A few years ago in an attempt to perfect my own biscuit recipe, I started experimenting with different baking pans. Starting with a simple baking sheet, I worked through metal and glass baking dishes, a pie pan, and a cake pan before finally landing on a likely candidate: my favorite cast iron skillet. A sturdy cast iron skillet has become my favorite biscuit pan for three reasons.
1. Cast iron holds onto heat.
Cast iron is such a great conductor of heat — not in comparison to aluminum or an all-clad pan — but once a cast iron pan gets hot, it stays hot. This mean faster-baking biscuits and biscuits that can be served warm in the skillet long after they are done baking.
Tip: Remove the biscuits from the skillet immediately after baking to a clean kitchen towel to prevent burnt bottoms. Then move the biscuits in the towel back to the skillet to keep warm.
2. The biscuits rise better.
Many Southern biscuit recipes tell you that biscuits should touch while they bake. The reasoning is that the biscuits actually pull up on each other as they rise, creating a taller, fluffier biscuit. Biscuits in a skillet are in even tighter quarters and touching the side of the skillet, so they have nowhere to go but up.
Tip: Gently press a thumb into the middle of each biscuit before baking to make a more even-rising biscuit.
3. It gives the biscuits an incredible crust and tender sides.
Skillet biscuits get crisped by the hot bottom of a cast iron pan in a way that baking pans just cannot beat. While all those biscuits are snuggled up against each other, they don't have room to get crusty around their edges, so they bake up more tender than their baking sheet counterparts.
Tip: Make sure to butter the bottom and sides of the skillet before baking.
What's your favorite way to make biscuits? Do you use a cast iron skillet?