Unlocking Memories

Unlocking Memories
Revealing Old Memories and Creating New Ones

Friday, December 28, 2012

Flaky Biscuits


I made biscuits from scratch for the first time ever this morning. I found a good recipe from a cooking show that I watch. The result . . . a nice biscuit. 


But it could use some improvement. So I did what I do best. I researched different recipes and compared. Some recipes had both baking soda and baking powder. Some has one or the other. Some recipes used yeast. Every recipe varied in measurements of leavening agents and salt. As for sugar, some included it and others left it out.
I'm looking for a biscuit that is tasty of course; but I also want it fluffy and flaky like those nice layers you get with the cans of biscuit dough that you just pop open and put in the oven. While the biscuits I made taste great and yes, they were soft and fluffy inside, they were not as flaky as I would have liked, nor did they rise to the level I would prefer. 
Biscuits are a bit touchy and the problem could have been that I let the butter get soft (the butter should be as cold as possible and should not be allowed to get warm and soft in the cutting/kneading process, which is why you should not knead the dough more than a few times). 
Now I'm faced with a challenge . . . to improve my biscuit-making skills. Here is the recipe I've decided to try next. This is sort of a consensus of all the recipes I compared.


And here are the pictures. They were soft and flaky. Adding 2 extra minutes to the cooking time made all the difference in the taste. No flour flavor. Only buttery goodness.


Tips:

  • Freeze the butter and then shred with a cheese grater.
  • *Before and after cutting the flour mixture with the butter, set the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes.
  • Cut your biscuits into squares to reduce the amount of leftover dough.
  • Add extra milk to your dough while mixing, 1 tablespoon at a time. I think I added about 2 - 3 extra tablespoons of milk.



These are not touching . . . make them touch.

See . . . very few scraps.



Third time is the charm! I added 1 tsp of yeast, grated my butter, made sure everything stayed very cold, brushed butter on the tops before baking, cut them thicker, and baked them twice as long. Here is the result - flaky, light and fluffy, buttery pillows of goodness!






2 1/4 Cups flour (set aside the 1/4 c of flour to dust your board)
2 tsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp rapid-rise yeast
1 tsp salt
8 TBSP (1 stick) cold, cubed butter*
1 Cup Milk

Combine dry ingredients.
Use a dough cutter or fork to cut butter into the mixture until it looks like corn meal. Don't use your hands. You will cause the butter to melt and that results in a less flaky biscuit.
Make a well in the center of the flour and gradually pour the milk while mixing the milk and the flour with your fingertips. Mix just until it begins to hold together.
Turn dough out on floured surface and gently "knead" the dough, folding over about 3 or 4 times to create layers.
Roll out the dough to 3/4 inch thickness and cut with a floured biscuit cutter.
Place barely touching on a buttered aluminum pan or buttered cast iron skillet (using a dark nonstick pan will cause the bottoms to be darker than the tops).
Brush tops with melted butter.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 17 to 20 minutes.
Brush tops again with melted butter and serve with your favorite preserve or plain.