Make the flaky buttermilk biscuits with this recipe tutorial (video included)!
Since I discovered how amazing buttermilk is in baking, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at the very popular (and sometimes feared) buttermilk biscuits. I get why people might not light to attempt making these from scratch at home. While the ingredients required to make the dough are very few and very basic, the steps are very particular. You absolutely must keep everything as cold as possible – from mixing the dough till baking the biscuits. And when you’re working with so much butter, it isn’t the most easy thing to do.
But if you nail these straightforward steps (just ensure utmost precision), then you’ll have yourself some amazing dough to work with. And when baked into biscuits, you’ll have your very own homemade buttermilk biscuits from scratch!
Just look at the fluffiness / flakiness of these biscuits! They’re a wonderful cross between puff pastry and bread. While the layers are somewhat similar to a puff pastry, the texture of the biscuits are soft and spongy. And surprisingly, if you’re (very cold) ingredients are readily available, it doesn’t take very long to make. Unlike a croissant dough or puff pastry dough which require multiple folds and chilling sessions, a biscuit dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated many times. However, it does help placing all ingredients in the freezer for 15 minutes to keep everything ice cold. Work with very cold ingredients, and aim to work quickly with the dough.
I’ve made buttermilk biscuits dough twice. The first time, I cut the butter into small cubes and froze them for 10 minutes. I then added them to the dough and incorporated the butter into the flour. And this is what most recipes would call for. However, I remembered reading an article on using grated butter for these kinds of dough (where the aim is to seal the cold butter between the dough as closely as possible to create the flakiness). The second time, I froze my entire block of butter until it looked like a block of cheese! I then grated it through a fine grater. Every time I found the warmth of my fingers melting the butter (hello India!), I returned the entire bowl, butter & grater to the fridge! I certainly think that using grated butter makes for a better textured dough! The butter is more easily incorporated into the flour and because it is so tiny, there are more pockets created! But of course, if you don’t have the time, you can always just chop your butter into tiny cubes and get on with it.
And lastly, I also want to stress upon the BUTTERMILK itself. If you’re lucky enough to get good buttermilk, then buy it. But for the rest of us, I have a pretty useful tutorial on an inexpensive Buttermilk substitute that works extremely well in baking. All you need is milk and vinegar!
Now, enough said. Here is a short video I shot on how I put together the dough –
Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe – Printable Recipe
- 2 and ½ cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Baking Powdr (yes - 2 TBSP)
- 1 teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ cup very cold Butter - cut into tiny cubes or grated
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- a pinch of Sugar or Honey
- Mix all purpose flour, salt and baking powder well.
- Add the very cold grated / chopped butter pieces into the flour.
- Using a fork, incorporate the butter into the entire flour mixture.
- Add the cold buttermilk and mix with a fork to form a dough.
- Lay a plastic sheet on a work surface and dump the flour mixture in the center.
- Using the sides of the sheet, try to form a dough. Don't work it too much. Your aim should be to bring everything together into one piece.
- Seal the dough well with the plastic and return it to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Take a good portion of the dough (about ¼ th) and flatten a little. Place some flour to help you roll the dough easily.
- Roll it into a thin rectangle. Sprinkle flour on the surface and on the dough to prevent it from sticking.
- From the shorter side of the rectangle opposite to you, fold the dough in one-thirds. Then fold the shorter side closest to you over the already folded side. Seal well. This is ONE envelope. This helps in creating the flaky layers.
- Sprinkle some more flour and roll out the envelope into a rectangle. Repeat the same process of folding the layers.
- Repeat a total of three times. Then freeze it for 15 minutes at least.
- Preheat oven to 200 C / 410 F
- Remove the folded envelope of the dough and roll it gently such that it is of a 1-2 inch thickness.
- Use a cookie cutter or any biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits.
- Re-roll any excess dough and form more biscuits
- Place each one at a distance of ½ an inch from the other on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush each of the biscuits with melted butter or some buttermik
- Bake at 200 C for 15-20 minutes or until the biscuits puff up, turn golden brown and are fully cooked through.
- Let them cool for 5 minutes.
- Slice and serve with jam, nutella, curry or whatever you like!
- If it seems like the butter is starting to melt, keep the mixing bowl in the freezer for a few minutes. It is crucial to keep the butter and flour separated to maintain the flakiness.
- While forming the dough, use as little of your hands as possible. Your hands have warmth. They tend to melt the butter and that defeats the purpose of the dough.
- As much as possible, work really quickly while forming the dough or the biscuits. If you live in a humid environment, work closely to a refrigerator and an AC. It is very important to keep the butter and flour separated.
- You can store the dough as is, or after rolling and folding. Either way wrap tightly with a plastic cover or sheet and place in the freezer. This dough freezes well for a month
- You can use leftover dough to make anything you like - garlic rolls, veggie rolls, twisters, dough bites etc.
Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe – step by step pictures
Mix flour, salt and baking powder together. Add grated / chopped cold butter. Mix the butter into the flour such that flour coats the butter but the butter doesn’t melt into the flour. If you feel like butter is melting, return the mixing bowl into the fridge. Once the butter is mixed, add cold buttermilk and mix well with a fork to incorporate it into the flour. With the fork, you should be able to mix a somewhat together-dough. You don’t actually need to use your hands for this.
Dump the mixture onto a plastic sheet. Using the sheet, bring everything together to form a smooth dough. You don’t have to work the dough at all. It comes together very easily. Avoid using your hands as much as possible.
Cover the dough with the plastic sheet tightly and keep it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to an hour. You can also – at this point – store this in the freezer for future use.
To work the dough, remove a portion (about 1/4th) of the dough onto a work surface. Flatten it out a little and sprinkle enough flour on the dough and the surface to avoid it from sticking.
Gently roll it out into a thin rectangle. If you apply too much pressure, the butter may come out of the sealed pockets. You must also work very quickly to avoid the butter melting.
From the side opposite to you, fold one thirds of the dough into the center. Fold the side closest to you on top of the folded dough. This is one envelope.
Roll the envelope out again into a rectangle.
Repeat the same process of folding the dough one-thirds over one another.
Repeat the process a total of three times. At this stage, you can again freeze it for future use. Or roll out the dough into 1 or 2 inch thickness.
Use any biscuit or cookie cutter or a round cap to cut out biscuits from the dough. Re-roll any excess dough and form the same biscuits.
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper at a distance of 1 inch from the other. Brush with some buttermilk or melted butter.
Bake at 200 C for 20 minutes or until the biscuits puff up and turn golden brown. Let them cool a bit before serving!