How to make the perfect biscuit

Kimberly Asbury

These tips come from the 2017 International Grand Champion of Biscuits, Kimberly Asbury, a 2005 baking and pastry arts graduate who is pastry chef and general manager for BuzzCatz Coffee and Sweets in Orange Beach, Alabama. Her Alabama Scotch Egg Biscuits won the Biscuit Baking Competition at the International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Butter

Tip 1 Cold butter

“Cold butter is, for sure, the definite tip,” says Asbury. 

“When you put your biscuits in the oven, the first thing that happens is the butter is going to melt, and if it melts too fast while baking, it seeps out onto the tray instead of staying inside the biscuit and creating steam.”

Asbury says some chefs go so far as to chop the butter and place it in the freezer before mixing their batter.

Butter

Tip 2 Coat in flour

“We put our butter in a small pile of flour, so when we cut it, it keeps it from sticking to our bench knives.”

Butter

Tip 3 Don’t overmix

Overworked dough becomes tough and leads to a hard and crusty biscuit bottom.

“A good Southern biscuit is soft,” Asbury said. “I only mix by hand. The more tender and gentle you are to your biscuit dough, the more tender and gentle your biscuits will be.”

Butter

Tip 4 No substitutes

“Butter, butter, butter,” Asbury says. “No lard, no shortening, no margarine.”

Buttermilk Biscuits

  • All-Purpose Flour, 1 ½ pounds
  • White Sugar, 1 ½ ounces
  • Baking Powder, 1 ½ ounces
  • Salt (iodized), ¼ ounce
  • Unsalted Butter (cold, cubed), 8 ounces
  • Large Eggs, 3 each
  • Buttermilk, 14 ounces
  1. Sift dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl
  2. Cut in butter (by hand). Butter should resemble size of small peas.
  3. Make a well in the flour and pour eggs and buttermilk in.
  4. Using your clean hands, gently mix dough for 10 seconds. (Do not overmix.)
  5. Place dough on generously floured table and fold dough three times until it has come together.
  6. Pat out dough to ¾ inch thickness, cut biscuit with floured cutter and place on parchment-lined tray.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees in a convection oven for approximately 10 minutes.
  8. Brush with melted butter immediately after removing from oven.

Asbury's championship Alabama Scotch Egg Biscuit is made by wrapping a soft-boiled egg in ground sausage, which is then wrapped in the biscuit dough described in this recipe. Both the basic Buttermilk Biscuit and the Alabama Scotch Egg Biscuit are delicious with Asbury's Red Onion Jam.

Red Onion Jam

  • Red Onion, diced, 1 large
  • Butter, 2 tablespoons
  • Kosher Salt, ½ teaspoon
  • Black Pepper, ¼ teaspoon
  • Worcestershire, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Brown Sugar, 1/2 cup
  • Honey, 2 tablespoons
  • Cider Vinegar, 1/2 cup
  • Soy Sauce, ½  teaspoon
  1. Caramelize the onions with the butter, salt and pepper.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Cook until reduced by half.
  4. Blend until smooth using an immersion blender.
  5. Keep refrigerated.