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Biscuit heresy?

Monch Apr 16, 2011 11:15 AM

I have been working on my acumen for making baking powder biscuits and have found a recipe that works.

Today I got a bug to make a batch and decided to try a shortcut:
- Into the Cuisinart went the dry ingredients, for a pulse or two
- Then in went the frozen shortening (butter-flavored Crisco)
- Pulse a few times to get to "crumbly" consistency

While I had everything out, I decided to mix up a SECOND batch to the point I end, above. Threw all that into a zipbag and threw THAT into the freezer for future reference.

Will the freezing of my "homemade Bisquick" cause me any issues, up to and including, being drummed out of the Biscuit Maker's Guild? Same question for use of the food processor?

I took the FIRST batch to completion, with buttermilk, and the completed product is darn tasty.

  1. visciole Apr 16, 2011 12:12 PM

    I would think it should work just fine, though you may need to get the frozen stuff up to room temp before mixing the dough. If you want to make it even easier, use dried buttermilk in the mix and then all you'll have to do is add water!

    Also, though you didn't ask -- try using butter! It's even yummier, IMHO.

    1. m
      MellieMag Apr 16, 2011 10:00 PM

      It may work fine. I couldn't make biscuits unless I could feel the dough. I don't chill anything,not for biscuits or pie. I just know how it's supposed to feel in my hand.Showing my age, aren't I?

      2 Replies
      1. re: MellieMag
        s
        sandylc Feb 16, 2012 07:48 PM

        My mother and grandmother never chilled a thing for biscuits OR pie dough!

        1. re: MellieMag
          iL Divo Mar 25, 2012 07:44 AM

          MellieMag, I love the feel of the dough too. I have recently in life learned the importance of chilling the dough for 30 minutes. although I'd say it does have a good outcome doing that, I much prefer the feel of it before it seizes up even the least bit. maybe watching gramma with her soft yet strong hands. she had the talent to feel to see if it was ready for next step.

        2. p
          piccola Apr 17, 2011 05:11 AM

          Using the food processor is perfectly fine. I'm not sure about the freezing, but hey, let us know how it works out!

          5 Replies
          1. re: piccola
            Monch Apr 17, 2011 05:44 AM

            I have "hot hands" and eventually found that frozen shortening was a great offset to that.

            I extended to this to this experiment.

            I do go hands-on, of course, when kneading.

            1. re: Monch
              p
              piccola Apr 18, 2011 05:40 AM

              I meant more about freezing the whole mix to be used later. I've used frozen, grated butter in biscuits before, because it seems to work best for me.

              1. re: piccola
                Monch Apr 18, 2011 07:27 AM

                Piccola,

                Gottcha. The dry mix is in the freezer for later this week.

                I'm extrapolating my experience that the longer the fats remain solid, the better my results seem to be....

                So...frozen dry mix with frozen bits of shortening "seem" to make sense.

                It's "red beans and rice" night at our household, maybe some hot fresh biscuits would go well on the side.

                I'll report out!

                1. re: Monch
                  p
                  piccola Apr 18, 2011 05:22 PM

                  Please do! Because it's a genius idea if it works.

            2. re: piccola
              iL Divo Mar 25, 2012 07:48 AM

              food processors are ah-mazing machines. many a pie dough or bread dough for that matter in this household has been processed. some times it's a time issue. I'm in a hurry or it just seems like the time spent to do it all by hand won't measure up to what I also have to do now.

            3. TrishUntrapped Apr 17, 2011 05:46 AM

              My recipe for pie crust calls for combining flour, salt and shortening together (very coarse, uneven crumbs) and keeping the mixture well covered and in the refrigerator until ready to use... Measure two cups and add ice water and you can roll the crust out immediately, no waiting.

              The crust is incredibly flaky, but when I first posted about this technique on another Web site, people pretty much mocked me and said it was ridiculous. Then about two years later, lo and behold, Alton Brown did the same thing on his show and people said he was brilliant...

              My point is two fold... Be creative, it's not heresy. I admire you for trying something different. And, based on my pie crust experience, I think your biscuit idea may very well work as long as you don't overwork it.

              Report back, please.

              1. l
                LauraGrace Apr 18, 2011 07:27 AM

                When I was growing up we always had a big tupperware container full of homemade bisquick -- recipes online abound; we used the one from More With Less -- and I can't imagine a problem with freezing it if you're using shortening.

                1. r
                  rjbh20 Apr 18, 2011 10:39 AM

                  I've done that for years, though I generally don't keep it in the freezer very long. It works very well and is a very useful technique if you're doing multiple batches of biscuit for a party. Don't bother bringing it to room temp -- just add your buttermilk, mix & roll out. Presto.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: rjbh20
                    Monch Apr 18, 2011 05:18 PM

                    Result from frozen dry mix....delicious! No noticable difference in rise, crust, crumb....etc.

                    The noticable difference, of course, was in cleanup. Fewer utensils to wash.

                    Next experiment...a couple of batches of dry mix and NOT freezing.

                    From there, maybe butter-based dry mix, but that WOULD have to be fridged/frozen to keep the butter solid.

                    All in all, I'm perceiving that the flake of the biscuits is enhanced by the frozen shortening staying solid just THAT much longer, in the oven, than the room-temp shortening.

                    I may be imagining things, but the experiment is tasty!

                    1. re: Monch
                      Monch Apr 25, 2011 04:54 PM

                      OK,

                      Last post, lest I be accused of pandering to my own thread!

                      Tonight it was leftover ham on biscuits from a ROOM TEMPERATURE zippie full of mix. Only change was that I ran out of buttermilk and subbed in 1/3 of the wet for skim milk.

                      Again, good results.

                      I'm going to continue with the frozen shortening into the processor, so that it doesn't become a mess upon pulsing.

                      Even going to re-use the zippies from batch to batch....Uber-green, that's me!

                      1. re: Monch
                        s
                        suemac May 4, 2011 01:45 PM

                        I have very good success with making the biscuits completely and then freezing. I put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer until they're frozen solid, then take them off and bag them. Then I pop 'em right in the oven frozen; they come out great!

                        1. re: suemac
                          sunshine842 May 4, 2011 02:01 PM

                          in the Southeast you can buy Mary B's frozen biscuits -- same general idea -- premade, and individually frozen. And homannn, are they good.

                          (had the pleasure of sitting with the owners of the company one day on a plane -- I'd already discovered their product, so was happy to see that my money was going to a kind and decent family who make a great product.)

                          1. re: suemac
                            Monch May 5, 2011 11:07 AM

                            This, I will try!

                            Sounds like a superior tactic to saving leftovers over my "toss them in a zippie on the counter and hope they get eaten before they go over" philosophy!

                            1. re: suemac
                              g
                              gingercookie Mar 30, 2012 04:54 PM

                              I see this is an old post. Items on biscuits always get my attention. suemac do you bake them longer or higher temp when baking from frozen? Curious minds want to know. thanks.

                          2. re: Monch
                            ChefJune May 5, 2011 11:17 AM

                            imho, butter doesn't make good biscuits in any guise. Shortening or lard are the best options.

                            1. re: ChefJune
                              s
                              sandylc Feb 16, 2012 07:52 PM

                              I LOVE biscuits made with butter!!! The flavor is great.

                        2. dave_c May 5, 2011 11:14 AM

                          If the food processor works and you have darn tasty biscuits, give the Biscuit Maker's Guild the finger (of approval).

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: dave_c
                            Monch Jun 7, 2011 08:59 AM

                            OK,

                            Hate to dredge my own post, again, but have an additional question.

                            Just took delivery of "Southern Biscuits". Can't wait to try the recipes, but am interested in the "Northern flour vs. Southern flour" issue.

                            I just drove back to Wisconsin, from Memphis. Did I miss my opportunity to "import" the "right" biscuit flour from Tennessee?

                            What is the word on this biscuit flour issue? While I know that there was a hue and cry about White Lily being sold to Smuckers, and losing the historical composition of their flour, is White Lily still the gold standard for biscuits?

                            Thanks,

                            1. re: Monch
                              r
                              rjbh20 Jun 7, 2011 09:48 AM

                              It is, though its supposedly not the same as before the sale to Smuckers. It seems harder to find around here (NY) than it was years ago, so I've taken to using a 50-50 mix of cake flour & all purpose. Works very well.

                              1. re: rjbh20
                                Monch Jun 7, 2011 10:03 AM

                                OK,

                                So any old brand of cake, and A/P, mixed 50/50 for best results....check!

                                Many thanks,

                                1. re: Monch
                                  r
                                  rjbh20 Jun 7, 2011 01:05 PM

                                  Just make sure you use plain cake flour, not self rising

                                  1. re: rjbh20
                                    sunshine842 Jun 7, 2011 02:09 PM

                                    my Georgia-born-and-bred best pal won't use anything BUT self-rising. I can't get it to work in my kitchen...but her biscuits are good.

                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                      Will Owen Jun 9, 2011 04:26 PM

                                      "my Georgia-born-and-bred best pal won't use anything BUT self-rising." Here is an interesting fact: no matter what the brand of flour, they ALL use a lower-gluten wheat in their self-rising versions. This is why many Southern cookbooks will recommend self-rising for biscuits. White Lily SR was the gold standard, and for all I know might be despite Smucker's vandalism - even as ham-handed as I am, I could make perfectly light biscuits with that stuff. With just about anything else I'm better off not rolling and cutting, but simply patting into a long rectangle and slicing.

                                      I am definitely going to try the pre-mix thing, though!

                                    2. re: rjbh20
                                      Monch Jun 9, 2011 11:53 AM

                                      OK, so this was a fantastic suggestion.

                                      Took me awhile to find "cake flour" at my local grocery...it was in a box by Pillsbury. Bought two two-pound boxes and mixed with four pounds of AP flour.

                                      Made biscuits with the same recipe/technique I've been using.

                                      My best biscuits to date! Only thing even slightly different is that the dough was a bit wetter than usual and I left them in a LITTLE longer than normal.

                                      Light, fluffy/flakey...great bottom crusts and some little crunchy peaks on the top.

                                      Turned them into ham/cheese biscuit sandwiches, after trying them with butter only.

                                      Many thanks for the suggestion!

                                      1. re: Monch
                                        dave_c Jun 10, 2011 02:15 PM

                                        Congrats on the results and continuing this thread.

                                        I have two partial boxes of cake flour that I'm wanting to finish off. Biscuits and breakfast biscuit sandwiches sound like a great way to retire those boxes.

                                        1. re: dave_c
                                          Monch Mar 25, 2012 07:03 AM

                                          Again, pandering to my own thread, and apologies for that.

                                          Finally have ordered, and received, White Lily self rising and the results are superior. Since I'm now down to a quick three ingredients, I don't see the need for the pre-making and freezing of the dry ingredients.

                                          I regret that its been almost ten months wasted, for lack of the White Lily.

                                          Now, what to do with eight pounds of 50/50 cake to AP?

                            2. p
                              poovey Feb 16, 2012 10:13 AM

                              I made it my mission to make a good fluffy southern biscuit. Tried EVERYTHING. This is my best result. Forget plain flour. Go with good self-rising flour (White Lily or Southern Biscuit). Start with a well heated oven @ 450.

                              2 cups flour
                              1/4 cup shortening
                              3/4 cup whole buttermilk

                              Blend shortening in flour with pastry blender
                              Add buttermilk and stir just to blend
                              Place dough on lightly floured surface (using PLAIN flour)
                              Knead dough while folding three times
                              Cut biscuits about 1 inch thick
                              Put close together on baking pan
                              Bake until lightly brown on top
                              Brush with melted butter

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: poovey
                                danna Feb 16, 2012 01:42 PM

                                That looks about perfect to me.

                              2. iL Divo Mar 25, 2012 07:52 AM

                                not sure this pertains-but-while watching a tv show when they made their 'famous' biscuits they said their secret was to freeze the butter and when frozen grate it into the flour and mix fast so it stayed frozen going into the oven.

                                1. Will Owen Mar 26, 2012 02:42 PM

                                  I've been working on a Southern dinner party, introducing a gang of our Los Angeles friends of various ethnicities to down-home cookin', so I hauled out all my Southern cookbooks, plain and fancy. Well, here's a menu cookbook by Lee Bailey, a well-known proponent of the more elegant kind of traditional Southern stuff, and two of the biscuit recipes call for chilled butter or shortening, start out in a processor, and stay there through the ball-of-dough stage! So Monch's (now year-old) suggestion isn't really heretical - Lee Bailey is not exactly a food radical. Anyway, I am going to use my elderly Cuisinart for both biscuits and pie crust for this dinner.

                                  Something I'm wondering about is using clarified butter, just to raise the fat content relative to the other components. I may try that, too. Boy, this is just like me: I'm having a dinner for ten, so LET'S EXPERIMENT! Oddly, it's always worked, sometimes better than others …

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                    Monch Mar 26, 2012 02:49 PM

                                    Yeah, Will...I have embarrassed myself continuing to breathe life into this zombie.

                                    One of my "I wish" statements, on my profile, has always been "make a better biscuit"...so I've been pretty rabid about this. Apologies.

                                    Now my "I wish" is down to "better pie crust".....

                                    1. re: Monch
                                      Will Owen Mar 27, 2012 11:22 AM

                                      At less than a year old, it has hardly achieved zombie status; it's not even sick, much less dead! A REAL zombie - and there are plenty lurching around here - is a thread someone started ten or eleven years ago that's been zapped back to life five or six times, just because someone looked it up specifically or by key-word. What is truly embarrassing is to catch one of those, add a nice little essay to it, and then later find that you entered almost exactly the same opinion or anecdote back in 2007. I've got about six of those on my record …

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