The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Reinhart's "Best Biscuit Ever" Problems

BadRabbit's picture
BadRabbit

Reinhart's "Best Biscuit Ever" Problems

I recently cooked Reinhart's "Best Biscuits Ever" from Artisan Bread Every Day and had a couple of issues. I used the option of added cheese ( I used Gouda).

The entire recipe is available here:

http://www.projectfoodie.com/spotlights/cookbooks/peter-reinharts-artisan-breads-every-day.html

 

My problems were twofold.

 

First, my biscuits hardly rose at all. I checked my powder and soda and both were fairly new. Also, I measured every ingredient on my scale.

Second, the biscuits browned VERY quickly and were done 5-6 minutes before the recipe said they would be. I checked oven temp and it seemed to be exactly right at the shelf where the biscuits were cooking.

If it matters, I used White Lily flour, Morton's kosher salt, Land o' lakes cream, and French butter (I can't remember the brand but it has a pic of the Eiffel Tower on it).

Any idea of where my breakdown might have happened? I make biscuits all the time and don't usually have these issues (though I'm never quite happy with my rise).

 

ETA: I used all White Lily AP (which the recipe lists as an option) instead of part AP part pastry flour.

 

 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

As for the quick browning, that is a matter of knowing your oven and ingredients. Who knows, his oven may have been "off" temp when he baked. Just adjust for it next time or put it in a lower rack in your oven.

As for the biscuits not rising-there is something I heard about the cutting method that can make a lot of difference in the rise. When you cut the biscuit from the rolled dough, the idea is to cut straight down and not twist. Twisting kind of seals the  edge down-kind of like battening down the hatch-the top is sealed to the bottom and won't lift and allow a rise. Not an expert but it did make sense to me.

I am curious to hear what others say.

BadRabbit's picture
BadRabbit

That makes a lot of sense because my biscuits ended up being slightly raised in the middle and flatter at the edges. Reinhart suggested a pizza cutter but I couldn't find mine so I just used a knife. Next time I'll try with the pizza cutter.

Ford's picture
Ford

Try this recipe for flakey Southern Style Biscuits.

BISCUITS
[as cut 3/8"x2" diam., 22 g, 72 cal., 1.4 g prot., 3.4 g fat, 8.7 g carb.]

 
2 cup (8.5 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1  tspn. salt
2 tspn. double acting baking powder
1  tspn. baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1/2  cup (1.8 oz.) Earth Balance, or Crisco Shortening
3/4 cup (6.5 oz.) buttermilk
 
*Note: Butter, margarine, and “spreads” all contain water, as much as 15 to 30%, or even more.  Consider this, if you substitute these for shortening.  Earth Balance Shortening contains no “trans-fats” and makes the best biscuits, in my opinion.  This shortening must be refrigerated and note the container has only 15 oz, not a full 16 oz.  Not all groceries carry it, but Whole Foods did.  Crisco shortening now has no trans-fats, does not need to be refrigerated, and may be substituted for Earth Balance.

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Sift together and mix the dry ingredients.  (Baking soda tends to have clumps.)  Then add the shortening in teaspoon size bits.  With the fingers of one hand, mix the shortening with the dry ingredients, then mash and rub the shortening with the dry ingredients to form thin flakes of shortening covered with flour.

Add the buttermilk to the dry ingredients and lightly stir the ingredients; dough should be slightly sticky.  Add more buttermilk, if necessary.  Place on a floured surface and sprinkle dough lightly with flour.  Flatten the dough with a floured hand to about 3/8 to 1/2  inch thickness. (If you use only one hand, the other will be clean for handling other things in the kitchen.)  Fold double four times, flattening after each fold.  Cut with 2 inch diameter biscuit cutter, straight down and do not twist.  Alternatively, , just cut the biscuits into 2” squares with a knife.  Should make about twelve biscuits.  Place biscuits on ungreased, or slightly greased, baking sheet or other suitable pan.  King Arthur bakers claim that freezing cut biscuits for a half hour before baking will make them flakier.  (It doesn’t hurt them, and I have frozen them for two weeks and then baked with good results.  Ford.)

Bake until brown, about 12 - 14 minutes.  If you use a forced convection oven, reduce the temperature to 425°F and bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until brown.  Serve hot with real butter and honey, preserves, marmalade, etc.  Leftover biscuits may be split and the opened side browned under the broiler – still good.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I'll start by saying I am no expert on biscuits. In fact I have made it a goal to learn to consistently bake tender and flaky biscuits. The Reinhart recipe above is interesting in that you are creating layers of floured dough when turning and folding. The idea is to create a lamented structure using a high hydration dough and repeatedly flouring above and below.

I think one place where you can control if you get a better rise is to make sure you get enough liquid into the dough mix. I tend to want to not use enough liquid (cream or buttermilk). The dough needs to be wet as you will be drying it out with repeated applications of flour.That's the one area where you have to make a decision that isn't explicitly covered in the instructions. When Reinhart says  "Add a tiny bit more cream if necessary to bring the dough together", I take this to mean that I should not get overly concerned about trying to incorporate ALL the dry ingredients by kneading/mixing. I should add a bit more cream to accomplish the incorporation of the final flour. This is contrary to my instincts and experience as a bread baker. Chasing the hydration by adding flour or liquid before hydrating has completed, is a frustrating exercise I try to avoid.

And as has been pointed out by Ford, the cutting is important. If you crimp the dough in any way when you cut it, it will form a seal around the edges and hold back the rise. An inexpensive sharp cutter is a big help.

I hope this has been helpful. I'd love to see your results.

Eric

floured's picture
floured

I was so glad to see another person who had the exact same problems I did ( not rising enough and too brown).  I think I overworked the dough by trying to add more cream to hydrate the flour.  I tested my baking powder and it was fine.  I did use a pizza cutter to cut the biscuits but I think they still had somewhat sealed edges.  I am going to try starting off with a wetter dough to see if that helps, but appreciate any more tips anyone has.  They were delicious -- especially with homemade strawberry jam I just made!