Recipe Review

Does Samin Nosrat’s Wild Technique Make for the Best Biscuits Ever?

published Sep 28, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell | Design: The Kitchn

One of the many things we love about Samin Nosrat is her keen eye for recipes that work — even if they break convention. Her Light and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit recipe caught my eye for that exact reason: Instead of the tender hands most biscuit recipes call for, Samin’s recipe has you beat the dough with a stand mixer, promising it will result in light and flaky biscuits.

Years of traditional biscuit mixing made me super skeptical of this more labor-intensive technique, but the promise of tall, flaky biscuits tempted me to try it. Here’s what I learned from Samin’s rule-bending biscuit recipe and how it compares to easier, more traditional recipes.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell | Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Samin Nosrat’s Light and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Not only does Samin’s recipe bend the rules when it comes to technique, but it also has an interesting mix of ingredients, combining the beloved flavor of buttermilk biscuits with the tenderness of a cream biscuit. It calls for all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt (as most biscuits do) as well as butter, but uses both cream and buttermilk for moisture.

The butter is cubed and then chilled in the freezer (along with the buttermilk) before mixing. What happens next is wild: You’ll break out your stand mixer and paddle attachment (a food processor can also be used) and beat half the butter into the dry ingredients until incorporated. Then you’ll add the remaining butter and mix just until pea-sized chunks remain. Transfer the flour-butter mixture to another bowl and mix in the cold buttermilk and cream.

You’ll then fold the dough onto itself several times before punching it into 2 1/4-inch biscuits. Line them up on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, brush with more cream, then bake. The results are wide, tall biscuits that puff in the oven and slump slightly. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

My Honest Review of Samin Nosrat’s Light and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Samin’s Light and Flaky Biscuits have a super-fluffy interior and a thin, ultra-crispy crust. They’re almost too tender, which gave them a strange melt-in-your-mouth texture that I didn’t enjoy. Unfortunately, these biscuits aren’t sturdy enough for building a breakfast sandwich, which might not be a deal-breaker for you, but certainly is for me.

I’ve tried these biscuits a handful of times and still feel like I never quite get some part of the process right, which is a shame because it is a really interesting technique. I personally bemoan any recipe that dirties two bowls when just one will do — especially when one bowl belongs to a stand mixer or food processor. I’d reach for a simple one-bowl recipe over these biscuits any day, not just to avoid extra dishes, but also because a simple buttermilk biscuit can be as tender and flaky as Samin’s promise to be.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

If You Try Samin Nosrat’s Light and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits, a Few Tips

  1. Make sure your butter, bowls, and buttermilk are really cold. Since Samin’s recipe has you mix in some of the butter by hand, it helps to start with a cold bowl, cold butter, and cold buttermilk to ensure there are still pieces of cold butter even after mixing and folding. This will make for flakier biscuits.
  2. Skip the second mixing bowl and add the wet ingredients directly to the stand mixer, by hand. I think Samin’s intention for moving the flour-butter mixture from the stand mixer to a second bowl is to give you plenty of room for “cha-chinging” the large pieces of butter and for adding the cream and buttermilk, but you can honestly do all that in the stand mixer bowl without dirtying the extra dish.
  3. Roll the dough until it’s smooth. My first attempt at this recipe resulted in biscuits that split in the middle because I ignored Samin’s instruction to use a rolling pin. My second batch was much better when I worked the dough into a smooth sheet before cutting out the biscuit shapes.

Rating: 6/10

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell | Design: The Kitchn

Have you made Samin’s biscuits before? Tell us what you think in the comments!