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Old 11-06-2006, 02:22 PM   #11
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Kneading builds up gluten which is what you want in bread but not in biscuits. Gluten does not make for flaky tender.
You basically don't need to knead biscuits at all--you can drop them from the mixed batter.
If biscuits don't rise it just about has to be the leavening that is failing (or being too heavy).
As I said in a previous post, I have also found that if the biscuit is not thick enough to begin with (before baking) it does not rise adequately. Of course, it (the thickness of the cut biscuit pre-baking) has to be in a relative size to the diameter of the biscuit.

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Old 11-06-2006, 09:29 PM   #12
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stopped by again to mention not overworking the dough, but i see that gretchen's got that covered. add your milk all at once and, rather than stirring with a wooden spoon, fold it together with a fork just to where it all holds together and then turn it out onto a well floured board. if you like the crumbly(maybe not the best word, ...cakelike? muffinlike?) type of biscuit, just pat it out and cut out your biscuits with a biscuit cutter. using something like a glass, that doesn't have a sharp edge, pinches the edge together and will inhibit the rise somewhat.

i prefer a flakey biscuit, so i pat it out rather thick, cut it into quarters with a dough cutter, layer them and repeat about 2 times. i also pat them out rather thick, maybe 5/8" or better perhaps. they come out quite tall, moist but with a good crispy crust on top and bottom.

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Old 11-06-2006, 09:41 PM   #13
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I just use self rising pre-sifted flour"Martha white"
3 tbs crisco
2/3-1 cup milk,mix till dough is stiff
roll out bake in 450 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes,thats How I make mine :)
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:06 PM   #14
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are you cutting the butter in cold? That might help--use a pastry cutter, a fork, or even better, a food processor to first mix the dry ingredients with the butter until it looks like coarse meal.

Then, I don't use a spoon to mix--hands all the way. Just BARELY moisten the dry ingredients, flop it out on the counter, and manipulating as little as possible, flatten it out for cutting. and use a good sharp stainless biscuit cutter. Cut dough will rise better, and the cleaner the cut the better.
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:17 PM   #15
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1bb87, Biscuits MUST HAVE Baking Powder that is fresh. For tender,flaky biscuits, cut in the shortening with two knives,a fork or a pastry blender. Knead the dough gently,but do knead it- this improves the texture of the biscuits. What to try a different recipe? Let me know. I can give you one.
Try again.
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:46 PM   #16
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Fresh Baking Powder

I opened a new can of baking powder (expires 6/17) and my biscuits didn't rise.

The recipe called for folding the dough in thirds and rolling out twice. Is this too much?
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Old 08-06-2016, 11:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jactigerc View Post
I opened a new can of baking powder (expires 6/17) and my biscuits didn't rise.

The recipe called for folding the dough in thirds and rolling out twice. Is this too much?
Yes, this develops the gluten too much and your biscuits will not rise. I prefer patting out the dough and cutting the biscuits. Gather the trimmings and pat together...no rolling needed.
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Old 08-07-2016, 05:12 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Sounds like the old chunky baking powder is the culprit. Baking powder has a limited shelf life. Look for an expiration date on the can.

The buttermilk you made is OK and the age of the flour shouldn't make a difference.
I agree Andy. Certainly sounds like the baking powder. Also, don't work the dough too much. Once the buttermilk is added, stir quickly until all ingredients are moist. Then gently pat or roll out the dough and cut biscuits. DO NOT twist the cutter. This will only compress the edges to stick to each other and prevent them from rising. Hope this helps. Fresh baking powder is definitely needed.
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:01 AM   #19
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What makes a biscuit?

Flour - contains the starches, gluten, and proteins that make up the body of the biscuit.

Milk, or butter milk - contains the water to hydrate the flour, and with milk, adds milk sugar and protein which flavor and help bind the flour into a plastic state (dough). With buttermilk, the sugars are gone as they are consumed by the culture that creates the buttermilk. These organisms produce acids that give buttermilk its characteristic flavor.

Butter, lard, or shortening - adds moisture to the end product and creates a tender and flaky biscuit. Butter adds flavor. Shortening and lard do not add any flavor.

Salt - enhances the flavor of the biscuit.

Baking soda - is an alkali that reacts with the acid of buttermilk to leaven the biscuit dough. The sour flavor of the buttermilk is neutralized when the baking soda and reacts with it.

Baking powder - a product containing both a dry acid, and a dry alkali. The two ingredients react with each other when liquid is added.

Double acting baking powder - same as baking powder, but with on set of ingredients that start reacting when liquid is added, and another that won't react until heat is applied. This results in more foolproof baking as the reaction times for acid and alkali are limited. If the batter or dough sits too long, the initial reaction will stop and the leavening will not occur. Having ingredients that won't react until heat is applied is like a backup plan. If the dough is formed in a relatively short time, the dough benefits from both leavening agents, creating more loft.

Kneading, develops the gluten into an elastic protein that captures the gasses produced by the chemical reactions of alkali and acid. Little bubbles form throughout the dough causing it to rise.

Baking soda doesn't lose its potency due to age. However, moisture in the air will cause the ingredients in baking powder to react with each other, as will time, rendering it useless when old. For baking powder to do its job, it must be fresh and dry in its container.

If using buttermilk, or buttermilk substitute in you biscuit recipe, the reaction of baking soda and the acidity of the buttermilk provide the main leavening reaction. Adding baking powder enhances the leavening power in the biscuit dough.

Combine all dry ingredients together in a bowl and whisk together. Add the buttermilk, or milk and stir just enough to create you dough. Transfer the dough to a floured working surface and roll out to a 1/4 inch thick round. Fold the dough into thirds and roll out again. cut into biscuits and brush top with milk, or butter.

Place onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and into a preheated 400' F. oven, and bake until lightly browned.

When you understand what each ingredient and procedural element does in baking, you will develop an intuitive ability to create better biscuits, cookies, cakes, and pie crusts. Hope this helps.

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Old 08-08-2016, 11:15 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by lbb87 View Post
I've tried three times to make biscuits from scratch using a recipe from the Food Network. The first two times they barely rose and someone mistook them for cookies. The third time they did rise some but I don't think they came out right, plus, they don't even get light brown. It's not really a big deal as they taste good but it would be nice to know why they aren't coming out right.

I'm trying to figure out what the problem is. If it's an ingredient problem or if I'm overworking the dough.

I don't have access to the recipe right now but the ingredients are:
flour (all purpose, I think)
baking powder
baking soda
unsalted butter
salt (I think)
and heavy cream to brush on the top

The first two times I made it, I used an older flour (a year old). The third time I used a brand new one.

The baking powder I have is very old, a cheap brand, and sort of caked together (must remember to buy some at the store). The third time I made the biscuits I sifted the baking powder before using it to get out the chunks.

The buttermilk I used isn't real buttermilk. I just mix milk with a little lemon juice and let it sit 10 minutes and that's my imitation buttermilk. I also don't have heavy cream for the top so I make an imitation heavy cream.

Any ideas as to why the biscuits aren't rising and why they rose more the third time then the first two times?
Definitely the baking powder. It's the only "sell by" date I stick to rigidly.

I wouldn't think the stuff you brush on top would make much difference. I use yoghourt instead of buttermilk as I make my own so always have it in the 'fridge. Rather oddly, I find the set kind works better than the stirred kind.

Over-handling can also result in disappointing scones/biscuits

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