everytime I try to make them from scratch they always turn out heavy and tough...what am I doing wrong?!!? Overmixing?
Yes. Mine kept turning out like hockey pucks. Tough, heavy, too thin to even slice open. I was kneading them too much; in my opinion kneading the dough is a misapplied term when it comes to making biscuits. I was rolling them out instead of patting and rolling it too thin. Biscuit dough has to be handled as little as possible; I was used to making bread which gets knocked around when kneading, exactly what you don't want to do with biscuits.
Here is the basic recipe I use:
Heat oven to 450°
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk
Mix the dry ingredients. Mash the shortening into the flour with a fork, then rub the flour mixture between your hands to evenly distribute the shortening. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the milk. Stir with fork gently until the flour is all mixed in, then stop! Take a big handful of flour and spread on the board. Take a rubber spatula and gently spoon out the dough right into the middle of the flour. Still using the spatula scoop under the dough and gently turn and pat it on itself; do this 5 or 6 times until the wet dough is covered with flour and you can pat it out with floured hands. Pat it gently and leave the dough thick, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut out with a cutter dipped in flour, cut straight down and don't twist the cutter. Put the biscuit on a greased pan. Repeat. Gather up remaining dough and pat out again. Last one will have to be hand shaped. Brush with melted butter or shortening and put in oven. Bake 12 - 16 mins. or until tops are golden brown. This makes about 10 biscuits depending on their size.
Mine always take 16 mins. in a small electric oven. This has been the best recipe for me so I don't mess with it, I know it works. You could add a little bit of sugar to it if you want it sweeter; I don't like sweet biscuits. If I did I'd make scones. Edey
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