Cookbook Profile

Basic Flaky Biscuits

Makes 12 2-inch biscuits.


Besides making light, flaky biscuits, this dough is a wonderful base for pizzas, filled rolls and sweet or savory tarts.

2 cups Always-Ready Flaky Biscuit Mix (recipe further below)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (if using buttermilk or yogurt)
1/2 to cup milk, half-and-half, buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 to 2 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the biscuit mix in a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar and baking soda, if using. With a fork, gradually mix in the milk until all the ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together. Allow the dough to rest for 1 minute, then turn it onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead lightly, 1 to 2 times. Gently pat or roll the dough out into a round or rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick. Using a sharp, lightly greased and floured biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits. Cut straight down, and do not twist the cutter, or the biscuits won't rise evenly. Transfer the biscuits to an ungreased baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter, if using. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom and golden on top. Serve hot.


Always-Ready Flaky Biscuit Mix

Yield 2 cups for 1 batch of 12 biscuits
Preparation time 15 minutes

Southern cooks are famous for their light, fluffy biscuits. One of their baking secrets is flour made from soft winter wheat. Soft wheat is low in protein, and the lower the protein, the lighter the biscuit. One brand that many great biscuit makers swear by is White Lily. This formerly regional flour is becoming more available nationally, but if you can't find it in your area, try mixing part of a higher-protein all purpose flour, like Gold Medal, and part cake flour. Buttermilk (or yogurt) will react with the baking soda, neutralizing its sourness. Subsituting half-and-half will yield a richer dough.

1-3/4 cups White Lily all-purpose flour,
     or half Gold Medal all-purpose flour and half bread flour
2-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into bits
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled, cut into bits

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some tiny pea-sized lumps of butter and shortening remaining. Use as directed in the recipe, or place the mix in a heavy-duty 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Label and date the bag. Store the biscuit mix in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Buy the Book!


Biscuits, Pancakes, and Quick Breads
by Beverly Cox
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
120 recipes, 15 color photographs, 160 pages, Hardcover
US $19.95 CAN $32.00
ISBN: 1-58479-320-1
Recipe reprinted by permission.


Biscuits, Pancakes, and Quick Breads



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This page created September 2004