I am 39 weeks pregnant and getting very eager to meet my baby! I want him to be born right now, and I want him to keep cooking because I am also very nervous about having an infant to care for! Flaky Butter Biscuits have been a pregnancy craving for several weeks now. Actually, the real craving is an egg, cheese, sausage, and biscuit breakfast sandwich from a certain fast food chain. I may or may not have gone through this drive through three days in a row. So I decided to make my own biscuit sandwiches.
My family was very confused and upset when I made these biscuits and they were not accompanied by sausage gravy. This is my pregnancy craving, not theirs, so I made what I wanted! Ha! David’s birthday is coming up and we will be having biscuits and gravy for his birthday breakfast as we do every year. So their cravings will soon be satisfied, too.
Back to me and my cravings. I first started making flaky butter biscuits in culinary school and this recipe is the same one I learned there. Some people will argue that the fat in biscuits can only be lard as it makes a superior flake and mouthfeel. Consider this: butter has flavor! Lard does not. Well it does, sort of, but not butter flavor! So I use butter in my biscuits and they come out perfectly flaky and amazing every time.
The real key to flaky biscuits is in the mixing method. Cold butter is important, as is real butter (no margarine or other sad substitutes!), but the mixing and folding is really key. Use your hands, two butter knives, or a pastry blender to cut in the butter to the flour just until it reaches a large pea size. Then use the same technique to mix in the milk just until everything is moistened. You don’t want to overwork the flour!
The dough will not really look like a dough capable of holding together. That’s good. This is called a “shaggy” dough. You can see the lumps of butter, you can feel the slight moistness from the milk, but it will feel like it needs more liquid. Don’t add more!
Dump your shaggy dough onto a lightly floured, wooden surface and gently pat it into a disk or square about 2 inches tall. Now slide your hands under one half of the dough and fold it over onto the other half of the dough. Gently press the dough again into a 2 inch tall disk. Scrape up any loose dough and place it in the center of your disk. Again, slide your hands under one half of the dough and fold it over on top of the other half. Repeat this process 3-4 times, until the dough is holding together. Gently pat the dough into a 2-inch tall rectangle, square, or circle, depending on what shape you want your biscuits.
I usually shape my dough into a rectangle and use a sharp serrated knife to cut square biscuits. This method makes no wasted dough and you won’t need to do any extra folding. You can use a biscuit cutter or pint glass to make round biscuits if you prefer. You will have dough scraps left over. Pile them all on top of each other and gently press into a 2 inch tall disk again and continue cutting biscuits. The last few biscuits you get from this dough might look a little funny or be on the smaller side.
As I said previously, my recent craving has been to make these flaky butter biscuits into sausage and egg sandwiches, but I also love a good jam spread on my open biscuits, and sometimes just a drizzle of honey. The great thing about biscuits is that they can be paired with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or eaten on their own. And if you ask my family, they need to be accompanied by a good sausage gravy. What is your favorite way to enjoy homemade biscuits?