Buttermilk biscuits are so versatile. For breakfast, enjoy them warm with jam. For dessert, slice them in half and top them with fresh strawberries and whipped topping for strawberry shortcake. For savory dinner biscuits, omit the sugar and add chives, herbs or grated cheese.
TIP: To make 1 cup of dairy-free buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to enough dairy-free milk of choice to measure 1 cup. Stir to combine.
Follow these tips for delicious homemade biscuits.
1. Chill the Fat
Tender biscuits begin with cold shortening, butter or margarine. Chilled fat immediately expands when the biscuits are placed in a hot oven, creating many delicate layers as the dough bakes. Instead of refrigerating the fat, try freezing it. Once frozen, use a box grater to grate the shortening or butter directly into the dry ingredients and stir just to blend. To keep the fat from warming while it’s blended into the dry ingredients, use a chilled spoon, pastry cutter or cold hands. (Run your hands under cold water and dry them before blending.)
2. Cut It Clean
If you roll and cut the dough with a biscuit or cookie cutter, don’t twist the cutter when pushing it into the dough. This crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
3. Make It Savory
For savory biscuits, add 1/3 cup of dried or fresh chopped chives to the dry ingredients. For even more flavor, add 1 cup of cheddar cheese or dairy-free cheese alternative.
4. Make It Sweeter
For a dessert biscuit (for strawberry shortcake), add up to 1/3 cup sugar to the dry ingredients and top each biscuit with a sprinkling of sugar before baking.
5. Finish With Shine
Brush a bit of melted butter or margarine over the baked biscuits for a bit of a sheen and additional color. This also adds an additional hint of buttery taste.
6. Don’t Over-Mix
Just barely combine the wet ingredients with the dry. This prevents the shortening or butter from warming and it keeps the biscuits tender.
Dee’s Rice Flour Blend
MAKES 4½ CUPS.
3 cups brown rice flour or white rice flour or combination
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
½ cup tapioca starch/flour
1. Combine ingredients until thoroughly blended.
Each cup contains 570 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 8mg sodium, 128g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 0g sugars, 8g protein, 87Est GL.
Contributor Diane Kittle is a professional baker and owner of Dee’s One Smart Cookie, a popular gluten-free, allergy-friendly bakery in Glastonbury, Connecticut.Yields 10 biscuits
- 4 cups Dee’s Rice Flour Blend
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
- ½ cup cold non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening, butter or margarine, cut into small, uniform pieces
- 2 cups cold buttermilk (or 2 cups cold milk of choice mixed with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar)
1Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2In a metal or glass bowl, sift together flour blend, baking powder, sugar and xanthan gum. (Sifting isn’t required but it produces lighter, smoother biscuits.)
3Add shortening, butter or margarine to dry ingredients and quickly blend it using your fingers, a metal fork or a pastry cutter until shortening is the size of small peas and is evenly incorporated throughout.
4Pour in buttermilk and fold it into the mixture with a rubber spatula just until ingredients are lightly mixed. (There should be no dry flour in the batter.) This takes as little as 20 to 30 seconds. Your dough may still appear a bit wet. Don’t continue mixing. Let dough sit a minute as the milk continues to absorb into the flour.
5To make drop biscuits (the easiest method), scoop the dough using a ½-cup ice cream scoop and place the scoops, evenly spaced, onto prepared baking sheet. Alternatively, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and form it into a 2-inch-thick rectangle with your hands (or roll it lightly with a rolling pin to a 2-inch thickness) and cut it with a round biscuit or cookie cutter.
6Place in preheated oven and bake 25 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned and baked through. For smaller biscuits, bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned and done.