Homemade buttermilk biscuits that are deliciously buttery, flaky and tender. These are perfect for creating a breakfast sandwich or served warm out of the oven with jam.
Growing up I can remember making store-bought canned buttermilk biscuits. They were so simple to make and yet so flaky. It was easy to have on hand and pop into the oven for a quick bread to accompany dinner. I even used these easy biscuits to make monkey bread and any other recipe I would come across on the internet. However, after taking the time to make homemade buttermilk biscuits and learning the simple techniques to creating those flaky layers, there is no turning back.
There are seven simple ingredients to making homemade buttermilk biscuits. Each of these is a pantry staple, and the key is to use quality ingredients to result in the best texture and flavor.
Homemade Buttermilk Biscuit Ingredients
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Cold butter
- Cold buttermilk
There’s always the debate whether to use butter or shortening as the fat in a biscuit recipe. Nevertheless, I have always preferred butter for homemade buttermilk biscuits because it gives a superior flavor. However, let’s break down the differences between using these two ingredients.
Butter vs shortening for biscuits
- Butter – when mixed properly, butter will create distinct flakey layers in a biscuit. The butter helps create pockets of steam that form these lovely layers. Additionally, because of the milk solids in butter (which contains sugar), biscuits made with butter have a nice browned exterior. Finally, you can’t deny that butter gives biscuits a distinct, delicious flavor.
- Shortening – Biscuits made with shortening have a softer, crumbly texture. They tend to be flatter than biscuits made with butter as they do not get the extra rise from the buttery steam. Compared to butter, shortening has a high melting point and therefore is less likely to melt into your dough. Finally, because of the lack of milk solids, shortening biscuits are much paler and need to be brushed with melted butter or milk to get nicely browned.
How to make tall biscuits
Tall biscuits come from creating lots of layers in your dough. To do this, there are two methods you can select from.
- Cut and stack method – On a lightly floured work surface, roll and shape dough into a rectangle. Cut dough in half and stack pieces on top of each other. Slightly flatten dough and rotate 90 degrees. Repeat process two times (for a total of three times of cutting). Continue to roll dough out to 3/4 – 1″ thick before cutting out biscuits.
- Folding method – On a lightly floured work surface, roll and shape dough into a rectangle. Fold into thirds and rotate dough 90 degrees. Gently flatten and repeat folding. Repeat process one more time (for a total of three times of folding). Continue to roll dough out to 3/4 – 1″ thick before cutting out biscuits.
Tips for homemade buttermilk biscuits
- Keep your butter very cold. It’s important to keep gluten development to a minimum. Additionally, cold butter helps prevent your fat from mixing into the flour so that you are left with large flakes of butter which translate to heavenly layers in your baked biscuits.
- To incorporate wet ingredients into dry ingredients, use the well method (create a well in the dry ingredients and then add in wet ingredients).
- Cut and stack your dough or fold your dough three times to create lots of flaky layers!
- When using a biscuit cutter or round cutter, dip in flour and push straight down through the dough. Do not twist the cutter as this will twist the flaky layers you have created and result in uneven baking.
- Re-roll your scraps only twice. Anything more than that will produce biscuits that are overly dense.
- Place your biscuits side by side, touching, on your baking tray. This will provide support for your biscuits and allow them to fully rise.