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Old 02-23-2011, 07:34 AM   #1
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A biscuit question/complaint

I have seen/tried numerous recipes that have titles like "simple biscuits" or biscuit blessings in a bling or ..... my biscuits usually turn out more like rocks, no matter which recipe I use. What am I doing wrong?

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Old 02-23-2011, 07:43 AM   #2
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Show us a recipe that you are using. Maybe something is missing from the ingredients that results in rock like biscuits.

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Old 02-23-2011, 07:52 AM   #3
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I love these - she calls them a muffin as she puts them in a muffin tin.

Sour Cream Muffins Recipe : Paula Deen : Food Network
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pengyou View Post
I have seen/tried numerous recipes that have titles like "simple biscuits" or biscuit blessings in a bling or ..... my biscuits usually turn out more like rocks, no matter which recipe I use. What am I doing wrong?
The most common mistake is overworking your dough. You're not making bread, so DON'T KNEAD YOUR DOUGH. Pull it together with your hands and gently fold it four or five times, but no more. Roll it out to an inch thick and cut with a circular cutter by pressing straight down then shake it loose. DO NOT TWIST. Twisting seals the edges and doesn't let it rise properly.

Don't use margarine as your fat. Use lard or half lard half real, unsalted butter. (use the amount of salt called for in the recipe.)

Make certain your baking powder is fresh. If it's more than 6 months old, replace it.

Lightly brush the top with milk. Forget using anything else.

Bake biscuits hot and fast. I bake mine at 375F for 18 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Substitute: I don't buy buttermilk very often, but my biscuits call for it, so I add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to each cup of milk and let set for 5 minutes. It will thicken and work just as well as the real thing for baking purposes.

I hope I was helpful to you.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:43 AM   #5
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I agree with most of Selkie's advice, with a couple of exceptions. Baking at 375F isn't nearly hot enough. You should bake at 425F to 450F. Also, although lard is traditional, very few people keep it on hand or use it for baking anymore. A good quality vegetable shortening such as Crisco works fine.

Here's my response to an earlier thread on this topic:

Biscuits need to cook in a hot (450 degree) oven. If uncertain about your oven, check the temperature with a thermometer. Cook on the center rack (or the the next one above it). If your rack is too high or too low, either the tops or the bottoms are likely to burn before they're done.

I originally posted the following recipe several years ago on allrecipes and it has since become one of their top-rated recipes. If interested, the comments and ratings are on allrecipes.com, under the title South Georgia Biscuits (my user name there is GEORGIACOOK1). Their editors slightly modified my recipe, without my permission. It annoyed me and I've never submitted to them again. This is the original version I submitted to them. The modified version on allrecipies calls for kneading the dough, which is an unnecessary step and produces an inferior result.

South Georgia Biscuits

These are traditional hand-formed biscuits as made by my family for generations. Unlike most recipes, they are formed entirely by hand, not rolled and cut. Once you master the technique, you can make them very quickly and will find the texture and appearance to be much better than rolled biscuits.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, stir dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or by rubbing between your fingers until the mixture resembles course meal. Pour in the milk all at once and stir with a large spoon until the dough is evenly moist. It should be sticky. Let it rest for a couple of minutes. No kneeding or turning the dough is necessary. You do this as part of forming the biscuits.

With well-floured hands, pinch off pieces of dough (about 12), and roll them into balls between the palms of your hands. This is also the kneading process so you need to work the dough a little, not just spoon it out in lumps. If the dough is too sticky to work, sprinkle a little more flour on it but you want to keep it as sticky as possible to produce a light, moist biscuit. Place the balls a couple of inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. With floured knuckles, press each ball down to about 1/2 inch thickness.

Bake on the center rack of your oven at 450 degrees for 11 to 12 minutes, until browned. Serve hot with butter.

NOTES: Stale baking powder won't rise. Be sure you use fresh, in-date baking powder. If using self-rising flour, omit the baking powder and salt. To make buttermilk biscuits, add 1/4 tsp baking soda to the other dry ingredients. Buttermilk will make a sticker dough and you may need to sprinkle a little more flour on the dough as you're forming the biscuits. Some people like their biscuits sweet instead of salty. If you're one of them, reduce the salt a little and add some sugar.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:58 AM   #6
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I was going to post "overworking the dough" but arrived too late, alas! ;) I see you have some great advice, hope it helps.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selkie View Post
The most common mistake is overworking your dough. You're not making bread, so DON'T KNEAD YOUR DOUGH. Pull it together with your hands and gently fold it four or five times, but no more. Roll it out to an inch thick and cut with a circular cutter by pressing straight down then shake it loose. DO NOT TWIST. Twisting seals the edges and doesn't let it rise properly.

Don't use margarine as your fat. Use lard or half lard half real, unsalted butter. (use the amount of salt called for in the recipe.)

Make certain your baking powder is fresh. If it's more than 6 months old, replace it.

Lightly brush the top with milk. Forget using anything else.

Bake biscuits hot and fast. I bake mine at 375F for 18 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Substitute: I don't buy buttermilk very often, but my biscuits call for it, so I add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to each cup of milk and let set for 5 minutes. It will thicken and work just as well as the real thing for baking purposes.

I hope I was helpful to you.
I'd like to see which recipe you use for your biscuits. I found a recipe awhile back for a "homemade ready biscuit mix" that you can make a large batch of and refrigerate until you're ready to use. This is really handy because it's like Bisquick but without the "prefab food guilt". When you make biscuits with it you're not supposed to add any lard (the mix recipe calls for a reasonably small amount of oil). I found that by adding less milk to the mix my biscuits were lighter, but not as light as I'd like them to be. What I really crave to make are those super light, flaky biscuits. If you or anyone else could share your secret for those I'd be ever so grateful, and my hubby doubly so.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmarchibald View Post
I'd like to see which recipe you use for your biscuits. I found a recipe awhile back for a "homemade ready biscuit mix" that you can make a large batch of and refrigerate until you're ready to use. This is really handy because it's like Bisquick but without the "prefab food guilt". When you make biscuits with it you're not supposed to add any lard (the mix recipe calls for a reasonably small amount of oil). I found that by adding less milk to the mix my biscuits were lighter, but not as light as I'd like them to be. What I really crave to make are those super light, flaky biscuits. If you or anyone else could share your secret for those I'd be ever so grateful, and my hubby doubly so.
I'm glad to share this with you! It's nothing fancy, but its quick and easy. From beginning to end (including cleanup while baking) I can have hot biscuits in about 30 minutes.

Note: Being single I don't need a lot of biscuits hanging around, so this recipe makes only 4, 2 for breakfast and 2 with peanut butter and jelly for lunch. You can easily double it.

Southern Biscuits

1 cup All Purpose Flour
2 Tbls. Very Cold Cubed Lard or Butter (Lard is better!)
1/2 cup Buttermilk (or 1/2 cup of whole milk mixed with 1 tbls. of white vinegar and let set for 5 minutes before using.)
1 Tbls. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. baking Powder
2 Pinches (1/8 tsp.) of Baking Soda
Flour for kneading


1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.) Into a food processor add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and lard or butter. Pulse a few times until it resembles coarse crumbs.

3.) Empty food processor mixture into a mixing bowl. Blend in buttermilk with a spatula just until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky. Let it set for 5-10 minutes to hydrate all of the flour.

4.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently by folding the dough 5 to 6 times. (DO NOT overwork the dough!)

5.) Using your hand, press the dough until it's about 2 inches thick.

6.) Cut out biscuits with a 2-1/2 or 3 -inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Do not twist the cutter. (Twisting the cutter will cause the biscuits not to rise straight up).

7.) Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. (I use a cake pan)

8.) Brush the tops with milk.

9.) Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes four (4) biscuits.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:25 PM   #9
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Very good advice here. One thing I would like to add is that you need a good quality soft winter wheat flour. I only use White Lily Flour. I use self-rising flour so I don't need to add the baking powder and salt.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:51 PM   #10
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White Lily is the best....
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