flat biscuits, what went wrong?

debrak2008September 30, 2013

I found an old thread with the following recipe.

Big Daddy Biscuits

2 c flour ( I used 1 1/2 white, 1/2 wheat)
1 T baking powder
1 T sugar (a mix of stevia a reg. sugar)
1 t salt
Mix well with a fork.

Cut in 1/3 c cold butter or shortening. (shortening)

Stir in 1 c milk. (skim)

Dough will be a bit wet.
Fold/knead about 15-20 times on a well floured surface.
Pat out dough to about 1/2" thickness.
Cut with cutter, glass or knife.

Bake at 425F until tops are golden brown.
These will grow to about 3 times the height they went in..and be flaky layers.

Well there was very very little rise in height.

What did I do wrong? was it the wheat floor or the skim milk?

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 17:58

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grandmamary_ga

My first thought was old baking powder.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 6:24PM
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triciae

Old baking powder would be my guess also. I remember that recipe. I "think" it was Teri somewhere around Puget Sound that posted it?? I'd intended to try it but I'm a creature of habit & always just start tossing my usual ingredients into the bowl.

/tricia

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 6:40PM
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publickman

Next time use buttermilk and baking soda instead of milk and baking powder. I still use a bit of baking powder even when I do this, but I always check the date on the baking powder before using it.

I've seen recipes for Popeye's copycat biscuits that use sour cream and Sprite, but I have never made them. I do love Popeye's biscuits, however.

Lars

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 6:44PM
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teresa_nc7

I have made Big Daddy's biscuit recipe several times and they were wonderful. Sorry if I sound like I am scolding you.....but you didn't make Big Daddy's biscuits. Use only white flour (no whole wheat) and use only sugar (no stevia). This is a good basic biscuit recipe, make it as it is written and you may have better results. Then, you can change it up if you want and name it after yourself.

Somethings just shouldn't be messed around with and biscuits fall into that category. And yes.......I am southern.

Teresa, who is ready to take her 40 lashes with a wet noodle

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:10PM
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magothyrivergirl

I have had the honor of spending days with Teresa - she is the sweetest person on the planet -- but she knows her Biscuits -- and her passion shows. Please - don't beat her with a wet noodle ~LOL~ just follow her advice!
The only thing I know about baking biscuits ..... is .....Teresa knows how! But, for the record --- any time I sub wheat flour for white, the rise and lightness is different / less. Now, back to the real bakers' advice.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:59PM
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debrak2008

Ok so I'm the one who should get the wet noodle, LOL.

I just checked and my baking powder is recently expired, hanging my head in shame.

This weekend I mixed my regular sugar and stevia together. I don't know why, but I was making 3 batches of cookie dough (2 to freeze) and had the crockpot and stockpot going cooking down turkey bones to make broth. I was just on overload in the kitchen and thought so it would be easier to mix them together in the tupperware container.

Another lesson learned. Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 10:08PM
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teresa_nc7

Such mistakes can happen to all of us at some point in our cooking history. No need to hang your head - just chalk this lesson learned up and get back in the kitchen.

BTW, I still can't make biscuits like my grandmother: she would clean off the kitchen counter, shovel out some flour, stir in baking powder, salt, maybe sugar? with her hand, cut in the shortening with her hands, add some milk? or buttermilk? to mix the dough all together (with her hands), pat out the biscuits, cut them and by the time she finished cutting all the biscuits - the counter would be practically as clean as when she started. How did she do that and turn out such wonderful, light, flaky biscuits without any measuring?

Teresa

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 10:41PM
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annie1992

Teresa, I make OK/pretty good biscuits, but not nearly as well as Grandma did either and she made hers much like your grandmother made yours.

I have made biscuits with whole wheat flour, though, and they turned out all right. Not as flaky/fluffy as white biscuits, but they rose and flaked and were acceptable.

And this reminds me that I need baking powder, although I do love a nice flaky buttermilk biscuit. I've never even seen a Popeye's, although I've heard of them.

Annie

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 11:48PM
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azzalea

I second (or is that 3rd or 4th) the idea that your baking powder may be old. Put a bit in a bowl, add some water. If it doesn't fizz right up, I'd toss it and buy new.

But there's another issue with biscuits. When you cut them, did you twist the cutter/glass? or press it down straight? I've heard that twisting can cause the biscuits not to rise as they should. Not absolutely sure if that's true, but something to think about for next time.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 10:30AM
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sleevendog

Late to the party since i do not bake often. But i do test my baking powder and date the lid with a sharpie when i open it no mater the date on the bottom. I've had it loose activity before the date. Baking soda needs acidity to test, like a bit of vinegar.
Baking powder should fizz in tap water but i have read that hot water is a better test.
Baking soda i transfer into a glass lidded spice container for the pantry/cooking. The boxes it comes in do not seal and tend to travel around the home for cleaning and other things. (who knows where its been)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:21AM
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teresa_nc7

Not twisting the cutter is advice generally given for making nicely risen biscuits. Just my opinion, but I think using a sharpe cutter and not twisting it when cutting is better than using a glass that has a thicker edge. Of course, if a glass is all you have to use, then use that. Or.....you could use a sharpe knife or a pizza cutter to make square biscuits. I don't thing there is a rule that they have to be round? ;o)

Teresa

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:21AM
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ann_t

I was thinking another reason biscuits don't rise high is because the dough was over worked. You want to handle the dough as little as possible.

~Ann

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:21AM
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triciae

A sharp biscuit cutter is good advice. I lost my SS round cutters in Sandy. I'd had them for at least 20 years. I ordered a replacement set from KA (they are square!) and the difference is amazing. I hadn't realized how dull my old set had become over years. Sharper is better for nicely risen biscuits!

/tricia

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:27AM
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debrak2008

I now have new baking powder.

I actually don't have a biscuit cutter. I do have lots of cookie cutters but they are all different shapes, none round. I used a glass and I'm sure I did twist a little.

I plan on trying the biscuits again within the next two weeks. I will buy a biscuit cutter. Actually I just checked my meal planner and stuffed pepper soup and biscuits are on the menu for Sunday. I will report back and may include a photo!

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Fri, Oct 4, 13 at 8:04

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 8:01AM
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publickman

I always make square biscuits (and scones), but when I put them on the pan, I push the corners in slightly so that they don't get too brown. I've never felt the need to make round biscuits, and this way I do not end up with leftover dough, which would not make biscuits that are as good. I also use part cake flour when making biscuits, but that's because I do not have AP flour - only bread (plus WW and rye). I'm thinking of getting some White Lily flour just for biscuits and scones.

Lars

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 12:14PM
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beachlily z9a

Have to say, I love my cleaning lady! Gave her my recipe for biscuits and gave her some pastry flour from King A. that is a knockoff of White Lily flour. She made the biscuits and then called me. They were great tasting but short, not like mine. She had patted the dough too thin. I coached her.

Today she joined our new BJ's Warehouse and called me from there. Did I want 10 lb. of King A. AP flour for $6.99. Told her to get it then she could exchange that for the pastry flour I got for her for her biscuits. She is a hoot!! I'll join BJ's during next week. She didn't have to do it, but that's just her.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 8:55PM
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debrak2008

ugh. Tried again. Very little rise. Followed the recipe exactly using butter. Handled the dough less and used a real biscuit cutter, no twisting. All ingredients fresh.

Maybe spread the dough too thin? also not sure I did a good job cutting in the butter. How many biscuits should you get from this recipe? I used unsalted butter is that OK?

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Sun, Oct 6, 13 at 18:54

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 6:25PM
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cloud_swift

I think you may still be handling the dough too much. I'm trying to get better at making biscuits because flaky dough is a baking thing that I've never mastered.

The first batch I made didn't rise much.

I made a second batch after reading the comments suggesting that mixing too much might be the problem. I dumped the dough on the counter when there were still wet and dry patches - the liquid just mixed in enough to not run. Then folded/kneaded a few times (but not as much as the 15-20 mentioned above. Just enough to get it uniform enough to cut and place - no totally dry flour but still some wetter and drier spots. That batch rose well and tasted great. Some bits of butter leaked out and sizzled while they were cooking (not sure if that is a good or bad thing - but they tasted more buttery than the very mixed batch so probably a good thing).

I made another batch today mixing a bit more so the butter didn't leak. They rose well but weren't as flakey so the second batch was the best so far.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 8:02PM
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debrak2008

I handled the dough as little as possible. The dough was very sticky and I had to add a lot of flour to be able work with it. Am I adding too much??? I struggle with "wet" dough for cookies.

Good thing is they tasted better then my first attempt.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 8:29PM
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beachlily z9a

Biscuits are easy, but tricky. One critical step is to not cut the shortening or butter too fine. They should be in pieces about the size of a large pea. When the pieces melt in the oven, the water from the fat creates those flaky layers and helps with the rising. Yes the dough will be sticky, but just dust your hands with flour and knead it a couple of times. It will come together. Then pat the dough gently and then (if you want) roll it slightly, but keep the dough about 1/2-3/4" thick.

Once you learn how to do it, you'll wonder why you thought it was so hard! Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 7:26AM
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dcarch7

There is baking soda, and baking powder. Has anyone tried using Baker's Ammonia?

Also, I don't think baking soda and powder will go bad (expire) if stored properly. They don't deteriorate or go rotten by themselves.

dcarch

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:23AM
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ci_lantro

Next time, reduce the amount of milk to 3/4 c.

Similar recipe at the link--calls for more butter and less milk.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gold Medal Classic Biscuits

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 11:26PM
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debrak2008

ci_lantro, I tried the gold medal biscuits. I used 1 cup KA AP flour and 1 cup KA cake flour, butter, and buttermilk. They were much easy to work with and did rise. I experimented with the time and temp a little. 450 for 10 min seems right.

I was going to post a photo but everyone started grapping them and they are all gone : ) I would still like them to rise a little more but at least these are respectable.

Thank you all!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 6:28PM
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coconut_nj

I tried to read all the responses and think someone mentioned this but my first thought was you might be patting or rolling them too thin. I think it's a mistake a lot of people make. I see the recipe says half an inch but I'd make them thicker. Sounds like you're getting the method down with the gold medal recipe. Good luck

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 11:59PM
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ci_lantro

Oh thanks for letting me know that you're getting a handle on them, Debrak. I suspect that the other dough recipe was just too wet and the dough wanted to plop out rather than poof up.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 6:50AM
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teresa_nc7

Glad to see you are practicing your biscuit making to get them the way you want. One other pointer: if you space the biscuits about an inch apart, you will get mores crusty biscuits that may spread out more; if you place the biscuits in the pan closer together, with sides touching, you may get higher rising, softer biscuits. This is one of the general theories in biscuit making.

Teresa

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 12:31PM
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triciae

Another thought - be sure your oven is well preheated. It takes most ovens longer to thoroughly heat than what the little buzzer indicates. I always start preheating my oven just before starting to gather ingredients.

/t

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 12:44PM
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debrak2008

I think I do then to make them too thin. Having the sides touch and a longer pre heat are good ideas. I have actually read recipes that called for you to bring the oven up to temp. and then have it sit empty for 30 min before putting in whatever you are making. Seemed odd but there may be some wisdom to it.

Thanks for the tips!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 9:43PM
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teresa_nc7

I usually preheat my oven to 500F for about an hour when making homemade pizza on my stone.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 10:14PM
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westsider40

Another thought to avoid over handling. Use a dough scraper or bench knife or rubber spatula to fold the dough. Sounds like you are getting there and your guys are polishing off your results. Lots of helpful ideas for all of us here.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 12:31AM
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westsider40

Another thought to avoid over handling. Use a dough scraper or bench knife or rubber spatula to fold the dough. Sounds like you are getting there and your guys are polishing off your results. Lots of helpful ideas for all of us here.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 12:39AM
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pink_warm_mama_1

teresa nc7: Please share your best buttermilk or plain biscuits. By the way, Wal-Mart does not carry biscuit cutters.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 11:13AM
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carolb_w_fl

Maybe missed this in above comments, but recently read a recipe that said to dip your biscuit cutter in flour between cuts - seems like a good idea, however I generally use a zigzag-edged roller pastry cutter to make 'stick' shaped biscuits.

& if I want high fluffy biscuits, I pat the dough out to approx. 3/4 inch thick, no rolling. I use the baking powder biscuit recipe from James Beard's 'Beard on Bread', BTW, using 5 Tbs of butter, EV olive oil, or a mixture - I've even used schmalz or duck fat. He recommended placing biscuits close together for a higher rise & it does seem to make a difference; the sides stay softer than when they're baked far apart.

Also, I check baking powder freshness by tasting a tiny amount - it should fizz on the tip of your tongue like Pop Rocks.

& yeah, 100% whole wheat will never be as fluffy as white flour - I understand the tiny bran pieces keep the gluten from forming longer strands that help to contain the gas bubbles. I generally mix it half & half or 1/3 w.w. flour 2/3 unbleached flour for a fluffier result.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beard's biscuits

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 11:46AM
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jasdip

I don't use a biscuit cutter, just a soup can with holes punched in the bottom to release any air. Flour the edge and push straight down, no twisting.

I also pat my dough, don't roll.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 12:12PM
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annie1992

Jasdip, I now have a round cutter "set", it's 4 different sizes of rounds. Supposed to be for cookies, but I cut yeast dough and biscuits with them too. For years, though, I used a soup can with both ends cut out, it was just the right size. A tuna can was too big and a tomato sauce can was too small, but the soup can was right, LOL.

I also handle my dough carefully, pat instead of roll and don't twist the cutter when cutting the biscuits. We must make biscuits much the same!

Annie

    Bookmark   January 25, 2015 at 12:25AM
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plllog

Isn't that the standard way to make cut biscuits?

Other than the rolled kind with the buttered layers like croissant dough?

A friend insisted that I had to have scalloped biscuit cutters, but I think the can works better. :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2015 at 2:11AM
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