Look at the layers! I will be making my biscuits this way from now on. What’s the secret? Quite contrary to the “handle the dough as little as possible” wisdom, you fold this dough over onto itself, business letter-style, multiple times, which has the result of creating many very thin layers of butter, what bakers call laminating the dough, like you do for croissants or puff pastry. Without all that fuss, you get a biscuit, sure. But it won’t be the kind that keeps you dreaming of the next time.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan (Baking from My Home to Yours), Julia Child’s cooking show featuring Leah Chase of Dookie Chase New Orleans (Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs), and Cook’s Illustrated for the folding technique (Sept & October 2015).
Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips:
- 4 Tablespoons of butter = 2 oz. = 1/4 cup
- 6 Tablespoons of butter = 3 oz.
- 8 Tablespoons of butter = 4 oz. = 1/2 cup
- 12 Tablespoons of butter = 6 oz. = 3/4 cup
- 16 Tablespoons of butter = 8 oz. = 1 cup
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup whole milk or cream
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to combine, rubbing and breaking the butter into pea-sized pieces.
- Pour the milk (or cream) over the flour-butter mixture and using a fork, stir just until you have a shaggy dough. Dump onto lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle, approximately 12"x9".
- Starting from the short side and using a bench scraper to lift the dough, fold the dough rectangle into thirds like a letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees. Using a rolling pin, roll back out into the 12x9 rectangle. Repeat the folding and rolling process four more times, for a total of 5 folds, and end with shaping the dough into an approximate square, about 1" thick. Transfer dough to a plate or small sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Remove dough square from refrigerator to lightly floured cutting board. Using a sharp, floured chef's knife, trim 1/4-inch of dough from each side of the square (this gives clean edges to each biscuit, allowing them to rise up while baking, instead of toppling sideways). I bake these pieces on the same sheet pan as the biscuits instead of discarding, as they are perfectly tasty - chef's treat!
- Cut remaining dough into 12 squares, flouring the knife after each cut. Arrange biscuits at least 1-inch apart on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a Silpat. Bake until tops are golden brown, 15 - 20 minutes.