The Five Commandments for Making Perfect Biscuits
At Olamaie in Austin, the off-menu biscuits are available by request only. People have been known to protest when they run out. Here, chefs Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas teach us their five commandments for perfect biscuits.
At Olamaie in Austin, the biscuits are a limited, secret menu item, available by request only. Chefs Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas make each one by hand, and people are so obsessed that they've been known to protest when the restaurant runs out. "If we put them on the menu," says Fojtasek, "we'd be doing nothing but making biscuits all day long." But there's hope for the rest of us: they shared their five commandments for making perfect biscuits with Food & Wine.
1. Thou shalt use the coldest ingredients possible.
This includes everything that goes into the recipe, as well as the equipment: Fojtasek and Nonas chill the flour, butter, buttermilk and even the mixing bowl in their blast chiller (a fridge or freezer will work at home) before mixing. "Your ingredients should be so cold that your hands turn red when you massage the butter into the flour," says Nonas. Working with cold ingredients and equipment ensures that the butter will not melt; bigger butter chunks mean a lighter, airier biscuit.
2. Thou shalt not use low-fat products.
The chefs swear by high-fat buttermilk and Plugrá European-style butter. "High-fat products give biscuits the texture and richness you want," says Fojtasek. "And it's Southern food. You have to use butter."
3. Thou shalt grate thy butter with a box grater.
Fojtasek and Nonas tried many different methods for chopping butter but found that grating it created uniform chunks that bake up into flakier, multi-layered, croissant-like biscuits.
4. Thou shalt flour thy biscuit cutter.
Dipping the biscuit cutter in flour between each and every cut ensures well-shaped biscuits.
5. Thou shalt make square biscuits.
Square biscuits cook more evenly than round ones.