a small indentation (dimple) on the top of each biscuit. This helps prevent domed biscuits. Of course if you like dome shaped biscuits eliminate this step. However, be aware that dome shaped biscuits sometimes turn out lop-sided.
9. A major cause of flat biscuits is using old baking powder! Although the expiration date on the can may indicate the product is good for one or two years, baking powder begins to lose it's potency the minute the can is opened. If your baking powder can has been opened over 3 months, do not use it. You don't have to throw it away, just don't use it for your biscuits. A $2.00 can of baking powder every couple of months is a small price to pay for good biscuits.
I recommend you use buttermilk instead of regular milk for your biscuits. It provides better flavor and seems to make lighter biscuits. If you do not keep buttermilk on hand (I don't), you can make a substitute by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar in a cup of regular milk. Stir and allow to sit for a minute before use.
Finally, for those of you that do not speak "Southern"...here's a picture of a "LOP-SIDED" biscuit.
Here's our SOUTHERN BISCUITS RECIPE
to get you started.
Try these biscuits with our SOUTHERN SAUSAGE GRAVY.