Wild Maine Blueberry Biscuits
Recipe by Lauryn Smith for Wyman’s
Biscuits are an appropriate food any time of day – they make as much sense served alongside eggs and potatoes as they do served next to a bowl of steaming chowder or a plate of fried chicken. When I first started baking, creating a tall, flaky biscuit seemed impossible. I got pretty good at creating lumps of decent breakfast and dinner breads, but they weren’t the biscuits I had in my head. It’s not rocket science, luckily here are the number one and number two secrets to making tall biscuits, 1) follow the rules, and 2) use cold butter.
With that in mind, let’s make some tall, flaky biscuits, but make them extra special and add some beauty and health with Wild Maine Blueberries folded into every layer. Note how easy this recipe is to cut in half. The recipe is going to yield about 12 biscuits, so if you don’t want leftovers, it’s an easy adjustment to make.
- Cheese grater or food processor with grating/shredding disc
- 3” Biscuit cutter (a Ball jar can be used in a pinch)
- Rolling pin
- 4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 cups (cold!) buttermilk
- 1 cup (cold!) salted* butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup Wyman’s Wild Maine Blueberries, divided into 3 piles on paper towels
- Additional butter (room temperature), around ⅛ cup (¼ stick)
- Flour for dusting your surfaces
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. For starters, you are going to want to keep your mixer stored. You are going to get the tallest/flakiest biscuits from hand mixing them. Take your dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and mix in a large bowl.
Now, pull that cold butter out of your fridge. You’ve got two choices here – you can grate it like I’m suggesting, (I’ve seen this improve the flakiness and height of your biscuits by up to 25%), or you can cut your cold butter into very small cubes. Whether you have manually grated your butter, run it through your shredding disc on your food processor, or cut it into small cubes, the next step is the same – put the butter back in your fridge for about 10 minutes. Keeping your butter and milk cold are important, you don’t want the butter to get too binded up with the flour. Keeping the butter cold, is going to allow the melting butter to create steam in the oven, which is what creates all the very desirable layers and flakes.
After the butter is cold again, you want to add it to your bowl of dry ingredients. With your hands or a wooden spoon, you want to combine the butter and the flour. They key here, is you want the butter broken up as much as possible, but you want to keep from overworking it. Once the butter is evenly distributed through the dry ingredients, pour the buttermilk evenly over the mixture, in two batches. With a wooden spoon, mix the buttermilk in (again, this should be done with half the buttermilk, mix loosely, and then with the other half). Again, you want to work the mixture as little as possible.
You can throw your bowl into the fridge if you fear that your mixture has become too warm. Otherwise, once the buttermilk, butter, and dry ingredients are combined, it’s time to turn them out onto a floured surface. With your hands, you are going to want to flatten the mass of dough, fold it over on itself, flatten it and fold it over on itself. Now, if you look at the dough, you can actually see the folds you’ve made for each step.
It’s time to add Wild Maine Blueberries, which have been sitting out on a paper towel to take some excess moisture out of them. The dough will be folded over 3 times, combined with the kneading you’ve just done, this will result in many layers of blueberries and a perfect flakiness.
Bring out your rolling pin for the final stages of flattening. Your dough should resemble a square or rectangle. First tamp down the dough with your rolling pin to get it somewhat flat, and then roll away from you, getting the dough between 1 and 1.5 inches thick, and a rectangular shape. Once you have a uniform height, sprinkle 1/3 of the blueberries on half of the dough, and fold it over on itself. Blueberries are going to roll out, this is normal, and you are going to lose some blueberries in this process.
Now, rotate the dough a quarter turn, so that the crease where you folded the dough is now to either side of you. Roll the dough away from you, again forming a rectangle until you get the dough a uniform height – between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches thick. Again, sprinkle ⅓ of the berries on half of the rectangle, and fold it over on itself. You are ready for your final fold. Rotate the dough a quarter turn, so that the crease where you folded the dough is now to either side of you. Roll the dough away from you, again forming a rectangle until you get the dough a uniform height – between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches thick. Again, sprinkle ⅓ of the berries on half of the rectangle, and fold it over on itself. You are going to see all sorts of blue colors leaking through now! You are going to roll your dough out, again to between 1 1/4 inch and 1 1/2 inches.
Put parchment paper down or a baking mat on a cookie sheet, using a 3” cookie or biscuit cutter (or a glass with a 3 inch opening – not optimal, since you’ll inevitably have to squeeze some of the biscuits out, but will do in a pinch), cut as many biscuits as you can from your rectangle. I try to get 10 or 11. With your remaining dough, you can form a hand biscuit, or do a few small drop biscuits. The Wild Blueberries make it hard to re-roll the dough, so any shape that works for you is still going to be delicious.
These babies aren’t quite ready to go in the oven! Throw them in your freezer or fridge just to cool them down one more time – for about 10-15 minutes. Once chilled, they are almost ready in the oven. Here, spread room temperature butter, and then pop them in the oven. Set your timer for 15 minutes, and then check on them. You want them to be golden brown, and there is a pretty nice window here, so depending on your oven temps, they may need up to 20 minutes.
When you read this, it may sound like a lot, but the results are worth it. The biscuits are show stoppers, but unlike many beautiful breads, these only take a few kitchen staples and an hour of time to make.