Audrey is a medical transcriptionist, instructor, writer, photographer, and dog trainer who writes on a variety of topics.
The Perfect Biscuit
The Best Light Recipe cookbook from Cook's Illustrated has done it again! I have tried biscuit recipes from every source, and this is by far my favorite. It is a bit unconventional, but well worth the effort, which I don't think is extreme. I've found this recipe to be foolproof (even when I added the extra 1 cup of flour to the mixture). They are great for breakfast, for dinner, for soups, for strawberry shortcake—just de-light-ful! They also freeze like a dream. I have modified the recipe to reflect how best to add in the flour as 1 cup of the flour is for rolling them. Try their book as the recipes are amazing!
The Best Light, Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
For the highest rise, use a double-acting baking powder such as Calumet, Clabber Girl, or Davis. Store leftover biscuits in a zipper-lock bag. Reheat by placing on a baking sheet in a 475-degree oven for 5-7 minutes.
- Vegetable oil spray
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour (DO NOT MIX WITH THE 2 CUPS for shaping)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1-1/2 cups cold buttermilk
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with the vegetable oil spray. Generously spray the inside and outside of a 1/4-cup dry measuring cup with the same spray; set aside. (You will measure the biscuits with this)
- Take the seperate 1 cup of flour and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. (You will roll the biscuits in this 1 cup of flour before placing in the cake pan)
- Process the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a food processor to combine - about six 1-second pulses. Scatter the butter cubs evenly over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles pebbly, coarse cornmeal, eight to ten 1-second pulses. Transfer the dry mixture to a medium bowl.
- Add the buttermilk and stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated - don't overmix. (The dough will be very wet and slightly lumpy)
- Working quickly, use the prepared 1/4-cup measure to scoop a level amount of dough and drop it from the measuring cup into the flour on the baking sheet. (Use a small spoon to pull it free if it sticks but handle as little as possible - you want air in the dough)
- Repeat with the remaining dough, forming 12 pretty evenly sized mounds. Once you have the 12 mounds of biscuit, dust each of the 12 pieces of dough with flour from the baking sheet.
- With floured hands, gently pick up a piece of dough, coat it with flour and gently shape into a rough ball, shake off any excess flour and place in the prepared cake pan.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, arranging 9 rounds around the perimeter of the cake pan and 3 in the center.
- Bake the biscuits for 5 minutes at 500, then reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees and continue to bake until the biscuits are a deep golden brown - about 15 minutes longer.
- Cool the biscuits in the pan for 2 minutes, then flip them onto a clean kitchen towel. Turn the biscuits upright and break them apart and cool for 5 more minutes before serving.
How to Test Baking Powder for Freshness
Baking powder has to be tested frequently as it will lose the ability to provide leavening over time.
- Write the date that you opened it on a piece of tape and attach to the can. After 6 months, the baking powder should be tested to see if it is still good.
- To test, mix 2 teaspoons baking powder with 1 cup hot tap water. If there is an immediate fizzing and foaming reaction, it is still good. If the reaction is delayed or weak, throw it away and purchase a new can.
- A can of baking powder that has been open for a year or more should be replaced.
- Always check the date on the bottom of the can at time of purchase as well!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 10, 2012:
Thanks, Rhonda--will do a vid one of these days--they are SOO good and it is fun to make them as they definitely are a 'hands on' recipe~
toknowinfo on October 10, 2012:
Thanks for sharing this really great recipe. You did a great job in this step by step recipe. It looks and sounds so delicious.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 07, 2012:
They are a little more work (some think) but I swear by them--they are perfect every time!
TattooKitty from Hawaii on October 07, 2012:
These look delightful and perfect for maikng breakfast sandwiches!! YUM!
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on April 21, 2012:
This is a great idea...who would have thought this method would turn out delicious lowfat biscuits. I'll give it a try tomorrow. I'm making biscuits and gravy, which seems ironic as gravy has so much fat! I guess you have to cut back somewhere. : )
Nikki007 on September 05, 2011:
I have been looking for a good biscuit recipe, like so many of you out there, but this one turned out to be a GREAT biscuit recipe! I made a few modifications: I didn't use a food processor (as I don't own one) but instead kneaded the butter cubes into the flour mixture by hand. Additionally, I didn't feel like buying buttermilk so I made my own by combining one cup of milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice and letting it stand for about 5 minutes at room temperature then about 10 in the fridge. Finally, I cooked the biscuits at 425 degrees to ensure that the bottoms didn't burn. I baked them for ten minutes, took them out, brushed melted butter over the tops and then put them back in for five. With these modifications, the biscuits were AMAZING--so fluffy, flavorful and delicious like no other biscuits I've ever made!
dobo700 from Australia on August 22, 2011:
Nice Hub - I will have to give this one a go
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 10, 2011:
Thanks for the read, Jenny - enjoy~!
Jenny Rose from Northeast USA on July 10, 2011:
thanks so much for such a great recipe. I've tried so many different recipes for biscuits and this one sounds too good not to try. I love southern cooking. I'll let you know how they come out.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on January 24, 2011:
Janglin - too hilarious! Way to keep at it though and now you know it works!!
Janglin from The Great Midwest on January 24, 2011:
After several attempts and producing nothing but hockey pucks, finally success!
Thanks for the recipe and keep up the good work.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 10, 2010:
Thanks Jill - for stopping by and for the link!
Jill Demby Guest on November 10, 2010:
I am going to try these poste haste! They sound amazing.
I'd also like to share a whole wheat version that are surprisingly good. Biscuits can't be beat!!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 06, 2010:
So glad you liked it, Carol - it is THE recipe I swear by!
Carol on November 06, 2010:
OMG - I have been trying biscuit recipes to find the best and this one is the BEST. Easy and just absolutely PERFECT light and fluffy biscuits. The video helped to explain the handling of the dough. Fantastic!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 29, 2010:
MMP - How interesting! I never heard of cooking them in a cast iron skillet and will have to try it. This is the one thing I have a hard time with so this recipe really pops for me!
MyMastiffPuppies on August 28, 2010:
Great recipe, I will have to give it a try. I love to cook biscuits but I will have to say I have never made them with all purpose flour. I have tried several different ways over the years but the one thing I do consistently is use a black iron skillet to bake them in. That was something I got from my Mother. Thanks for a great idea!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 10, 2010:
Seriously, Katie - of all the things that I cook, I have the worst time of it with cookies and biscuits! I have no clue why - I do everything I'm supposed to do but they do not turn out soft and gooey or the biscuits do not turn out high and light....that is, until I discovered in turn the recipe that made it work!
This biscuit recipe definitely works and that's why I swear by it - and it is 'light' which means less fat, less calories. I use it for soups, breakfast if it is a big splurge family breakfast, or for a meal that just yells 'biscuits' instead of rolls. It is the only recipe I can seem to count on for my biscuits, so next stop will be adding a few ingredients to them and seeing if I can't make that work!
Katie McMurray from Westerville on August 10, 2010:
Oh I've never been able to master the art of making a great biscuit but with your great buttermilk bisquit recipe and tips I'm feeling pretty strong. Gonna give it a go when this heat breaks. Thanks :)
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 10, 2010:
Thanks, Lamme for stopping by! They really are my very favorite recipe and with the lower calories, less fat, definitely a winner!
Lamme on July 10, 2010:
These look delicious! I'm looking forward to trying them ;)
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on February 11, 2010:
It will! I honestly can cook just about anything - but biscuits I have the hardest time with - and cookies! But these recipes from The Best Light Recipe I really love because they turn out every single time - and they are better for us than the 'original'. I am drooling thinking about the berries on them! I love these for strawberry shortcakes - they are SO good! You will not realize that they are wonderful until you turn them out and people start grabbing them like 'hotcakes!' That is the test I always say - when folks actually are grabbing for them, you know you have a winner!
BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on February 11, 2010:
Ok - I will try this - I just cannot make them like my Mother used to - she was a traditional Southern cook and I can still taste them. Now, my drop biscuits are okay - but I notice you mentioned to 'gently pick up...' and maybe I have been handling the dough too much or too roughly.
I remember when we visited my Grandmother's farm in NC my mother would go out early and pick blueberries and cook them like a syrup and make biscuits to go with them - mmmmm, or my grandmother would make them and we'd have molasses with them, mmmmmm - but I can't do this with mediocre biscuits.
Loved the hub - I will bookmark it - and try again! Thank you so much! This will work!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on January 14, 2010:
Sure thing - virtual pass - I will have to try yours, too - the problem for me is that I've tried all kinds of biscuit recipes and it's the one thing I cannot do or do easily - but this recipe actually works. When I make these, I have to make 2 batches because they just keep disappearing!
Holle Abee from Georgia on January 14, 2010:
Just wanted to see how your recipe compares to mine. Sounds great! Would ya pass me one? With lots of butter?
benny Faye Douglass from Gold Canyon, Arizona on October 23, 2009:
Thank you for a great biscuit recipe, I appreciate you and your hub. thanks for sharing. creativeone59
Simon Cook from NJ, USA on October 23, 2009:
NIce hub - never tried to make biscuits myself - I don't even know if my oven goes up to 500! Thanks for sharing!