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Biscuits - making ahead

I have not made biscuits before and am wondering how they fair when made in advance. I'd like to make them on Tuesday to serve on Thanksgiving, but is this a bad idea? Will they end up too mushy?

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  1. no more than likely they would wind up to hard and dried out. biscuits doesn`t take very long to bake, so I would them on the holiday, no more than a hour before you eat.

    1. Biscuits are best served right out of the oven. I usually make biscuits for an evening meal, and eat the leftovers the next morning. The leftovers are definitely on the stale side, though warming them a bit does help. A richer dough such as scones (with added sugar and eggs) keeps better.

      If you haven't made biscuits before (baking powder, southern style ones, right?), I don't think it is a good idea to try them for your Thanksgiving meal. I just made a batch of oatmeal scones from a new recipe, and found I had to think on my feet to get the consistency right - and I've been around biscuit making all my life. More so than muffins, biscuit making is about technique.

      paulj

      1. I will concur about not making biscuits in advance. You'll wind up with hockey pucks.

        To lighten the load, I pre-mix the flour, soda, salt and butter/shortening, place in a container and refrigerate till needed. Then add the milk right before you need to bake them.

        Might not be a great solutions, but hope it can help some.

        1. ditto, ditto, ditto.

          funny story: i made biscuits once to enter in the local fair. of course, judging takes place a couple days after product is dropped off. i won third place! thing is, there were no other entries!
          i still laugh about that! (and i do make good biscuits, having learned from my mommy!)

          2 Replies
          1. re: alkapal

            too funny.... but so unfair!!!!! how do they justify that?! geez, remind never to make biscuits in your neck of the woods!

            1. re: alex8alot

              alex8alot, thanks for the commiseration. yeah, it was a bit disappointing when i was 15. i've gotten past that tragic miscarriage of justice; however, i was able to perservere on to bigger and more tragic miscarriages of justice as an adult! ;-)

          2. Making biscuits in advance would be like brewing coffee in advance.

            1. Thank you all for your comments. I thought this might be the case. Think I'll try the biscuits some other time and go with a more reliable bread offering.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ChouxChoux

                Your screen name makes me wonder: do you have experience with choux dough - cream puffs? Cheese flavored ones (gougere) would be a nice touch - either with the appetizers, or as bread.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goug%C3%...
                paulj

              2. I adore biscuits but dislike multiple-day-old ones. They really are heavenly fresh, okay later, and just awful after that. They don't get mushy at *all*: they get hard.

                I've made the dough and baked later (only as far ahead as the next morning, though). My great-aunt is a believer in chilling the dough. I've heard rave reviews for cutting and freezing scone dough and then baking directly (no defrosting). All that being said, I would concur with previous posters, against trying out biscuits for a holiday if you've never made them before.

                9 Replies
                1. re: willownt

                  Don't be to hasty is disposing of day old biscuits. They make a heavenly bread pudding. Top with bourbon sauce and swoon.

                  1. re: Candy

                    Oh, fear not -- I don't dispose of them! They never last longer than one day past baked so I never let them get to the awful stage. ;) But I am sure they would make a great bread pudding; thanks for the tip.

                  2. re: willownt

                    Willow...you make biscuit dough the night before and then bake them off in the morning? Do you roll and cut them the night before too, or just let the dough rest in a bowl in the fridge?

                    1. re: wawajb

                      I'm pretty sure I've done it both ways -- leaving the dough and then rolling, as well as cutting the dough out and letting it rest.

                      I know I *said* I've done it the next morning, but I'm not entirely sure that's true. I can't distinctly remember-- I make them all the time. I'd be happy to try a batch and report back in tomorrow morning! :)

                      1. re: willownt

                        Well, I mixed the dough at night, kneaded it / formed it into a block suitable for cutting -- but did not cut out the individual pieces. It was just under 1" thick. This morning I immediately noticed it had shrunk! When I measured it, it appeared to have lost a good 1/8". I cut out the pieces with a knife not cutters and baked. It gained maybe 1/4". Not very puffy. I will conduct further experiments and report back.

                        1. re: willownt

                          Thanks...I really appreciate the research! :)

                          1. re: willownt

                            Most baking powder is dual acting. So some CO2 is produced as soon as you mix it (liquid activated), more is produced during baking (heat activated). The overnight resting period lets much of the initial CO2 dissipate, leaving you with only the 2nd action. The situation could be worse if you use buttermilk and baking soda, since there isn't the heat activated phase.

                            Biscuit doughs also depend on fat to separate layers, producing flakiness in some recipes. Moisture in the dough also creates steam - which is supposedly a factor in the wet-dough recipes (where the biscuits are formed with floured hands, not cut).

                            It would interesting to look at the leavening agents in refrigerated 'whack and bake' biscuits. They may have a higher proportion of the heat activated components. Note that they start expanding even at room temperature.

                            paulj

                            1. re: paulj

                              I know that's how baking powder works but since I know that some people do longer resting periods, I was curious how it would compare.

                              I actually used Martha White self-rising flour with "Hot Rize" whatever that rubbish is.

                              What I really need to do is mix up a batch and bake it at a few different times. That would be fun!

                              1. re: willownt

                                Hot Rize : ' The eclectic Colorado progressive band came together in 1978 and were named after the secret ingredient of Martha White Self-Rising Flour, the product Flatt & Scruggs promoted early in the 50's amd 60's.'

                                The MW web site gives the ingredients: , BAKING POWDER (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE),
                                Clabber Girl BP has sodium aluminum sulfate instead of the phosphate. Otherwise the same.
                                According to wiki 'Common low-temperature acid salts include cream of tartar, calcium phosphate, and citrate. High-temperature acid salts are usually aluminium salts, such as calcium aluminium phosphate.'

                                paulj

                    2. For this Thanksgiving I indulged and bought 72 layer cream cheese biscuits from the Robinhood free Meetinghouse Restaurant through Stonewall Kitchen, which come frozen. So,I assume that you could make them ahead of time a freeze them and bake them straight from the freezer!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: emilief

                        I agree, those are pricey, but fantastic. I first tried them a couple of years ago - they have them at Whole Foods too - and now they're always part of the Thanksgiving bread basket.

                        (if anyone is looking for an excellent store-bought biscuit, here's more info):

                        Michael Gagné’s Robinhood Free Meetinghouse Biscuits
                        http://www.thenibble.com/zine/archive...

                        Where to Purchase:
                        http://www.gagnefoods.com/where_to_pu...

                        1. re: emilief

                          Those biscuits are just heavenly.

                        2. Hi ChouxChoux,

                          I might have another option for you. This recipe has been in my family for a long time and the dough actually improves with age. You can make the dough and it will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. With this recipe you can make the dough ahead and just roll and cut them, allow to rise, and then pop them in the oven to bake when you pull out the turkey!

                          Angel Biscuits

                          5 cups flour 1/2 cup lukewarm water
                          3/4 cup shortening 1 package yeast
                          1 teaspoon baking powder 2 Tablespoons sugar
                          1 teaspoon salt 2 cups milk

                          Dissolve yeast in water and add sugar. Allow to proof for 10 minutes. Mix shortening and remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl until crumbly like a pie crust. Add milk and yeast mixture and stir until moist. Place in a container with room to rise and this can be kept for weeks in the refrigerator.

                          When ready to bake, remove desired amount of dough from refrigerator and roll to 1/2" thickness and cut out biscuits. Allow to rise for 30 minutes before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes until golden. I've known some family members to just drop spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: CapeCodChowHound

                            And angel biscuits are designed to be very easy to make (I think they were the favorites of new cooks).

                          2. These are not make ahead, but these biscuits are easy to make and very good!

                            Alton Brown's Southern Biscuits
                            http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                            1. Fresh biscuits are the BOMB! But...if you have leftovers, I like to split them, butter them and toast them or griddle them, serve sausage and eggs on top and make morning breakfast sandwiches. Pretty tasty use for leftovers.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                split, toast, top with fresh wild strawberry jam. mmm good!

                              2. You can freeze them & then bake them directly from the freezer.
                                I used to work at a bakery where we did this with our scones & biscuits.
                                The result was wonderful.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: dbug31

                                  i thought freezing would affect rising?

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    It is perfectly fine to do. Like I said, we never had a problem with quality.

                                    1. re: dbug31

                                      Same here... works perfectly. I make the cream cheese and chive biscuits from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, and they freeze beautifully.