Source Dana Cowin’s Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen.
Update November 2021: I recently upped the amount of salt here. It had previously been 1 teaspoon (6 grams). I think these biscuits need the updated amount (reflected in the ingredient list below), but if you’ve made these in the past and have been satisfied with the result, you can stick to the 1 teaspoon.
- 3 cups (384 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface
- 3 tablespoons (44 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon (13 g) baking powder
- 1.5 teaspoon sea salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt (10 g), see notes above
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- 12 tablespoons (170 g) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for serving
- 1¼ cups (330 g) cold buttermilk
- pure maple syrup, for rubbing the biscuits
- nice sea salt or coarse freshly ground black pepper for sprinkling
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Using your fingers, work in the butter just until the mixture turns into coarse crumbs with some pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the buttermilk just until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.
- Turn the shaggy dough out onto a very lightly floured work surface and pat into a ½-inch thick rectangle. Fold it in half once so that it’s 1-inch thick. Do this three more times to create layers in the dough. Then roll the dough out to about a 1-inch thick rectangle (or large enough so that a 3-inch biscuit cutter can stamp out 6 biscuits) using a lightly floured rolling pin: Place the pin in the middle of the dough and roll it forward, then put the pin back in the middle of the dough and roll it backward.
- Using a lightly floured 3-inch round cutter, cut out the biscuits (in one motion — do not twist the cutter), as close together as possible, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet leaving 2 inches between them. Gently pat the dough scraps together (do not overwork the dough), reroll and cut out more biscuits. (Note: You could just cut the rectangle into 8 squares, which will leave you with no scraps to reroll.)
- If you have time, put the baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill the biscuits for at least an hour before baking — they will be flakier. (Skip this step if you don’t have time.)
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Use the back of a spoon to rub the biscuits lightly with maple syrup and sprinkle with salt or pepper to taste.
- Place the biscuits in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 400ºF. Bake the biscuits until they’re risen and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. I get the best results baking these on the top rack of my oven, but every oven is different, so play around with what works best with your oven. Serve warm, with butter.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes