POV: You just received a text in the group chat, and it reads: [Insert name], can you please make biscuits for our Friendsgiving feast?
Before you freak out and start anticipating everything that can go wrong as you embark on a baking endeavor for the (starts finger-counting) fifth time in your life, we’re here to say you really have nothing to worry about. Especially if you follow this gluten-free herb parmesan biscuits recipe from the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp with Elise Smith, a pastry chef and recipe developer.
In the episode, Smith shares tips for making the flakiest and cheesiest biscuits everyone will love. And trust, it’s so much easier than you might think. In fact, making these biscuits is almost as therapeutic as eating them, and the result will be a labor of love. (And apologies in advance for all the times your friends will be requesting the recipe once they dig into these.)
The secret to making the perfect biscuits, according to a pastry chef
According to Smith, the secret to mastering biscuits comes down to how you roll them out. She recommends a variation of a book-fold method, which entails folding the dough like a book to evenly distribute the butter and form a flakier pastry. This technique is commonly used when working with laminated doughs, like danishes, where the butter is placed in the center of the dough and the edges are folded inward to meet at the center, then folded again at the center line (like closing a thick book).
Another expert tip Smith shares for making flaky biscuits is using cold—like really cold, but not frozen—cubed butter, which then gets worked into the dough minimally so that the tiny bits of butter stay intact before the biscuits go into the oven. According to Smith, cold butter is one of the key differences between brick-hard biscuits and light, fluffy ones. That’s because the cold butter release steam as they melt when cooked. If the butter is softened too much, it’ll get too overworked into the dough and result in dense biscuits.
Aside from creating fluffy, delicious biscuits, butter also has a few health perks. Seriously: Contrary to popular belief, butter doesn’t deserve the bad wrap it often gets. But like everything in life, consuming this ingredient in moderation is key. “High-quality butter—preferably organic, grass-fed—is incredibly nutrient-dense, providing vitamins A, D, and E. Vitamin A is essential to a healthy cardiovascular system,” Elyse Kopecky, a marathoner and the co-author of the breakfast-centric cookbook, Rise and Run, previously told Well+Good.
To learn more expert tips on how to make the perfect biscuits, check out the full episode.
Gluten-free herb parmesan biscuits recipe
Yields 9 biscuits
4 cups gluten-free flour
1/4 cup fine-grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tsp salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1 1/4 cup buttermilk, reserve a small amount for laminating the biscuits
A few sprigs of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (optional)
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, parmesan, baking powder, and salt together. Whisk until thoroughly combined and create a small well in the center.
2. Add the cold butter and gently toss to coat. Using your hands, break down the butter until they’re the size of a pea. When the dough can hold its shape when pressed together, you’re ready for the next step.
3. Add buttermilk and gently mix together with a spatula.
4. Dust a flat surface with flour and add the dough. Bring the dough together to form a large mound. Gently press the dough into a rectangle about one inch tall using your hands.
5. Next, fold the dough into threes using a bench scraper, and close it like a book. Then, using the bench scraper, cut the dough in the center and stack the two pieces on top of each other. Press down on the stack to form a rectangle once again. Repeat the process two more times.
6. Once complete, roll the dough flat using a rolling pin and square off the edges using the bench scraper. Then, cut the dough into nine equal pieces.
7. Transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let the dough chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.
8. Once the biscuits have chilled, use a pastry brush dipped in buttermilk to lightly cover the surface. Then, add a decorative herb in the center.
9. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
In the mood to bake some more? Next on the menu is this gluten-free lemon loaf: