Biscuits Should Be Frozen Before Baking For The Most Tender Results

If you're from the American South, you know about the simple pleasures of a well-made buttermilk biscuit. Also a diner and brunch mainstay, American-style biscuits are flaky instead of crumbly and are best just out of the oven while they're still warm. They haven't always been fluffy and tender – the biscuits were meant to feed soldiers and workers who needed portable and filling foods. Called beaten biscuits, their rise didn't come from yeast or baking powder; instead, the dough was beaten and folded – sometimes for over an hour – until it came together in smooth, dense discs. With the advent of baking powder, baking soda, and abundant flour, biscuits became a Southern staple where it was paired with gravy, or with syrup and butter for a sweet treat via Washington Post.

Biscuits, like other pastries such as croissants or pie crust, use butter to provide structure and moisture, along with milk or buttermilk. So if you're familiar with shortcrust pastry or laminated dough, you know how important butter is for the end result.

Butter plays an important role in achieving tender biscuits

Depending on what you want to achieve – flaky, crisp, or tender – butter temperature matters. If you're looking for flaky, tender biscuits, then your butter should start cold and stay cold before baking. By handling the butter and dough as little as possible, preferably bringing it together in a food processor or pastry cutter instead of with your hands citation, you ensure the butter stays in larger chunks and doesn't melt into the flour. Pockets of butter in the dough prevent the layers from sticking together, which then steam in the oven, giving you a tender biscuit. If the butter is too soft or is too incorporated, your biscuits won't be tender, and your pie crust won't be perfectly flaky

It's because of the butter that chef Brooke Williamson recommends freezing your biscuits before baking, per Food & Wine. Put your formed biscuits in the freezer and let them get firm but not frozen, no more than 15 to 20 minutes. This will ensure the butter stays where it's meant to – inside your biscuit instead of melting out and creating a dense biscuit. The results are a biscuit that's tender on the inside with a delicate crust on the outside.