Nancy Silverton's Butter Biscuits
Treated like puff pastry, the dough for these buttery pastries is rolled and folded several times to create multiple flaky layers.
Yield: makes 12 biscuits
Time: 4 hours
- 5 sticks unsalted butter, frozen, plus more, melted, for brushing
- 5 cups (1 lb, 7 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups buttermilk, chilled
- Flaky sea salt
- Either working with a box grater over a large bowl or using the large grating blade of a food processor, quickly grate the frozen sticks of butter and then freeze the butter for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt, sugar, and baking soda, and freeze the dry ingredients for the same amount of time as the butter.
- Scrape the frozen butter into the dry ingredients and toss briefly to combine. Pour in the buttermilk and stir just until it forms a solid dough. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and, using your hands, mold the dough into a 10-by-7-inch rectangle. Fold the rectangle in thirds like a letter and then rotate 90 degrees. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough again into a 10-by-7-inch rectangle. Repeat the folding, turning, and rolling process 3 more times, ending with the dough shaped into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle about 1⁄2 inch thick. Trim the edges so you have a sharp, clean rectangle and then cut this rectangle into 12 equal squares. Space the biscuits at least 3 inches apart on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets and freeze for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
- Heat the oven to 425°. Brush each biscuit with some melted butter and then sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 1 sheet of biscuits for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 400°, rotate the baking sheet, and bake the biscuits until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a rack and repeat to bake the second sheet of biscuits. Let the biscuits cool for 5 minutes before serving.