Senior associate food editor Alison Roman dreams of biscuits. Specifically the ones at Pies-N-Thighs. Biscuits that, when buttered up and sandwiching tender buttermilk fried chicken, “may be the perfect food.” But the secret to these magic biscuits is not in the sweet slathering of honey butter, not in the dash of hot sauce, nor even in the buttermilk chicken itself. The trick is in the biscuits, and it’ll take just a few adjustments to elevate your baking game for biscuits that are tender, fluffy, and—dare we say—angelic.
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It’s all in the timing. Mix in the buttermilk gently but thoroughly, which will help the dough come together more easily when kneading. But don’t over-knead the dough, or the butter will start to melt—and there go your fluffy air pockets! Finally, form the biscuits quickly to keep the gluten from activating. Once you’ve mastered the art of the biscuit, then the chicken, or the egg and cheese, the gravy, the jam—anything your heart desires!—is just a finishing touch.
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To make ahead, freeze the cut-out biscuits in plastic bags. Bake frozen, increasing cooking time to 45–55 minutes.
Makes 8 servings
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups chilled buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten to blend
SEE MORE: Basic Biscuit Mix
Preheat oven to 375°. Pulse baking powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, and 5½ cups flour in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the texture of coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Mix in buttermilk with a fork, then gently knead just until a shaggy dough comes together.
Pat out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1¼” thick. Cut out biscuits with a 3” biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps once.
Place biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush tops with egg. Bake until golden brown, 30–35 minutes.