Here are 5 tips to help get tall, flaky biscuits:
In biscuits and other pastries where butter is incorporated into the flour before baking, e.g. croissants, layers=flakiness and flakiness=light and airy pastries. So that is definitely what we want.
- Use COLD ingredients. Typically in baking, room temperature ingredients are called for, but in this case we want the ingredients we use i.e. the butter, to be cold so that it creates steam as it melts in the hot oven which causes an expansion between the layers of dough. This creates pockets of air, yielding a flaky pastry.
- Do not over handle the dough! Kneading the dough until it comes together and no visible flour remains is what we want. A little sprinkle of flour while rolling and cutting, so the dough is not too sticky, is fine. We work the dough to strengthen the gluten in the flour enough to allow the biscuits to rise properly but not enough to make them chewy like yeast bread. Using too much flour and overworking the dough will cause a hard biscuit.
- When cutting out the dough, do not twist off the ends. Just cut straight down. It’s ok to dip the cutter in a little flour between cuts. Twisting as you cut may seal the layers together and prevent them from rising high.
- When brushing on an egg wash prior to baking your biscuits, try to keep the egg wash on the surface of the dough. Allowing the egg wash to drip down the sides can also fuse the layers together and prevent proper rising.
- Use a very hot oven! We preheat the oven to 450°F. This helps the biscuits bake and rise quickly.