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A Flaky Experiment

Oct
11

A few weeks ago when I was in New Orleans at a booksellers trade show, I met Belinda Ellis, the author of Biscuits: A Savor the South® Cookbook. I didn’t manage to come away with her book–I was too loaded down bringing home books for Morgan–but I did learn an interesting biscuit trick from her in a biscuit conversation at a lunch. I knew when I got home, I was going to have to try it out, though I also knew I was going to have to wing it because I didn’t have her book. But, I had gleaned the necessary info to give it a whirl.


Here’s the tip.

To make flaky–and I mean FLAKY–biscuits, use a croissant-style technique on them. (See Homemade Croissants.) Hunh. I’d never thought of that! Biscuits, of course, are a quick bread, so taking a croissant technique to them is certainly making them a not quick bread, but hey, I’m not always in that big of a hurry for biscuits. It was too intriguing to not try it out.

The basic idea is to chill the dough, roll it out, fold it over in thirds. Chill again, roll it out, fold it over in thirds, and so on. Several times.
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Okay. I wasn’t feeling that patient, plus I didn’t have that much time. I was fixing chicken fried steak, sausage gravy, and mashed potatoes for the girls–plus biscuits. And they were on their way home. So I just did the technique without the chilling steps, folding and re-rolling several times.
IMG_9993
I just wanted to see if it made any difference at all.
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And you know? IT DID. It changed the texture of the biscuits, making a noticeable difference in flakiness, almost to the point of resembling Angel Biscuits.
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I was, by the way, using my basic Quick Mix recipe.

And I had to wonder if it made that much of a difference when I skipped the chilling step, how much of a difference would it make if I did chill the dough in between rolling and folding? Next time, I’ll try that. But in the meantime, I wanted to share this biscuit tip with you.

Because a biscuit tip is not meant to be kept under wraps! BISCUITS ARE TOO IMPORTANT.

*****

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 11, 2013  

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Comments

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  1. 10-11
    7:32
    am

    Well I am surprised that this was a success! I always thought you were supposed to handle biscuit dough as little as possible to keep them from being tough. And I have made tough biscuits in the past. Will have to try this next time. Thanks!

  2. 10-11
    8:07
    am

    Biscuits are my favorite food group. I must try this!

  3. 10-11
    8:41
    am

    This is how I make mine after seeing it on another website. I do split in half what shortening is called for and replace with room temp butter which I layer on the dough when folding it. I also make cinnamon biscuits by sprinkling cinnamon, sugar and a few raisins on each layer. Then cut the biscuits then chill until I am ready to bake. It is still easy to over work it I have had failures (not as flakey but still edible) and some great successes. I just don’t make them enough to have the every time success.

  4. 10-11
    9:08
    am

    WOW! These are just beautiful!!!! Thanks for sharing the “Secret”. I bet your Farm “Guest” is being just spoiled rotten with all of your delicious, lovingly made homemade food! She must be in Heaven! :) What a blessing it is to have her there, and she is greatly blessed as well! How fun!! :)

  5. 10-11
    9:39
    am

    They look so good. I’m hoping you publish all your recipes in a book someday soon.

  6. 10-11
    11:27
    am

    I’m a biscuit-aholic, I have to do this. sounds like putting weight on, but oh so good.

  7. 10-11
    11:55
    am

    This is a great idea! I do something similar when making scones. What you do is use a frozen stick of butter, which you grate, then add to the dry ingredients. Then you roll out the dough, fold it in thirds one way, then fold in thirds the other way, then you stick the dough in the freezer for 5 minutes. After that you roll the dough out again, roll it up jelly-roll style, slightly flatten it, and cut it into triangles. For biscuits you probably could just roll it up and slice off rounds. Anyhow, it does make a very light, flaky scone, and it doesn’t take all that long!

  8. 10-12
    9:27
    am

    & I would have to have changed my eating style to grain-free/gluten-free. But the siren call of homemade biscuits is calling my name. May have to break down and go get some Southern Biscuit Flour. Can’t wait to try this tip!

  9. 10-12
    2:29
    pm

    :happyflower:
    It took me many years to finally make good biscuits. I always use buttermilk and put my shortening into the freezer for a few minutes, after I get the dough mixed (I aways use a pastry cutter to mix the shortening or butter into the flour) I gather it up, I roll it out and turn it in half 6 times careful not to over roll–if that makes sense. Makes for excellent biscuits.

  10. 10-14
    6:52
    pm

    Ah, biscuits! The two things a southern woman prides herself on are a good biscuit and a beautiful, flaky pie! I’m always on the lookout for another biscuit tip. I’m always worried I’ll overwork my biscuit dough and it will wind up tough. I’ll have to see if this works for me.

  11. 10-14
    6:54
    pm

    PS can I come to YOUR house for dinner? Chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits….sounds like a great dinner. Have any ripe tomatoes to slice alongside it and you’re in heaven.

  12. 10-23
    3:22
    pm

    Yay! It worked out beautifully! I made them this way last night to go with my chili. Definitely going to try this with my scone recipes! Thanks,Suzanne!

  13. 10-28
    12:04
    pm

    I a
    Have been craving biscuits. thank you. I love your book too.

  14. 11-6
    8:08
    am

    One of those mornings of having fun getting lost in your recipes!! I want to try canning but have this irrational fear of food poisoning. Can you give me some quick encouragement? I want to make apple butter, can peaches in the summer, etc.. Love your blog Suzanne,thanks for sharing..

  15. 11-6
    8:14
    am

    Madeline, start with a simple jam! They’re easy. You can’t go wrong, and there’s so much sugar in jams that you’ll never die of food poisoning. :)

  16. 11-6
    8:43
    am

    Madeline! I feel your pain- And empathize. I grew up canning, but once I got married, my husband was terrified I was going to Kill US ALL with evil home canned food! And I didn’t can again for over 30 years till he passed away. Then I started again – and honestly, the first batch of canning I did – I was SO proud of myself. Till I opened a jar, and then I heard his voice in my head “you’ll kill us all!” and I…fed the entire batch to the dogs over a course of a few days. When none of them died, or got sick, my confidence rebuilt. If you can follow directions, you can can. I’ve done relish, pickles, green beans, salsa, apples, chicken, hamburger….and its so fun. I hope you give it a try.
    Kat

  17. 11-7
    6:03
    pm

    I made these today at lunch. I used Suzanne’s quick mix to make the biscuits. I used the 1 cup recipe, for the milk I used 2 TBS homemade kefir, then the rest milk. I used I got 5 and a half biscuits. I used Suzanne’s tip to fold the dough over like croissant dough. I baked them in a lodge 8-inch skillet.

    These were so delicate and light! Superb!

  18. 12-3
    8:00
    pm

    I just tried this method for our dinner tonight, and I have to say that I am impressed! I had always heard not to overwork biscuits too, but I am convinced with this method. I have had mixed results on the angel biscuits, so I have been still trying to find a good recipe. I would definitely do this one again. One note, I thought I may be rolling out my dough too thin, so I kept it conservatively thick.–little faith I was going to see a good rise. I was WRONG! These puppies were bursting tall and very flaky. Next time I’ll try to get it closer to 1/4″ when rolling (I think I was close to 1/2″ this time).

    And they taste wonderful :sun:

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