Yes, these are square biscuits. Why you ask? For superior rise and less wastage of precious buttery dough. Also, they look fancy.
I love this buttermilk biscuit recipe (based on Bon Appetit and America’s Test Kitchen) because it is so easy and yet has beautiful lamination and texture. I like to make these ahead of time and put the raw biscuits in the freezer so I can have freshly baked biscuits whenever I want them. Which is really living the dream, as far as I’m concerned.
Servings: Makes 8 biscuits.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk, cold
- Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. Coat sticks of butter in flour mixture, then grate 7 tablespoons from each stick on large holes of box grater directly into flour mixture. Toss gently to combine. Set aside remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
- Add buttermilk to flour mixture and fold with spatula until just combined (dough will look dry). Transfer dough to liberally floured surface. Dust top of dough with flour; using your hands and a bench scraper, press dough into rough 7-inch square.
- Roll dough into 12 by 9-inch rectangle, the long side facing you. Using the bench scraper, fold into thirds like business letter. Press edge of dough firmly to seal folds. Turn dough 90 degrees clockwise. Repeat rolling into 12 by 9-inch rectangle, folding into thirds, and turning clockwise 4 more times, for total of 5 sets of folds. After last set of folds, roll dough into 8 1/2-inch square about 1 inch thick. Transfer dough to prepared sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Transfer dough to lightly floured cutting board. Using a sharp, floured chef’s knife, trim edges to make straight lines. Save these scraps! Cut remaining dough into squares, flouring knife after each cut. I usually get 8 medium biscuits. Arrange biscuits at least 1 inch apart on sheet. Use dough scraps to make pinwheels or other shapes. Melt reserved butter; brush tops of biscuits with melted butter.
- Bake until tops are golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer biscuits to wire rack and let cool for an excruciating 15 minutes before serving.
Notes on Recipe:
- Grating the butter evenly distributes the flour mixture, which is key for flakiness. Freezing the butter prior to grating ensures that it stays in individual pieces throughout the mixing and shaping process.
- Using a higher-protein all-purpose flour (such as King Arthur) provides the right amount of structure for flakiness (rather than fluffiness, which you’d get with a lower-protein flour) without toughness, while buttermilk gives the biscuits tang and sugar lends complexity.
- To produce the maximum number of layers, roll out and fold the dough like a letter five times. I.e. lamination!
- Letting the dough rest for 30 minutes and trimming away the edges ensures that the biscuits rise up straight and tall.
- Cutting the biscuits into squares is easy and avoids any wasted scraps (or tough rerolls).
- The pinwheels might be the best ones, particularly if you like the crispy edges of biscuits.
- Do Ahead: Biscuits (unbaked) can be made ahead. Freeze, uncovered, on baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag. No need to thaw before baking, just add a few minutes to baking time.