Not to butter my own bread or anything (har har), but I am somewhat of a Biscuit Queen. I’m here to address some common biscuit problems – the hockey puck, the squatter, and the introvert.
First things first, if you’re looking for an easy, delicious biscuit recipe, check out my previous post on Southern Scratch Biscuits. That’s my county fair blue ribbon recipe. It makes flaky buttered layers that Grands ain’t got nothin’ on.
To cure the hockey puck, try: (1) Cut back on the flour. Start by cutting the amount of flour by 1/4 cup. If you’re using a lot of flour when kneading/folding/cutting, then that’ll for-sure weigh down your biscuit. (2) Change up your cutting tools. Use a sharp-edge drinking glass or a scallop-edged biscuit cutter and apply minimal pressure to the dough. Push the glass/cutter into the dough, immediately give it a quick twist, and pop the biscuit out. (3) Turn down your oven by 10 degrees. Bottomline: If your biscuit is flat and hard, you need moisture, lift, and less heat.
The squatter is an easy fix. Add an additional teaspoon of baking powder. Now, if your biscuits are going the way of the Challenger, leave out a teaspoon. This has a lot to do with your altitude. So, if your biscuits are not getting a lot of lift, add baking powder. If they’re getting too much lift and toppling over, lessen the baking powder. If you haven’t already, make sure your baking powder hasn’t expired.
The introvert biscuit is one that stays all closed in on itself – it’s both a hokey puck and a squatter. This is when you need to tell your biscuits “it’s me, not you”. You just need to work on your technique. As I mentioned in the recipe, you’ll want your milk and butter chilled from the freezer and to handle the dough with your hands as little as possible to keep the dough as cool as possible. Roll out your dough with the drinking glass, sprinkle on some flour and smooth it out with your hand (quickly), then fold in half and repeat 4-5 times until your dough is about 1-1.5″ thick. Lightly dust the top with flour before cutting. You should still see butter crumbs in the dough. Remember – cold butter is where it’s at. Warm butter melts and oozes out of the biscuits long before they’re done. Unless you want the kitchen full of smoke and the smoke detectors blaring, don’t put warm dough with soft butter in the oven. Popping the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes will cure all doubts.
This is what a perfectly perfect raw biscuit should look like. Note the visible layers and air pockets. There’s a light dusting of flour on the top for that finished look.
Here’s that delightful biscuit all grown up…
Now, if I reduce the baking powder by one teaspoon, it looks like this…
Both types of biscuits serve a purpose and palette. For example, my husband likes the taller, layered biscuit, while I prefer the more “homestyle” version.
I know that both this post and the recipe post seem involved, but once you’ve made them, you’ll see how truly easy it is. You just need a few tricks of the trade. Biscuit making is a dying art thanks to Pillsbury and the likes (convenience kills the art), so consider yourself an artisan and pass the tradition on to younger generations.
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