Whole-Wheat Pull-Apart Biscuits

By • February 6, 2014 • 5 Comments

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Author Notes: Biscuits require just enough elbow grease -- which isn’t much -- to facilitate a sense of pride and accomplishment when they come out of the oven, which makes them a perfect weeknight baking project. Make biscuits to grandly accompany a bowl of leftover soup or chili, scrambled eggs, a pile of sautéed greens or salad, or to reheat for breakfast the next morning. There are two things to note with these, which are of the pull-apart, pillowy, and moist variety. First, I love the flavor that whole-wheat flour brings to biscuits -- it adds some toasty depth and plays off the salt really well. Second, and more importantly, I had a revelation here with homemade baking powder. I’d read about Edna Lewis’s insistence on making her own (2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda), because commercial versions, she claimed, have a metallic aftertaste. I long assumed that I lacked her delicate palate, but in these biscuits, I finally knew what she was talking about! I've incorporated her homemade baking powder formula into the recipe.

This recipe is reprinted with permission from the "Weeknights" issue of the Feast by Lukas digital quarterly.
LukasVolger

Makes 10

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch sugar
  • A few grinds black pepper (optional)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • Flaky salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Cut a 12 x 12-inch square of parchment and press it into a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet, pie plate, or cake pan.
  2. Sift together the flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, sugar, and black pepper, if using. Add the butter and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work it into the dry ingredients until you have a lumpy, mealy mixture with pea-shaped pieces of butter left in tact. Make a well in the center, pour in the buttermilk, then use a fork to gently but swiftly work the dry ingredients into the wet, until just combined. The batter will be very moist.
  3. Use a measuring cup or floured hands to quickly portion the dough into 10 ragged balls, about 1/4 cup each, then arrange in the parchment-lined pan. There won’t be much space between the biscuits, which is what you want -- this way they rise rather than spread. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of the flaky salt.
  4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes, then using the corners of the parchment, slip onto a cooling rack until ready to serve. Stored in a loosely wrapped container or bag, they’ll keep for a few days; they’re best reheated.
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3 months ago courtney riordan

These biscuits were so good. I received so many compliments - the salt on the top is a great touch. I'll be making these again. Thanks!

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9 months ago Loren

If you don't happen to have cream of tartar and don't mind the taste of baking powder, how much should you use as a substitution? Would it just be 3t?

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9 months ago LukasVolger

Go with 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon soda. (The reverse math is a little tricky!)

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10 months ago Miamor

How much sugar for this recipe?

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9 months ago LukasVolger

Oops--fixed!