2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar (optional)
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
Biscuit Recipe: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (use pastry blender, two knives, or fingertips). Add the milk and slightly beaten egg and stir until just combined. (The texture should be sticky, moist and lumpy.)
Place mixture on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough gently until it comes together and is a smooth dough.
Roll out dough to about a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thickness. Cut out biscuits with a lightly floured round cookie cutter. Place on prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with the beaten egg and milk mixture and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the biscuit comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter.
Makes about 10 - 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) biscuits.
In North America a "biscuit" is a small quick bread that is made with flour, butter (or lard or shortening), baking powder (soda), milk (buttermilk), eggs, and sometimes a small amount of granulated white sugar. A perfect biscuit, in my mind, should have a golden brown crusty top and bottom and when you split it in half it should be soft and flaky and moist enough to absorb a pat of butter, which is absolutely necessary.
The American biscuit is very similar to the British scone. The difference is that while scones are often served split in half and filled with jam and cream, biscuits are usually served alongside a meal. Both biscuits and scones are best served warm from the oven with butter. Biscuits are also excellent for making another American favorite, the Strawberry Shortcake.
To make a good biscuit, the correct mixing of the ingredients is crucial. Although you could use an electric mixer I prefer to mix the dough by hand using either a pastry blender, two knives or just my fingertips. Mixing by hand helps to prevent over mixing of the dough. To begin, the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder/baking soda, and salt) are whisked or sifted together in a large bowl. Next the butter is cut into the flour until it looks like coarse crumbs. It is important that the butter be cold so when it is worked into the flour mixture it becomes small, flour- coated crumbs, not a smooth dough. This method is similar to how a pie dough is made and gives the biscuit a wonderful delicate and flaky texture. The wet ingredients are then added to the flour mixture. Only mix the dough until it comes together. I cannot stress enough that this dough should not be overworked and that a light hand is needed. If you end up with a hard and doughy biscuit, you will know to mix the dough less the next time. When the dough is mixed, gather it up in your hands and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times to make it a cohesive mass and then roll to 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thickness. Use a lightly floured cookie cutter and cut into rounds. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Using an egg wash gives the biscuits a nice appearance and helps with browning.
Biscuits need to be baked in a hot oven so the dough sets quickly thereby producing a light biscuit with a golden brown top and bottom with white sides. They are done when they are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the scone comes out clean. The texture of the interior should be light and soft, and white in color. Cool on a wire rack. If you want crusty biscuits, cool them uncovered. If a softer crust is desired, then wrap the hot biscuits in a clean dish towel.