Foolproof flaky biscuits

Flaky buttermilk biscuits can be achieved by stacking the dough into layers before you cut it and bake it.

The Pastry Chef's Baking
Flaky buttermilk biscuits taste the best when served warm with a smear of melting butter.

We once had these super amaze-balls biscuits at one of our work cafeterias awhile back. Yes, I still remember them and I occasionally still think about them. That’s how good they were.

And in typical, grand obsessive style, I decided to take a whack at making them myself. I had some buttermilk I bought to make banana bread for my extended family (16 mini loaves – you have no idea how sick I am of making banana bread right now) and it seemed like a good way to use it up. I always liked how good biscuits had flaky layers and thought there was something in how they were mixed that brought out those flaky layers.

It turns out, if you want layers in your biscuits, the best way to achieve that was to make layers of dough. Well….okay. That’s kind of obvi, now that I think about it. That’s what this recipe does – you make the dough, cut it into thirds and place the thirds on top of each other before cutting out the biscuits. There are your layers.

Since I was only making these for myself (goodbye, low-carbing), I just made a half recipe. It was too much trouble to make 3 layers so I only made 2 with the half-recipe of dough that I had. Y’all know the tricks to making biscuits? Use cold butter, handle as little as possible and when you cut into the dough to make round biscuits, don’t twist the cutter as you lift it up. Just straight down and straight up or you’ll ruin the layering at the outer edges. Bake at high heat and take out when golden brown.

My biscuit dough ended up a trifle too floury and I didn’t want to keep working the butter and buttermilk into it for fear of toughening up the dough. So I swept the excess flour away. The biscuits turned out pretty well. They look better when you brush melted butter over them after baking so they have a bit of shine. And they were fantastic when eaten warm with melted butter. Still not quite as good as our cafeteria’s so I’m going to have to break down and ask our culinary team for the recipe.

Foolproof Flaky Biscuits
From Dessert Now, Dinner Later

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into tablespoons
3/4 cup buttermilk, cold

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

3. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until pea-size pieces.

4. Add the buttermilk all at once and form into a ball.

5. Roll dough onto a lightly floured surface, into a 6 x 9-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle into thirds.

6. Stack each third on top of one another and roll the dough into a 6- x 9-inch rectangle again.

7. Using a 2-1/4-inch or 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut 9 biscuits and place them on a silicone-lined or parchment-lined baking sheet.

8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on top and bottom.

Related post on The Pastry Chef's Baking: Sweet potato biscuits

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