Layers in Homemade Biscuits
I have noticed a new thing in recent years - people are working to put layers into their homemade biscuits! This is a new thing to me; my grandmother certainly never tried to laminate her biscuit dough! Do we come to this via TV commercials for a certain tube-popping product? Or did my family just not know how to make biscuits correctly? I don't see any layering going on in older cookbooks (actually, I don't know if I've ever seen it in newer ones, either) - is this an internet recipe phenom? The idea of laminating biscuits a bit sounds very good - I just wonder where/when it came from - ? Do you all out there laminate your biscuits, or better yet, expect them to come apart in layers?
never had layers in my family's southern biscuits. only layers i've seen are in the pop-up pillsbury ones.
I expect biscuits (or tea biscuits as we call them) to be tender and slightly crumbly, not layered.
It may be both old and new.
Prior to baking powder, there were 'beaten biscuits' where the dough was folded, beaten flat, and folded again and again. And some biscuit instructions call for working the fat in by pressing it into little disks, which might produce some flakiness. But the first place I saw instructions to fold and roll the biscuit dough multiple times was in Ruhlman's Ratios book. He lets the dough rest, to relax some the gluten that develops with this working.
I've also come across the fold and roll idea in some olive oil biscuit recipes. One time when I made those I sprinkled grated cheese between layers, which added a nice flavor. I learned that it is best to cut off any folded edges, because they limit the rise.
There's a trade off between the interesting texture of these layers, and the tenderness of lightly worked biscuits.
If you look at Best Recipe (Cooks Illustrated), there are two versions of biscuits, one laminated, one not. Maybe the laminated one is from those pop and fresh cannisters with biscuits that have layers? I like both versions, btw. The laminated one when we're just eating biscuits, the other when we're putting gravy over them (in general but I made the latter for just eating, too).