Cooking Tips: WHY DON’T MY BISCUITS RISE?

Are your homemade biscuits flat and tough? Just follow these tips…

So you suffer from “flat biscuits” disease? You’re not alone, it’s a common problem. In fact, it is probably the most common complaint for bad biscuits. But, don’t worry, help is on the way. This article will give you the simple tips to fix your flat biscuits.

So, let’s get to work on those bad biscuits!

Tip#1 THE DOUGH

When mixing the ingredients for the biscuit dough, always add butter or Crisco (solid shortening) to the dry mix. Better yet, add both. For each cup of flour use about 2 heaping tablespoon of butter or Crisco. Using a pastry cutter (or fork) cut the Crisco/butter into the flour until it resembles a course mix with tiny lumps. It’s O.K. to leave a few 1/4 inch lumps.

Unlike many recipes using dough, biscuit dough is super sensitive to kneading. The chemical process involved is beyond the scope of this article but in short…kneading biscuit dough ruins it. You should never kneed biscuit dough. Here’s the correct procedure:

* Mix your ingredients in a bowl until you have a moist, slightly sticky ball of dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
* Lightly flour your working surface and roll the dough from the bowl to the flat surface. Use flour to prevent sticking but try to use as little as possible.
* Flatten the dough with your hands into a 2 inch thick rectangle. DO NOT USE A ROLLING PIN.
* Lift one side of the dough and fold the dough over on itself. Flatten gently and lift the opposite side and fold back over itself again. Repeat the fold procedure a third time. It’s sort of like folding a letter to fit in an envelope.
* Finally, flatten the dough with your hands and shape into a rectangle 1 1/2 inches thick. Proceed to cut out the biscuits.

Tip#2 Cutting Out The Biscuits

It is important to have a dough at least one to one and a half inches thick at this point. Thin dough makes thin biscuits. Duh!

When cutting out the biscuits use a 3″ biscuit cutter. Small cutters make small biscuits. Duh…again. Our goal here is to make big, fat country biscuits. However, if you like tiny biscuits, use a smaller cutter.

Important! When cutting out the dough, push the cutter straight down, slide your hand sideways to pull the dough away from the dough mass and lift the cutter straight up. Do not push the cutter down and twist the cutter to free the dough. Twisting the cutter compacts the sides of the dough resulting in mis-shaped, tough biscuits.

Place the cut out biscuits on a cookie sheet with the sides just barely touching.

TIP #3 THE COOKIE SHEET

Thin, dark colored, non-stick cookie sheets tend to brown (burn) the bottom of the biscuits before the tops are golden brown. Use a heavy, thick, light color cookie sheet with a layer of parchment paper. Stainless steel works best, however, they are expensive so use what you have but watch the biscuits closely as they start to brown. If the bottoms are starting to burn reduce the heat and open the oven door a few inches. Do not attempt to turn the biscuits over. It can be done but usually results in collapsing the biscuits right when they should be rising.

TIP #4 FINALLY…HERE’S THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF FLAT BISCUITS!!!

USE FRESH BAKING POWDER! It is what makes the biscuits rise. Baking powder is said to last for months and it might…but it begins to lose it’s potency the minute you open the can. Fortunately, baking powder is relatively inexpensive so try to replace it every couple of months after opening. You do not have to throw away a half full can…just don’t use it for your biscuits. Use it for you pancakes or whatever.

If you are using a baking mix (Bisquick) normally you do not need to add baking powder. It’s already in the mix. But if the mix has been opened for a couple of months you should add fresh baking powder when using.

ENJOY YOUR BIG FAT BISCUITS

Baking mixes work pretty good and are convenient. But there’s nothing like making big, beautiful biscuits from scratch and knowing you did that. If you do use a mix we still recommend adding Crisco and butter to the dough.