I’ve been obsessing over biscuits lately (stay tuned for the best chicken-and-biscuits ever). Something about warm, flaky biscuits, slathered with butter – well, yum.
The thing is, that no matter how gently and quickly I handled the dough my biscuits never came out as tender and flaky as I wanted.
And then I read about a tip that made all the difference:
I already knew about the charm of grating too-cold butter on my cheese grater, to quickly bring it to room temperature. What I DIDN’T know was that – by grating the butter and then freezing it – I would finally get the flaky biscuits of my dreams.
Grating and freezing the butter achieves two goals: 1) it gets the butter into otherwise impossibly small pieces, and quickly incorporated into the flour. This prevents overworking the gluten (which results in a tougher dough). And 2) because the butter is worked in quickly, the pieces STAY frozen – which is super important because the steam that’s created when the dough hits the oven is what contributes to those high flaky biscuits you’re after.
Some other things to keep in mind, if you’re so inclined:
Freeze the flour too – seriously, EVERYTHING should be cold.
Resist the urge to roll the dough – again, overworking is the enemy of flakiness. Instead, simply pat the dough on a floured work surface.
Don’t twist the cutter when removing – pull it straight up. Twisting seals the sides and hinders rising.
This trick will also work beautifully for pie crusts too – and with fall baking looming I can’t wait to give it a try!