A simple biscuit is such a great addition to any breakfast or dinner. Most biscuits I come across are made with white flour, either an all purpose flour or a cake flour (or other low-protein flour) in the hopes of producing the most tender biscuit. While I would never turn down a perfectly made biscuit, it is nice to know that you can still make delicious biscuits using whole grain flour without sacrificing taste or texture.
I used white whole wheat flour for these biscuits. It is much closer to all purpose flour than regular whole wheat flour, which tends to produce heavy and somewhat crumbly biscuits. I used plenty of butter and buttermilk, and came out with a biscuit that had a great buttery flavor and lots of flaky layers. It was still a little bit heartier than a plain biscuit might be, but the fact that it is made up of whole grains makes up for it.
The best way to make biscuits is to rub in the butter by hand, using your fingertips. This gives you lots of control over the size of the chunks of butter. Aim to have most of them around the size of large peas. Larger butter pieces (not huge, of course, but quite a bit larger than “wet sand”) result in a flakier biscuit. After you stir in the buttermilk, knead the dough on a floured surface a few times to allow some gluten to develop. This helps the biscuit to rise up nicely. And finally, don’t forget to add a bit of sugar into the mix. All whole wheat flour, including white whole wheat, can have a very slightly bitter taste that makes the biscuits taste a little bit too healthy, even with all that butter. Brush the biscuits with a little milk or melted butter before baking to give them a nice golden brown color.
White Whole Wheat Biscuits
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking power
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into 6-8 pieces
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk
melted butter, for brushing
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add in butter chunks and toss to coat. Using your fingers, rub butter into flour mixture, breaking the butter up into chunks the size of peas. Add in 3/4 cup buttermilk and stir until a slightly sticky dough forms. If dough is dry, add additional tablespoon or two of buttermilk.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Press into a round about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit(round) cutter, cut biscuits and transfer to baking sheet. You should get 10-12 biscuits, depending on the size of your cutter. Brush tops with a little melted butter before baking.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.
Cool on a wire rack and serve while still hot.
Makes 10-12 biscuits.