Biscuit Help

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Pwingsx
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2006/04/08 00:36:54 (permalink)

Biscuit Help

I'm hoping some kind people out there will help me solve the problem of our hockey puck biscuits. We've tried lots of recipes and the results are rarely different -- they rarely rise and just seem rather flat and tasteless.

Here's the problem (we think): we live in mile-high Colorado, right about the mile level. We seem to have overcome problems with cakes and other things, but otherwise, we cannot figure out what's going wrong.

The last recipe we tried was the most flavorful (it should be, it had a cup of butter, a cup of sour cream and 2.5 cups of flour) but they came out flat, wouldn't slice and were uncooked in the middle. The recipe called for self-rising flour, but we used all-purpose. However, we read that adding extra baking powder would do the trick. Subsequently I have been told that there's actually more to it than that, that self-rising flour has a mixture of baking powder, baking soda, whatever.

Has anyone had any experience with this? Can you suggest any other recipes that you hold near and dear to your hearts?

And please don't suggest the canned ones. Those are so bleah....I'll confess, however, that I love the ones from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Full of Kentucky fried grease. mmmm mmmm (Although I won't eat the chicken except twice a year or so, after which I wonder why I ate it AGAIN.)

Thanks!!
#1

21 Replies Related Threads

    pigface
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/08 01:22:47 (permalink)
    Soft wheat flour, Not all purpose
    Regular hockey season is almost over
    www.whitelily.com
    www.kingarthurflour.com
    these should help in the upcoming playoffs
    Keep your stick on the ice

    I never buy self rising flour either, but this recipe should help
    make sure all you baking powder & soda is fresh
    http://www.whitelily.com/RecipeBox/Recipe.aspx?ID=91
    don't over work the dough, you'll have something elastic like pizza dough ... too much glutins
    this might help too ...http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_151,00.html
    #2
    Sonny Funzio
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/08 16:12:43 (permalink)
    First, make sure your leavening is ok ... replace your baking powder with a new can if it is anywhere near the expiration date.

    Then try all of the following ...
    Your biscuits might be actually over-rising, and then falling ... decrease the baking powder by 1/8 to 1/4 tsp for each tsp. required
    Add an egg or egg white to the biscuits. The protein in the eggs strengthens the cell structure.
    Increase liquid ... for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.
    Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F. (then, check for doneness early!)

    Good luck!
    #3
    Nemis
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/08 16:34:46 (permalink)
    Not sure about all the high altitude but I always use buttermilk and mess with the dough as little as possible when mixing the wet and dry and rolling out the bisquits.
    BUTTERMILK BISCUITS!!
    2 1/2 Cups Flour
    1 T Baking Powder
    1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
    1 tsp. Salt
    2 T. Crisco
    8 T. cubed Cold Butter
    2 T Melted Butter-brush on top of biscuits before baking
    1 1/4 Cups Buttermilk (Low Fat)
    Ungreased baking sheet 450 degrees for about 15-17 minutes
    12 each at 10 inch round biscuits, roll out 1/2 inch thick
    Sift dry ingrediants
    Cut in Fat
    Once you get the fat into pea sized shape crumbles into dry ingrediants, chill dough for 15 min.
    Add Buttermilk
    Fold dough a few times at different angles for layers and cut into rounds
    Bake and let biscuits rest on Cookie sheets


    #4
    roossy90
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/08 21:38:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by pigface


    Regular hockey season is almost over



    Yah, go Redwings!
    Like this has anything to do with bisquits...
    #5
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/08 21:46:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pwingsx


    And please don't suggest the canned ones. Those are so bleah....I'll confess, however, that I love the ones from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Full of Kentucky fried grease. mmmm mmmm (Although I won't eat the chicken except twice a year or so, after which I wonder why I ate it AGAIN.)

    Thanks!!

    I won't suggest the canned, but I will suggest the Pillsbury buttermilk or southern-style biscuits that are in 12-count bags in the frozen foods section. There things are so good that I don't even bother making my beloved Bisquick drop biscuits any more.
    #6
    Pwingsx
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/09 14:21:49 (permalink)
    We're going to give all the recipes a try, and also the frozen biscuits. Thanks for the info, guys.
    #7
    UncleVic
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/09 22:54:52 (permalink)
    Also note that your 'biscuit' cutter needs to have shart edges. Dull ones will pack down the dough mix on the edges screwing up the rise also..
    #8
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/10 14:16:16 (permalink)
    I agree with Michael, the bagged frozen biscuts I get at SuperWal (not pilsbury) are almost as good as my homemade and I can make just one or two and theres NO MESS! Living somewhere around 10 feet above sealevel I can't comment on high altitude cooking
    #9
    Pwingsx
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/11 01:27:56 (permalink)
    Ok, we tried the self-rising flour and actually got a biscuit with some depth! It was a mayonnaise biscuit, and the taste was pretty flat, but we feel we are making progress.

    I'm looking forward to trying the frozen ones myself. Although we got some height on this last batch, they were very crumbly and had no discernible layers to them. Where do you get those from???? Is that a result of kneading or just the opposite?

    C'mon you southerners, I really thought you could steer me straight here. Is it the altitude that keeps you from responding?
    #10
    Rick F.
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/11 02:54:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pwingsx

    C'mon you southerners, I really thought you could steer me straight here. Is it the altitude that keeps you from responding?
    No, it's ignorance. We don't have altitude in the South, just attitude! But let me add praise for the frozen ones (I use [url='http://homadefoods.com/products/12ctbuttermilk.htm']Mary B.)[/url] Using a home convection oven, I cook at 400° until they look "right." Pretty subjective, I know, but I think it's maybe 18 minutes.
    #11
    Sonny Funzio
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/11 11:33:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pwingsx

    Ok, we tried the self-rising flour and actually got a biscuit with some depth! It was a mayonnaise biscuit, and the taste was pretty flat, but we feel we are making progress.

    I'm looking forward to trying the frozen ones myself. Although we got some height on this last batch, they were very crumbly and had no discernible layers to them. Where do you get those from???? Is that a result of kneading or just the opposite?

    C'mon you southerners, I really thought you could steer me straight here. Is it the altitude that keeps you from responding?


    If you got results with the bisquick but not with the flour/baking powder method, I would strongly suspect you either have inactive baking powder as I noted in my post above ... or your buscuits are over-rising and then falling ... (the bisquick might in fact have a lower concentration of baking powder).

    As noted above it will be important to both have good baking powder AND, if the biscuits are rising and then falling ... decrease the total amount of the baking powder used.

    Also as noted above, you have to increase the water content!!! (because at altitude, water gets "boiled out of" a recipe quicker). This could cause a crumbly biscuit.

    Actually, all of the suggestions in the above post would help.
    In fact, the adding an egg white idea was an old fashioned one-step remedy for baking at altitude.
    I'd be curious the results you get :-)

    #12
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/11 14:39:29 (permalink)
    I've never had "layers" in my biscuts although they do split more or less in half and most biscuts crumble after the first bite unless its undercooked. Altitude chnages the cooking characteristics of many things (or so I seem to recall reading) water boils at a higher temp etc so it probably effects the rising agent as well, guess ya gotta experiment a bit.. I don't know about the cutter having to be sharp, a jelly jar glass works well for lil biscuts and a large sweet tea tumbler makes great cathead biscuts.
    #13
    Greymo
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/11 15:45:33 (permalink)
    Here is a recipe for high altitude biscuits that I found on internet. The article explained that less leavening is needed in high altitude baked goods.



    HIGH AND MIGHTY

    BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

    (Makes 12 3-inch biscuits)

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    21/4 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold

    3/4 cup +2 tablespoons cold buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and blend into dry ingredients using two butter knives or a pastry blender. Slowly stir in buttermilk and mix dough just until it holds together. Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead gently until a cohesive ball forms.

    Pat down dough and lightly flour surface. Roll dough to 1 1/2 inches thick. Using 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut biscuits as close together as possible. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until nicely browned. Serve warm.

    #14
    Sonny Funzio
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/11 16:02:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by dreamzpainter

    I've never had "layers" in my biscuts


    If you cut your flour and shortening together first (like you do a pie crust) then combine with the rest of the ingredients they will have a more flaky/layered result.

    Speaking of flaky biscuits that are actually layered ...
    Somewhere I have a recipe for Hammered Biscuits but I can't seem to find it at the moment. It is a southern recipe I believe served at a famous restaurant somewhere in the SouthEast that calls for:
    Flour
    Salt
    (Water)
    Butter
    A Big Hammer

    As I recall, you use the hammer to pound the butter into the flour, and providing that the ingredients are cold, you end up with wonderful flaky biscuits.

    I'd sure like to figure out what I did with that recipe.



    #15
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/11 16:10:27 (permalink)
    Sonny, thanks for your help. I have always wanted to make a decent bisquit but I have never been successful.

    I think the secret is the "cold" method???

    Mamaw Smith makes them and they are OK just using flour (self rising) and milk or buttermilk, oil, a little salt and cut them with a glass and bake them.

    I enjoy them with some sausage gravy but they have never had that flaky tste or look.

    Thanks,

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #16
    Pwingsx
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/11 16:18:48 (permalink)
    Now this is what I'm talkin' about. Thanks for all your tips. We'll be trying several of them. I do think the problem lies between the leavening agent, the extra moisture needed and the altitude itself.

    Is the layered, flaky biscuit a thing of myth, then? Remember the pilsbury biscuit commercial where the kid splits the biscuit with his dad by lifting it by layers? False advertising?
    #17
    Sonny Funzio
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/11 16:38:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    Sonny, thanks for your help. I have always wanted to make a decent bisquit but I have never been successful.

    I think the secret is the "cold" method???

    Mamaw Smith makes them and they are OK just using flour (self rising) and milk or buttermilk, oil, a little salt and cut them with a glass and bake them.

    I enjoy them with some sausage gravy but they have never had that flaky tste or look.

    Thanks,

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN


    Yes, it's much like making flaky pie crust as compared to mealy crust ... the shortening and dry ingredients must by cut together cold and not melt untill baking.

    In fact, to make it likely I'll get the best results I actually chill everything and don't touch the dough with my warm fingers nearly at all.

    Chilled bowl, chilled ingredients including wet.
    Use an eggbeater (or knives if you are into that sort of exercise) to cut the (*solid*) shortening into the dry ingredients untill it resembles very coarse meal.
    Add the cold liquid ingredients and stir only untill the liquid is combined. Don't overwork the dough.
    Gather the dough gingerly and roll out into a big rectangle then fold the ends over to the center ... and then fold once again (so you have at least 4 layers). Cut the biscuits and brush the tops with butter.

    Then, if there's any delay to get the biscuits into the oven, I store them on the bottom shelf in the icebox.
    Make sure to pre-heat the oven properly.

    Also, for flaky layered stuff you need to use bread flour (or at least add extra gluten to regular flour) ... and solid shortening, not oil.

    Gosh, those biscuits sound fantastic right now ... but I'm being good these days ... banking my food-karma for upcoming summer festivities ;-)
    <sigh>



    (note that the above method would obviously not be for "drop" biscuits but for a "rolled & cut" biscuit recipe ... however, even for drop biscuits I'd still do the separate combining of "dry + shortening / then wet" as noted)

    #18
    pigface
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/23 14:52:33 (permalink)
    Mile High Biscuits
    4 c cake flour
    2 T baking powder
    2 t sugar
    1 t salt
    2 oz cold butter
    2 oz cold veg shortening
    1 oz cold refined lard
    1 1/2 c. cold milk
    Preheat oven to 425F. Sift dry ingredients together in large bowl. Cut in cold butter, vegetable shortening and lard w/ pastry blender or fingertips. Stir in cold milk quickly w/ about 10 strokes. Place dough on floured surface & sprinkle lightly with flour. Knead lightly for 10 strokes. Push dough out and fold back on itself on every four strokes. Pat out or roll out to a thickness of 3/4 inch. With a small cutter dipped in flour, cut the dough and place biscuits close together on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Makes 16

    Cut & Pasted from todays featured review
    #19
    scott123
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/25 10:21:47 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sonny FunzioYes, it's much like making flaky pie crust as compared to mealy crust ... the shortening and dry ingredients must by cut together cold and not melt untill baking.


    I don't think I've ever seen a biscuit recipe that didn't involve cutting cold shortening/fat into flour. Although it's essential to the process, I don't think that's the 'secret' to layered flaky biscuits. I've been experimenting with different sizes of fat clumps (pea size and larger) and no matter what I do, I've never achieved a layered flaky a biscuit (just big holes where the fat used to be).

    But the rolling/folding of the dough. THAT you don't find in many biscuit recipes. That sounds like the secret to layered flakiness. That is where biscuit making and flaky pie crust making part ways. Pie crust is thin enough that you don't need folding. The biscuit on the on other hand, needs to be rolled thinner/folded in order to flatten the clumps of butter. If the butter isn't flattened in some way, you don't get layers.
    #20
    EliseT
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/26 04:09:06 (permalink)
    Another thing I like to do with biscuits is to roll them out kind of thin, brush the top with melted butter, and fold the dough in half. When they come out of the oven, they naturally split into halves.

    #21
    Pwingsx
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    RE: Biscuit Help 2006/04/26 18:04:52 (permalink)
    The folding sounds like a fine idea.

    My mom used to brush the tops with melted shortening to get them golden brown. So we do that.

    We have now tried again using self-rising flour. It helped.

    We also bought frozen biscuits (Albertson's house brand, as it was on sale). They were definitely better than any we've made so far, sad to say. They looked good, and spread with real butter, they TASTED good.

    I'm also partial to the breaking in the fat in solid form. So many of the recipes we tried have used melted butter or shortening. How do you expect to get any sort of texture with that?

    Thanks again for all the help. We will persevere.
    #22
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