Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

from Ellen's kitchen, with thanks from America's Test Kitchen

Make's 9 biscuits

The butter should be frozen solid before grating. In hot or humid environments, chill the flour mixture, grater, and workbowls before use. Once the butter has been grated, it is important to move quickly. The dough will be very crumbly and dry in pockets for the first two sets of folds, but will be smooth by the end of the folding process. Do not be tempted to add extra buttermilk. Flour counter and top of dough as needed to prevent sticking, but be careful not to incorporate large pockets of flour into the dough when folding it over. When cutting the biscuits, use a sharp knife, and use quick, even pressure in a downward (not sawing) motion. 

3 cups all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for work surface
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), frozen for 30 minutes
1 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, cold

1. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Coat sticks of butter in flour mixture, then grate on large holes of box grater directly into flour mixture. Toss gently to combine. Add 1 ¼ cups buttermilk, and fold with spatula until just combined (dough will look dry). Transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, press dough into rough 7-inch square.

2. Roll dough into 12 by 9-inch rectangle, with short side parallel to edge of work surface. Starting at top of dough, fold into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough from countertop. Press edges of dough down firmly to seal folds. Turn dough 90 degrees clockwise.  Repeat rolling into 12 by 9-inch rectangle, folding into thirds, and turning clockwise 3 more times, for total of 4 sets of folds. After last set of folds, roll into 8 ½ inch square about 1 inch thick. Transfer dough to baking sheet, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, and heat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Using sharp, floured chef’s knife, trim 1/4 inch of dough from each side of square, and discard. Cut remaining dough into 9 squares, dipping knife back into flour after each cut. Arrange biscuits at least 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk.

4. Bake until tops are golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Transfer biscuits to cooling rack and cool 15 minutes before serving.


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