These are my gold-standard biscuits. My secret? Frozen butter! It’s an old pastry chef’s trick that has served me well. Butter tastes great and when it’s frozen it becomes very easy to shred into the dough. After you try these a few times you’ll be able to bake them in under twenty minutes and clean up the mess too!
Yield: Makes 8-10 large biscuits
4 cups (1 L) of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of baking powder
2 teaspoons (10 mL) of salt
1 cup (250 mL) of frozen butter
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) of milk
A sprinkle or two of salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together until they’re evenly mixed. Grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients. Shred it through the large holes of a box grater or potato grater directly into the flour. Toss gently with your fingers until the butter shards are spread evenly throughout the flour.
Pour the milk into the flour mixture and stir with an upside down wooden spoon to form a dough mass. The handle of the spoon is gentler on the dough. Fold the dough over a few times with your hands until all the ingredients come together. If necessary add a few spoonfuls more milk to help gather up any stray flour. This kneading will strengthen the dough a bit but not enough to toughen the biscuits. It will also help them form a crisp crust when they bake.
Pat the dough out on a lightly floured cutting board forming a loose round shape. Cut into wedges – like a pie – or any other shape you’re in the mood for. Position on a baking sheet; sprinkle on a bit of coarse salt and coarsely ground pepper. Bake for fifteen minutes or so. You’ll know they’re done when they turn golden brown. Enjoy at once with lots of brown butter!
Biscuits are easily scented with herbs and spices. A spoonful or so adds lots of flavour. I tend to use aromatics that reflect the rest of the meal but, really, anything goes. Add caraway seeds to biscuits for beef stew or add a touch of nutmeg to breakfast biscuits. Rosemary, thyme and even curry powder all taste great too.