Biscuit, Mixing Biscuit Dough
Keep the following in mind while mixing for biscuits:
To evenly distribute the leavening, combine the flour, leavening and
salt in a mixing bowl and mix well.
Realize that some recipes also direct you to mix in sugar with the
flour, leavening and salt.
Be sure the fat is cold. Add the fat to the flour mixture in heaping
tablespoon-sized pieces, then, using a pastry blender, two knives or
your fingertips cut the fat into increasingly smaller pieces. As this
is done, be sure the smaller pieces are tossed with the flour
mixture, coating and separating the pieces of fat.
Continue until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (about 1/8") for
soft, fluffy biscuits.
For flaky biscuits or scones and shortcakes with a layered structure
similar to croissants and a slight crunch at the edges, leave some of
the fat pieces as large as small peas (about 1/4").
Add the liquid all at once and stir with a fork just until dry
ingredients are evenly moistened and dough comes together. DO NOT
OVERMIX. Dough will not be completely smooth.
Gather dough into a ball and knead on lightly floured surface quickly
and gently, about 6 to 8 times, just until no longer sticky. The
kneading is meant only to flatten the pieces of fat into flakes, not
to blend fat completely with the flour. Kneading also activates the
gluten in the flour just enough to give the biscuits enough strength
to rise and expand, but not enough to make them firmer and chewy like
yeast bread. Using too much flour and overworking the dough makes