Ch. 04: You gotta risk it to get the Buttermilk Biscuit

Biscuits have never been in my repertoire. That may shock the average American home baker who’s probably in possession of some hundred year old recipe that was passed on from their grandmother and her grandmother before- but I’m from Guam. Biscuits don’t often make appearances on our dinner tables unless you’ve just picked up some KFC (or Popeyes if you have base access). The biscuits I’ve often had were either hard, dry or some bad combination of the two. And so when I saw that I had a few cartons of buttermilk in the fridge, I decided what better way to put it to use than with even more butter? I didn’t say these were healthy. As usual, I looked towards the food gods at Bon Appetit, praying special intentions to Claire Saffitz who’s an internet sensation among those who watch food videos on Youtube. Hers stuck out because it yields tall biscuits with more layers than it knows what to do with. 

The recipe is interesting in its preparation- none of which is frivolous or without results. It starts out in the food processor which seems to be a good starting point for many new bakers who maybe haven’t worked with pastry before. The machine does all the heavy lifting which takes the guesswork away from someone who may not know what to look for. After being introduced to the buttermilk, the dough then takes a detour from the average preparation. And here’s where it gets interesting. Claire demonstrates a technique of rolling out the dough into a square, cutting it in quarters and then stacking each on top of each other. That weird dough stack then gets pressed down and rolled to size. Trust her on this as it creates some insane layers that you wouldn’t get otherwise. I also enjoy the fact that these are cut into squares as it prevents any wasted dough scraps that round cutters can’t avoid. After some chilling in the freezer, these get baked up and let me tell you, your effort is rewarded. These bake up nice and tall with more layers than a .psd file (graphic design jokes, amirite?) I went a little happy with my rolling pin which lead to flatter, larger biscuits- but you won’t hear me complaining!

The finished biscuits are crunchy on the edges with soft, fluffy layers that pull apart in such a satisfying way. Add on a bit of butter (cause why not) and a drizzle of honey and man, you’re in for a treat. My mom actually requested that I make these again and so I happily obliged, careful not to roll them out as flat as before which led to an even taller, even fluffier product. These are great because they’re mellow in flavor so they pair nicely with whatever sweet or savory toppings your heart desires. The butter + honey combo is our favorite, but I’ve also enjoyed them with homemade strawberry jam, some mushroom gravy and even along with our Easter lockdown brunch. They freeze really well so you can have biscuits whenever you want. Safe to say they’re a welcomed member into my recipe repertoire.

Full Recipe | Method by Claire Saffitz of Bon Appetit

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