The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Biscuit Help

jlach's picture

Biscuit Help

I've been trying to make the perfect biscuits for months now. The picture with the jalapeno biscuits is from about a month ago. I had it down. They were perfect, even the plain buttermilk. Now, I can't, for the life of me, recreate them. The other pictures are of what mine keep coming out like now. I have no clue what's going on. I've bought all new ingredients, and am even weighing them for the recipe. 


Here's the recipe I was using:

2.25 C SR Flour

1/2 C Butter

1.75 C Buttermilk

450 for six minutes, then rotate and throw another pan under to stop browning for about another 10 mins. I put the bowl of butter/flour in the freezer for ten mins prior to adding the BM, and don't let them sit at all.


For the jalapeno ones I just dumped some in. The plain ones were the same texture inside. The new ones won't even keep their circle shape. Any ideas/ suggestions on what I'm doing wrong now are greatly appreciated. 


I've read every biscuit entry on here. I was hoping someone could spot what's going on (as in why they're different). 






clazar123's picture

Every biscuit recipe I've seen has some form of leavening. If you have just milk,butter and buttermilk, it is more like a pastry.


EDIT: Duh! Just figured out SR flour means self-rising. Time for another cup of coffee-the brain isn't awake yet.

Crider's picture

Although I agree strongly with Jean6's observation. I'm a regular buttermilk scone maker. Some buttermilks — especially the best ones  — tend to get a bit foamy as they age. So that means they take up more volume the older they get. Having experienced that sometimes my scone dough was too dry and sometimes a wee bit too wet, I changed to weighing everything as if I was doing loaves of yeasty bread. It really helped me get consistant results.

So start off weighing the flour and buttermilk of your standard recipe to get a baseline and go from there. I think you'll see improvements.

Ford's picture

I agree with Jean6's observations and with Crider's observation that your dough may be too slack.  In addition your pictures make me think you are not working your dough.  Also your SR flour may have been on the grocer's shelf longer than you think and the baking powder has lost its ability to raise the dough.  Here is my recipe and I have no problem with keeping the shape and with rising.  I haven't added jalapeno, but I see no reason not to add the chopped jalapeno with the dry ingredients.



[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.  Crisco shortening now has no trans-fats, does not need to be refrigerated, and may be substituted for Earth Balance.  Or try your favorite solid shortening.


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 cut, raw biscuits for 30 days and then baked them with no discernable difference between them and those frozen for only a half hour.  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.



jlach's picture

I got a test bag from SYSCO of the SR 25lb bags of flour. The biscuits were amazing. So, I put in a minimum order of 20 bags. I went through six of them in the first week, then went on vacation and let them use frozen biscuits. Upon my return, I haven't been able to get the same rise. 


If it is the baking powder in the biscuits "getting old" would adding some extra "new" baking powder to the SR Flour work? I'll give the Baking soda trick a try tonight after class, as the latest biscuits do have a more "cake-y" texture. I just don't want to throw out 350 lbs of flour!

I've been mixing the flour/butter and buttermilk by hand until it's a messy goo, then only kneading like three or four times. It still has cracks in it. Should I knead more to where there are no cracks?


Thanks for the help so far!!

jlach's picture

So, it was the flour. Any ideas on what to do with 350 lbs of Non-Self Rising Flour? 

Ford's picture

Send it back!  SR flour should be "fresh" for more than a month.