Tips & Techniques

Watch Samin Nosrat Make Rule-Breaking, Supremely-Flaky Biscuits

April 23, 2017

Every cook has their own favorite biscuit—slightly sweet or fully savory, tender or flaky, butter or lard or both, rolled or kneaded, the variations as vast as they are furiously defended. But perhaps one things is consistent: the obsession—the necessity!—with keeping the dough cold.

Why? It’s the same reason pie dough is made with cold butter, chilled, rolled and shaped, and chilled again: Cold fat creates steam when it hits the hot oven, and that steam is responsible for the flaky layers beloved in pie, croissants, and biscuits. And keeping it cold usually means keeping your hot little hands off the dough as much as possible; as an added bonus, handling the dough this way prevents you from over-developing the gluten in the flour, which equals tenderness. So, no touching. That’s what I thought, and that’s what Samin Nosrat, author of cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, thought too—until she saw a friend make biscuits:

“He completely incorporated half of the butter into the dough to make it tender, and then rolled and folded the finished dough a few times to create flaky layers. It was so counterintuitive, in fact, that if the moistest, flakiest biscuit I’d ever seen weren’t sitting right in front of me, I wouldn’t have believed him.”

Me either! Which is why Samin shows us exactly what she means in the video below:

Photo by James Ransom

All April, Kitchen Confidence Camp takes us through the four essential elements of cooking, inspired by chef and author Samin Nosrat's cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Follow along here.

21 Comments

Sigita May 12, 2017
Really enjoyed her refreshing style and I cannot wait to try the biscuits. No fancy flour needed. yeah.
 
Lissa J. May 3, 2017
I would love to know about the bowl she uses. It's a perfect shape. Thanks
 
Sheila D. April 27, 2017
Do you sell the shallow mixing bowl she uses. I'd definitely make more if I had that pretty piece in my kitchen! :)
 
Sheila D. April 27, 2017
And I'm fairly new to commenting on Food52 but can you not edit/delete comments or am I missing that function? >.<
 
Simon K. January 17, 2018
I reckon they might be these ones https://food52.com/shop/products/3844-milk-glass-shallow-bowls-set-of-4
 
vrinda April 24, 2017
Love Samin....she's SO "normal " !<br /><br /><br /><br />
 
Dana M. April 24, 2017
My grandma taught me that twisting the biscuit cutter keeps the biscuits from rising fully. Is this true?
 
ellemmdee May 3, 2017
It is true. Twisting prevents the layers from expanding. Straight up and down is best.
 
Hester C. April 24, 2017
Please keep Samin around, she has such a humble yet informative style of presentation - so rare for someone as experienced as her!
 
Fresh T. April 24, 2017
I'm loving this series. Maybe Food 52 can have a permanent column/video series with Samin?! Pretty please with sugar on top.
 
frecklywench April 23, 2017
AH this video is so endearing! (and also very informative, of course.)
 
Antonine April 23, 2017
This is how my grandma taught me to make both biscuits and pie crust - half really fine and half chunky. Perfection!
 
Brenda M. April 23, 2017
Click on the word biscuit in the first sentence. It takes you to the recipe.
 
KR April 23, 2017
Thx! Didn't notice it.
 
KR April 23, 2017
(actually did notice it, but in that context, thought it would direct me to another favorite biscuit recipe)...
 
Maureen April 23, 2017
I can't find the recipe either!
 
Kristen M. April 23, 2017
I'm looking into the bitly link issue, but luckily the recipe is also linked above in the article—here you go! https://food52.com/recipes/69600-light-and-flaky-buttermilk-biscuits
 
Maureen April 23, 2017
Thank you, Kristen.
 
KR April 23, 2017
When I make scones/biscuits, I usually pat the dough out, and fold it over in thirds, pat it down again a bit & then cut them out...nice & flakey that way!!<br />Q: Where is the recipe for Samin's biscuits? The bitly link told me "page not found".... :' p And I have a hankering for biscuits now!
 
Kristen M. April 23, 2017
Hi KR, I'm looking into the bitly link issue, but luckily the recipe is also linked above in the article—here you go! https://food52.com/recipes/69600-light-and-flaky-buttermilk-biscuits
 
KR April 23, 2017
Thx so much!! Can never have too many biscuit recipes!!