Best Biscuits

This recipe is a nod to Eden and his love for Red Lobster cheddar biscuits. It took me weeks of experimenting but I've finally achieved a biscuit that is flaky and moist and full of flavor. It wasn't easy.  Over mixing or adding too much liquid results in a brick.

A few tricks that make for a beautiful biscuit:
  • Use very cold butter and grate it with the large holes on your cheese grater. I take mine out of the freezer and wait 5 minutes and then grate.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the biscuit to keep the layers intact.
  • If you have a kitchen scale, use it to measure your ingredients.  It's amazing how 1 more or less teaspoon of butter or flour affects the biscuit.
  • Use unsalted butter, Trader Joes brand is best.  (If you use salted butter, reduce the salt by 1/4 teaspoon.)
  • Line your baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Pace your biscuits on a cookie sheet close together but not touching. The edges won’t cook if they touch. Space about 1/2 inch apart.
  • Don’t roll out your dough. Press it out with your hands. Handle it as little as possible to keep the flaky layers intact.

2 3/4 cups flour (324 grams)
2 tablespoons sugar (20 grams)
2 teaspoons baking powder (6 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (2 grams)
1 teaspoon salt (3 grams)
12 tablespoons (170  grams) unsalted butter, frozen
1 cup buttermilk (8 oz.)
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced fine (20 grams)
1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated (62 grams)

In large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine.
Using the largest holes in a grater, grate all of the butter onto a piece of parchment paper or a cutting board. Put it back into the freezer for a few minutes to keep it cold.

Add the butter to the flour mixture (along with the add-ins if you are using them) and toss together using your hands so that the butter is coated with flour. (If you don't have a cheese grater you can use a pastery blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas.)

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add 1/4 cup at a time.  Gently toss the flour with your hands until all the dough has been moistened and a shaggy dough is formed, being careful not to over mix. If your dough seems too crumbly, add 2 tablespoons more buttermilk and gently fold to combine. (I sometimes need 1 cup and other days i need 11/4 cup depending on the weather.). The point is to have a a dough just holds together, but not soggy. 

Dump the dough mixture out on a clean counter top or large cutting board. Gently gather the dough together using your hands and press into a  rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cut the rectangle into thirds and stack. Press down to form another 1 inch thick rectangle.   Cut into thirds and repeat the stacking process two more times. This creates flaky layers.

With your final rectangle, using a sharp knife, cut the dough in thirds or fourths lengthwise, then in thirds width wise so you end up with 9 - 12 biscuits. Place them about 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of each biscuit with a little melted butter. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes prior to baking.

While you are waiting, Pre-heat your oven to 415 degrees.

Place the baking sheet on the center rack in the over and bake 18-22 minutes depending on your oven.  Check them at 18 minutes. The edges should not feel wet.   If they need more time put them back in the oven and check every 2 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.  Sometimes the biscuits in the center take a couple more minutes to bake, so I take out the ones that are done and let the center biscuits took a little longer.

Use your oven light rather than opening and closing the oven door.

One thing to note in the photo below, notice one side of the biscuit is higher than the other?  Make sure to slightly trim your rectangle with a sharp knife before cutting it into squares.  This shows you the difference in the height you will get using sharp too to cut your biscuits before baking.  The sharp edge allows the layers to rise.

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