4 Common Biscuit Problems and How to Solve Them

Got biscuit issues? Worry not — we have the answers. 

There's nothing better than a flaky, buttery, freshly baked biscuit on a lazy Sunday morning. But all too often, we struggle to replicate the perfect diner-style biscuit in our home kitchens and instead end up with a dry, dense, or crumbly baked good that barely passes the muster. To the rescue: We dug into the most common problems people experience when baking biscuits and the strategies that will help you produce a fluffy, golden-brown breakfast treat every time.

If your biscuits are too dry…

Dry biscuits that stick to the roof of your mouth make for an unpleasant eating experience that will have you gulping your coffee or OJ just to get through it — and they're often the result of having spent too long in the oven. One common reason this happens is that biscuit recipes will sometimes direct you to bake for a certain number of minutes, or until golden. However, the golden-brown image of restaurant biscuits that you have in your head is likely the product of brushing the tops with melted butter, which adds decadent flavor and provides a mouthwatering, golden sheen not achieved from baking alone. Our advice: Start with the lowest time suggestion in your recipe. Then, if your biscuits are starting to look brown, take them out and brush them with butter before serving. Or if your favorite recipe involves rolling out and folding or layering the dough (like this one), try adding a thin layer of softened cream cheese between the layers of dough. It will keep every bite light and moist.

If your biscuits are falling apart…

All you want to do is slather some butter and jelly on your steaming biscuit…but one sweep of the knife, and half your biscuit is crumbled in your lap. If this sounds familiar, you could be adding too much flour to your dough without knowing it, disrupting the ratio of dry to wet ingredients. When you dip your measuring cup into your bag of flour and use it as a scoop, you often wind up with a too-tightly packed cup of flour, i.e. more flour than you need. To avoid this, set your measuring cup on the counter and use a spoon to remove the flour from the bag and tip it into the cup; then use something with a flat edge, like a knife, to level it off before adding it to your mixing bowl. This will ensure you've added the correct amount to your dough.

Another reason you may end up with excessive flour in your dough stems from picking up too much via your work surface. Biscuit dough is sticky, so it can be tempting to cover your work surface and the top of your dough with an extra half a cup of flour to keep it from clinging to the counter. Instead, lightly flour your surface and then rub your tools, such as your rolling pin or your hands, with flour before using them. This biscuit recipe even instructs you to dip your biscuit cutter in flour before pressing it through your dough and then brush off any excess flour before baking. (This $12 set of biscuit cutters from Amazon comes in five different sizes.) Coating your tools with flour instead of putting it directly on the dough will ensure that the proper amount ends up in your biscuits, keeping them flaky but not crumbly.

JP's Big Daddy Biscuits

If your biscuits are too tough…

Biscuits get their light, fluffy, mouthwatering texture from the consistency of the dough and the air pockets that are created when the butter melts during baking. Biscuit dough is moist and sticky, so much so that it may seem too wet after you've added all your flour. If you do think this about your dough, fight the urge to add more dry ingredients — dough that isn't wet enough will bake into a hard, dry biscuit. Likewise, the stickiness makes it tempting to over-knead biscuit dough, which will break down the butter into smaller pieces, shrinking the air pockets they will create during baking. The result: Tough, dense biscuits. Over-handling the dough can additionally over-develop the gluten protein in the flour, yielding a tough and chewy bite. As a general rule, handle the mixed dough as little as you can in order to roll, layer, or shape it.

If your biscuits are floury and grainy…

While over-handling your biscuit dough can make your baked goods turn out like hockey pucks, under-mixing it while you're still adding all of your ingredients can result in floury or grainy biscuits. The reason: The butter has not been incorporated evenly, leaving pockets of your cooked biscuits that are dry, dense, and filled with flour. But even if you properly mix your biscuits, if your butter pieces are too large or inconsistently sized they may not get distributed evenly throughout the dough. One trick to help you avoid this: Freeze your butter, then grate it on the large holes of a box grater (like this $13 Amazon best-seller) and mix it into your dough — this would be in place of the step in the process (seen in step two of this recipe) that directs you to cut the butter into your mixture. It will speed up the process a bit, and give every single one of your biscuits consistent flavor and texture.

Ready to wow your loved ones with flaky, buttery biscuits? Start baking today!

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