Chef John's Butter Puff Biscuit Dough


This biscuit dough is similar to puff pastry but uses a much less fussy procedure. It works great for fruit tarts, ham and cheese turnovers, and chocolate croissants — and of course, plain biscuits served with butter and jam.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins


  • 2 cups self-rising flour

  • ¾ cup cold water, or as needed

  • 7 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter


  1. Place self-rising flour and cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using dough hook attachment, knead to form a soft, slightly elastic but not too sticky dough, about 2 minutes. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

  2. Place chilled dough on a floured surface and roll out to a 1/2-inch thick rectangle using just enough flour to keep it from sticking. Grate about 4 tablespoons of frozen butter onto the surface of the dough to within about 1/2 inch of the edge. Lightly flour a sheet of plastic wrap. Spread the plastic wrap, floured side down, onto the butter and gently press the butter into the dough. Carefully remove the plastic wrap.

  3. Fold 1/3 of the dough over the middle third; then fold the other 1/3 over the middle into a tri-fold with 2 layers of butter. Roll dough again into a rectangle, brush off excess flour, and create another tri-fold. Roll again to about a 1-inch thickness. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

  4. Place chilled dough on a floured surface, roll into a rectangle, and make another tri-fold. Roll back out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Grate about 3 tablespoons butter onto the surface of the dough. Cover with floured plastic wrap and press butter into dough. Remove plastic wrap. Give dough another tri-fold and press layers together. Roll out dough and fold in half. Roll out again and fold in half. Roll out dough one more time.

  5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.

Cook's Notes:

You can make your own self-rising flour by sifting together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon fine salt.

After you have grated the frozen stick of butter for the first layer, place it back into the freezer for the second grating.

I generally bake this dough at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Time will depend on what it's being used for.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

266 Calories
14g Fat
31g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 266
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 36mg 12%
Sodium 532mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 4g
Calcium 146mg 11%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 56mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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