Merry Christmas! This is my gift to those of you who asked. I posted a picture of these biscuits on Instagram and everybody went nuts, so I decided to share my recipe. I like my biscuits many ways — flaky, not flaky, sometimes cakey, fluffy, sometimes drop’like — it all depends on my mood. However, it’s always good to have a flaky buttermilk biscuit recipe in your arsenal. So, you’re welcome in advance and I hope you nail it. I tried my best to be as detailed as possible. I realize biscuit-making can be intimidating, but the concept couldn’t be simpler. As long as you remember one VERY important rule…KEEP EVERYTHING COLD AS F&#K. Seriously. Your warm balmy hands, and/or warm kitchen can destroy what we’re trying to build here — rising layers!
Between every step, keep everything cold — I cannot stress this enough. Your oven should be super hot, so let it preheat for at least 30 minutes before baking. Oh, and keep everything cold lol.
Your biscuits will still be soft and buttery, super flaky and very tender. You can literally peel buttery little layers back, it’s awesome. When you’re cutting the biscuits out, it’s super important that you don’t twist at the base. What happens is that you unintentionally “seal” the edges of the biscuit, so they don’t even rise properly. Also, make sure your cutter is nice and sharp. Don’t use the rim of a glass, the thickness of the edge will also hinder a proper rise. Make sure your baking powder is fresh, as well as your flour. Old ingredients don’t perform well. Did I mention keep everything cold? Especially the butter! Butter is what helps give these biscuits their flaky layers. Butter contains water, and when that water is thrown into a super hot environment when it least expects it, it basically bursts and creates ethereal pockets of delicious sin. So once again, keep everything cold. Think of this as a really thick pie dough. We’re folding it several times because this causes the butter to flatten into thin sheets which helps give us those beautiful buttery layers. We are also giving the biscuit just a bit more body by developing a little more gluten. Don’t worry, they won’t be tough at all. The dough isn’t baby-bottom smooth like fresh pasta dough, it’s somewhat craggly but moist enough to hold itself together. All of this helps us with layers.
Baking soda or nah? You can add the optional half teaspoon of baking soda to this recipe if you want. Baking soda promotes a deeper golden brown color. If you choose to throw the baking soda in, you can skip the egg-wash (if you want) and save that egg for another use. Simply bake them naked and brush them with melted butter when they’re done. I’ve made these biscuits without the added baking soda for this post, but I’ve thrown it in other times whenever I wanted to use just one egg. The egg wash just helps give us a glossier finish, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Bottom line, it’s totally up to you 🙂
Just remember that a dusting of flour between each fold shouldn’t be necessary, unless your dough is sticky. I had a small pocket of excess flour in one area of my dough and it caused 2 of my biscuits to rise all extra funky lol. I explain how to prevent this mistake at the very bottom of the post. Once you get the hang of this, you’ll be able to do it very quickly — which is a great thing. This isn’t the kind of dough you want to play around with for an excessive amount of time. The butter will start to melt and your warm hands and/or kitchen will ruin everything.
If you don’t have a food processor, you could use a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers to break the butter up into pea-sized pieces or small flakes. Just make sure when you’re done with that step you chill the mixture so the butter can stay cold. I am using FULL-FAT buttermilk here, which can be hard to find in some areas. It’s worth the hunt, though. You could always make your own buttermilk from whole milk and a little white vinegar. Google that recipe if you’re unfamiliar, it’s fairly simple. Some of you may be asking, “An egg? In a biscuit recipe?” Yes! Just trust me on this. It helps with the tenderness and color. Only one stick of butter is going into the actual biscuit dough, we’re brushing the tops with the other half-stick. Use a very sharp 3″ biscuit cutter to yield 10-12 biscuits.
Once more in case you forgot, keep everything cold 🙂
You ready to do this? It’s easy, trust me. It may take you a few times to get this technique down if you’re a novice, but if you’re familiar, you shouldn’t have any problems.
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda (optional, see note below)
- 1½ tsp salt (regular)
- 2 large eggs, divided (see note below)
- 12 tbsp frozen unsalted butter (1½ sticks)
- 2 tbsp honey
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, middle rack in place. Your oven should be nice and hot, so let it preheat for at least 30 minutes.
- In a small measuring cup, beat 1 egg and set inside the fridge to keep cold.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, *baking soda (if using), and salt for 5 seconds. Add 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of cubed frozen butter to the flour mixture, pulse 4-5 times (1 second pulses) until the butter is relatively pea-sized, some larger pieces are okay. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set inside of the fridge or freezer for about 10 minutes to keep cold.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk 1 egg with 2 tablespoons of honey until honey is dissolved and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. Add the buttermilk, heavy cream, and mix thoroughly to combine. Set bowl inside of the fridge to keep cold.
- Make a well in the center of your cold flour/butter mixture, and pour the cold buttermilk mixture in the center. Using either a spoon or fork, bring the dough together until it's craggly. Some light pockets of flour left are okay, but make sure it's combined for the most part. Place the bowl of dough in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Dust your surface lightly with flour. Place the very cold dough in the center, and quickly bring it together into a tight circle. Flour a rolling pin, and begin to roll the dough into a rectangle, starting from the center. Do not press the dough too hard and don't roll it too thin. If it starts sticking anywhere, add a little more flour to the area and continue. Once it's in a rectangle, using a bench scraper (or your hands), fold over ⅓ of the dough to the center, and repeat with the other side. It should look like a business letter. Flip the dough over so that the seam sides are down, and roll into another rectangle. This time, fold the dough over in half (not in thirds), and roll into another rectangle. Fold the dough over ONE last time, into a rectangle. Pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Dip your biscuit cutter into some flour and stamp as many biscuits as you can, dipping the cutter back into flour for each biscuit. When you're done, lift the uncut dough away from the cut biscuits. When handling the cut biscuits, don't grab them from the sides -- lift them from the bottom. Re-work the leftover dough into a ball, flour it if necessary, and fold it over just once. Roll it out and cut out more biscuits. You should have 10-12 biscuits. Keep cut out biscuits in the fridge as you continue to re-shape the leftover dough. Clean up your area.
- Place each biscuit on your baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Brush ONLY the tops of each biscuit with the beaten egg you placed in the fridge. Don't let the egg wash run down the sides of the biscuit because it can seal them and prevent them from rising.
- Bake the biscuits for 13-15 minutes or until tops and edges are golden brown. Immediately brush all of them with 4 tablespoons of warm melted unsalted butter. Make sure you get the butter down the sides of each biscuit into the nooks & crannies. Serve immediately.
If at any time the dough is getting too warm, pop it back in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. Biscuits can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days and reheat well in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so.
Recipe can be easily doubled. Store cut biscuits in a ziploc bag in your freezer and bake when ready - no egg-wash needed. Just pop them in a preheated 400 degree oven and let them do their thing. They come out perfect every time. You will need to add just a few minutes to the baking time, since they're completely frozen.
And now for a super ugly graphic to catch your attention 😀