For me, the perfect biscuit is flaky, soft and light. Though the ones from a box produce reliable results, I like making biscuits from scratch. These are softer than the box variety. Mark Bittman’s recipe works every time. Besides that, it’s fast! A whir in the food processor and voila – biscuit dough is ready to go into the oven. Because they’re baked at a relatively high temperature, the inside stays moist while the outside develops a slightly crisp texture where the craggly points are. Done in 10 minutes.
These are a bit different than most recipes for biscuits in that yogurt is a key ingredient. I like to use Greek yogurt in particular. It’s thick and it’s tangy flavor is somewhat comparable to buttermilk, a better known biscuit star. The biscuits themselves don’t taste particularly tangy, but they do have a nice rich flavor. I’m sure the butter probably helps in that regard as well. Mark Bittman gives the option of using between 2 and 5 Tbsp of butter, with the note “more is better.” Mark Bittman is a guy after my own heart.
If you don’t have a food processor, it’s certainly possible to mix up these biscuits. It’s just not quite as fast. In order to get the butter to incorporate into the dough, you’ll need to use a pastry blender. You want the butter to be worked in with the flour, salt, baking powder and soda so that the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. The final step is to add in the yogurt. Blend just until the mixture comes together. It will be sort of a mess, but if you can press it together with your fingers, you’ve added enough yogurt.
barely adapted from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything”
2 cups all purpose flour*
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 to 5 Tbsp cold butter
1 cup + 2 Tbsp yogurt
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks and place in the food processor. Pulse into mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add in 1 cup of yogurt and pulse into incorporated. I often have to add up to 2 additional Tbsp of yogurt to get the mixture to form a ball.
Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown. These are truly their best when served quickly.
* Bittman says that cake flour produces an extra soft crumb, but I don’t recommend it, as I’ve found the opposite to be true. I’ve had good results every time with the all purpose flour.
A few ideas for biscuits. Simply served with butter and jam or butter and honey. Biscuits and gravy. Biscuits with fried chicken. BLT biscuits with basil mayo (to make bayo: mix equal parts pesto and mayo).