You can also bring this dough together in the food processor (with gentle pulses) and by hand (soak your hands in cold water; the butter should be even colder), but we have found that using the stand mixer works quickly and requires the least amount of manual interference with cold butter. And this is what you want for flaky biscuits!
- 2 cups (about 300 g) gluten-free flour mix, preferably Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Blend or another flour blend with xanthan gum
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) very cold butter, cut into tablespoons and then cut in half, plus more to grease the pan
- 3/4 to 1 cup cup cold buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- 9-inch cast iron skillet, or 8x8 baking dish
1 Combine dry ingredients: Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
2 Add the butter: On the low speed, let the mixer break up the butter into smaller pieces; this should take about a minute. Stop the mixer and check; you still want visible pieces of butter about the size of marbles or even a little bigger. They will look like they are starting to flatten.
This dough is not a situation where we say the flour and butter should look like “the consistency of small peas.” If some of the pieces haven't flattened, just press them between your fingertips to break them up a little bit—dime-sized pieces are fine.
3 Add the buttermilk: Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. Using a fork, quickly mix the buttermilk into the flour to hydrate it.
Then, slowly mix in a scant 3/4 cup of buttermilk and combine with a fork until no streaks of flour remain. If the dough seems dry, add additional buttermilk a tablespoon at a time and incorporate before adding more. You don't want a wet dough.
4 Gather the dough into a ball: On a floured surface, turn out the dough, which will look like a crumbly mess. It will come together when you begin to shape it into a ball. If for some reason (ambient humidity, variations in buttermilk thickness) the dough feels dry, add a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk to hydrate those dry bits.
5 Fold the dough like a letter: Lightly press the dough (or roll it with a floured rolling pin) into a thick rectangular shape, about 4 inches by 6 inches. Fold one of the short ends of the dough toward the middle, and then the other, like a letter.
Rotate the dough 1/4 turn and roll it out, and fold it again into thirds. Repeat this process one more time, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour to an hour. (This process creates flaky layers; if you skip it, your biscuits will bake flat, like hockey pucks.)
6 Prep the oven and pan: Preheat the oven to 425°F and prep a 9- or 10-inch cast iron pan or an 8x8 glass baking dish with either spray oil or grease with butter.
7 Roll and cut out the biscuits: Remove the dough from the fridge and, using a rolling pin, gently roll it out to a rectangle about 6 inches by 9 inches and one inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter that’s been lightly floured (this dough can be sticky), cut out about 6 biscuits by pressing the cutter straight down into the dough; if you twist them when you remove them, you’ll stunt their rise!
Reroll the scraps, reflouring the biscuit cutter if needed, and make more biscuits until all the dough is used up.
Transfer to the pan. You will have to nestle them close to each other, and that’s okay. You want them touching in order for them to rise better. Brush the tops with the melted butter.
8 Bake: Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes until the tops look lightly brown around the edges. Check frequently to avoid burning.
9 Cool and serve: Remove from the oven and brush the tops with melted butter. Let the biscuits cool in the pan for about 5 to 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Try to wait the seemingly impossible 10 minutes before you eat one. They will continue to cook a little, firm up a little while cooling, and not burn your mouth. It’s all worth the wait.
These biscuits are best eaten warm out of the oven, but they do okay reheated in a toaster or low oven (300°F) for up to 2 days. They get dried out pretty fast.