Want Your Flakiest Biscuits Yet? Break Out The Box Grater

It's one of the most valuable biscuit hacks you'll ever get.

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Regina Charboneau's signature biscuits
Photo: Courtesy Regina Charboneau

Here's a confession for you: I have never really liked biscuits. I know, blasphemy. But for most of my life, biscuits just didn't excite me. Moving to Alabama from New Jersey, where I spent a whole childhood spoiled on arguably the world's best bagels, I just could not get on the biscuit hype train. I couldn't understand why everyone was so obsessed with this little square of dry, crumbly bread.

When I finally confessed my distaste for biscuits to my new friends in Alabama, they were awestruck. Me stubbornly standing my ground ("Biscuits just aren't that great!") turned into a multi-day argument that practically tore my friend group apart. "You're a professional baker!" my roommate shouted at me across the dining room as I, somewhat ironically, held a loaf of my homemade sourdough bread. "You'd make such great biscuits if you just gave them a chance."

After the Great Biscuit Blow-Up, biscuits became a touchy subject in my Alabama household. I was certainly in the wrong, but I would never admit that. To be fair, I'd never had a truly great biscuit before. All I knew were subpar Northerners' attempts at the classic Southern breakfast bread—I'd choose a bagel over those pitiful renditions any day.

Then one day, my coworker and baking mentor made a tray of her famous buttermilk biscuits for a staff celebration. I took one bite and…I was hooked. I realized in that moment that I'd been wrong about biscuits the whole time—when done well, biscuits are layered, flaky, and melt-in-your-mouth buttery. And so began my quest to master the art of biscuits.

First, I hit the books. I pored over Southern Living's myriad of biscuit recipes and scoured the internet for the best biscuit tips. I listened to my roommates' descriptions of what makes a great biscuit. I asked my Southern baking mentors how they made their perfect biscuits. And then I started making them myself.

After a year of biscuit studies, I can confidently say that while I may not make a perfect biscuit (that crown is reserved for the Southern mamas and grandmamas), I can make a darn good one. Biscuits typically only call for a few core ingredients—butter, flour, salt, sugar, leavener, and buttermilk—so it's key to pay attention to every detail. Today, I'm sharing one of the most valuable biscuit hacks I've learned to help you make your best biscuits yet.

When it comes to biscuits, keeping all of your ingredients cold is of the utmost importance. The more you handle the butter, the more it warms up, potentially allowing the butter to melt and ruin the texture of your biscuits. But you still need to break your butter down into smaller pieces so that it can incorporate into your biscuit dough. This technique for grating, then freezing your butter is my favorite way to ensure that the butter gets broken down evenly and quickly. The pros in the Southern Living test kitchen agree. They write: "Grate frozen butter. It's our favorite fast-and-easy technique to incorporate ice-cold fat into flour."

It's time to break out the box grater. This humble piece of equipment that you'll find in just about every kitchen is the key to achieving perfectly flaky, buttery biscuits. When preparing ingredients for your biscuits, start by shredding very cold butter with the large holes on your box grater, then stash the grated butter in the freezer. Grating your butter creates beautiful, uniform pieces that hold their own in biscuit dough. Freezing the butter helps to keep it nice and cold, which is crucial when making biscuits. These shreds of frozen butter incorporate beautifully into biscuit dough, resulting in a well-baked final product.

And there you have it, folks. Try this simple technique and get ready to enjoy your flakiest biscuits to date.

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