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Rachel's Very Beginner's Cream Biscuits Recipe

Rachel's Very Beginner's Cream Biscuits Recipe

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This is a very old recipe found in many books, including the 1964 edition of Joy of Cooking. It is a snap to make with self rising flour, uncomplicated with few ingredients, yet producing a stunningly tender and fluffy biscuit. Both gave these flying colors for both ease and taste.

Click here to see the Cinnamon-Raisin Biscuit Bread Pudding recipe.


For the self-rising flour:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

For the biscuits:

  • 2 ¼ cups commercial or homemade self-rising flour (see above)
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened or melted


For the self-rising flour:

Sift together all the ingredients.

For the biscuits:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Select the baking pan by determining if a soft or crisp exterior is desired. For a soft exterior, select an 8- or 9-inch cake pan, pizza pan, or oven-proof skillet where the biscuits will nestle together snugly, helping each other stay tender but rise while baking. For a crisp overall exterior, select a baking sheet or other baking pan where the biscuits can be placed wider apart, allowing air to circulate and creating a crisper exterior, and brush the pan with butter.

Fork-sift or whisk 2 cups of the flour in a large bowl, preferably wider than it is deep, and set aside the remaining ¼ cup.

Make a deep hollow in the center of the flour with the back of your hand. Pour 1 cup of cream into the hollow, reserving ¼ cup of cream, and stir with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon, using broad circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the cream. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If there is some flour remaining on the bottom and sides of the bowl, stir in 1-4 tablespoons of reserved cream, just enough to incorporate the remaining flour into the shaggy wettish dough. If the dough is too wet, use more flour when shaping.

Lightly sprinkle a board or other clean surface using some of the reserved flour. Turn the dough out onto the board and sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour. With floured hands, fold the dough in half, and pat the dough out into a 1/3- to ½-inch-thick round using a little additional flour only if needed. Flour again if necessary and fold the dough in half a second time. If the dough is still clumpy, pat and fold a third time. Pat dough out into a ½-inch-thick round for a normal biscuit, ¾-inch thick for a tall biscuit, and 1-inch-thick for a giant biscuit. Brush off any visible flour from the top. For each biscuit, dip a 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter into the reserved flour and cut out the biscuits, starting at the outside edge and cutting very close together, being careful not to twist the cutter. The scraps may be combined to make additional biscuits, although these scraps make tougher biscuits.

Using a metal spatula if necessary, move the biscuits to the pan or baking sheet. Bake the biscuits on the top rack of the oven for a total of 10-14 minutes until light golden brown. After 6 minutes, rotate the pan in the oven so that the front of the pan is now turned to the back, and check to see if the bottoms are browning too quickly. If so, slide another baking pan underneath to add insulation and retard browning. Continue baking another 4-8 minutes until the biscuits are light golden brown. When the biscuits are done, remove from the oven and lightly brush the top of the biscuits with softened or melted butter. Turn the biscuits out upside down on a plate to cool slightly. Serve hot, right side up.

Cream Biscuits

"I'm on a mission to get people over their biscuit anxiety," says Chef Peacock. His advice? Knead the dough briefly just until it comes together, but don't work it too much. Also, don't twist the biscuit cutter. The twisting motion seals the edge of the dough, which can prevent the biscuit from rising completely.

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2 thoughts on &ldquo Low Carb Carbalose Butter Cream Biscuits &rdquo

These biscuits would not rise with 1 T baking powder

Sorry to hear this John,
Did you follow the instructions about folding the dough inside the bowl? Also make sure your baking powder is not too old and lastly, this is made with Carbalose Flour-not Carbquik.

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Recipe Summary

  • 2 1/2 cups White Lily all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour in heavy cream, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough will still be wet and tacky.

Turn out dough onto a well-floured work surface, and pat into a square about 1/2 inch thick. Let rest about 5 minutes.

Using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 24 rounds. If desired, gather together scraps pat into a square, and cut out more rounds. Place on a baking sheet, and bake until golden on the tops, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven, and immediately brush the tops with butter. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I have made this recipe countless times already and I haven&rsquot had an issue with rise or fluffiness.

They always come out fluffy and tender.

Baking is a science and it can be finnicky.

If your biscuits don&rsquot come out fluffy, there are a multitude of reasons that this could be happening.

I try to address it below and I hope your biscuits come out fluffy!

Best-Ever Homemade Biscuits

A warm biscuit straight from the oven brings me back to my childhood and my grandma's homemade blackberry jam. She made the best biscuits and taught me that a few simple ingredients, when carefully mixed together create a soft, pillowy roll of comfort. Biscuits can take on very different meanings in different parts of the world. In North America, they are meant to be a flaky and soft leavened quick bread. Ideally they should have tender flaky layers and an extra buttery taste. An easier alternative to dinner rolls and equally good at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

1. Make sure your butter is cold.

As in FROZEN cold. About 30 minutes before you plan to make your biscuits pop a stick of butter in the freezer. For the perfect biscuit texture we grate our butter into the flour. (Yes, with a cheese grater!) Extra cold butter will ensure it doesn't melt while you work the dough with your hand. And grating the butter will distribute the butter evenly, making lots of little pockets for it to melt while baking. In other words: It guarantees extra fluffy biscuits.

2. Don't be afraid to add more buttermilk.

Or less for that matter. A good biscuit maker is someone that can tell what the dough needs past what the recipe says. Unless you weigh out your flour each time, your amount will always vary slightly. Add the buttermilk slowly so that you know if your dough is becoming too wet. If you feel it's a little too dry add about 1 tablespoon of buttermilk at a time until it feels right. If you've already added all of your buttermilk and it's too sticky add just a bit more flour until the dough is easy to work with. A biscuit dough will be a little drier than you expect. Pockets of dryness while folding are fine. as long as the dough is holding together nicely.

3. Don't overwork the flour.

I'm sure you've heard this one before but it's still just as important. The more the flour gets mixed and worked, the more gluten develops. And over-activated gluten=tough and gummy baked goods&mdashthe complete opposite of what we are going for here. To avoid this problem, you're to pat your dough a lot while making biscuits. Once you feel the buttermilk is mixed in, use your hands to pat the dough into a rectangle. Your hands will be a much better guide than a spoon or any other tool. When folding your dough, don't be too tough when flattening it back together. Imperfection is beauty here.

4. Don't twist your biscuit cutter.

This is a simple yet fatal mistake. When using a cookie or biscuit cutter you're likely to naturally twist the cutter to make sure it cuts through the dough all of the way. Don't! Twisting the cutter causes the dough to pinch together and you won't get a proper rise on your biscuits. Instead, punch straight down and lift. If a few little strands are still connected, take a pairing knife or kitchen scissors and cut them loose. And flouring your biscuit cutter should prevent sticking!

Storing Biscuits

Like most baked goods, these biscuits are best day of and fresh out of the oven. They will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. Re-toast them in the oven for a few minutes to help make them warm and soft again! These also freeze well after being baked. Just thaw out in a 350° for several minutes until warm all the way through for a fresh tasting and buttery biscuit!

Tried making these flaky biscuits? Let us know how you liked them in the comments below.

Editor's Note: The introduction to this recipe was updated on August 21, 2020 to include more information about the dish.


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Bakewell Cream Biscuits

These tasty Maine-style biscuits are extra-tall and fluffy, and don't require buttermilk. Our thanks to the Bakewell Cream folks of Hampden, Maine for this recipe.


  • 4 cups (482g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or 4 cups (454g) Pastry Flour Blend
  • 4 teaspoons Bakewell Cream*
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (113g) butter, cold, cut into pats
  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) cold milk

*NOT Bakewell Cream Baking Powder just plain Bakewell Cream


Preheat the oven to 475°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Work in the butter till the mixture is crumbly some larger, pea-sized pieces of butter may remain intact.

Add the milk, stirring till everything is moistened.

Perfect your technique

Make and freeze biscuits

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface (a silicone mat works well), and fold it over once or twice. Pat it into a ¾"-thick square, rectangle, or circle.

Cut the biscuits with a round or square cutter. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. Brush their tops with milk or melted butter, if desired.

Bake for 5 minutes, then turn off the oven. Leave in the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, till they're golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and serve warm with butter and honey, jam, or gravy.

Yield: about 1 ½ dozen big (2 1/2") biscuits, or about 32 smaller (1 1/2") biscuits.

Small Batch Quick Biscuits

There is constant debate over whether biscuits should be made with butter or shortening, or a combination of both. Each results in slightly varying textures and flavors.

But, have you ever tried a biscuit that used neither? A biscuit that doesn’t use butter or shortening?

Unlike traditional biscuits that cut in fat, these quick biscuits are made entirely with cream.

Key Ingredients

Baking Powder

The steam pockets created from butter helps to create the distinct flakey layers and rise of traditional butter based biscuits.

These cream biscuits rely heavily on baking powder for leavening. It is VITAL to use active baking powder.

Test to make sure baking powder is still active and not expired.

To test if baking powder is active, spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into a medium bowl. Immediately pour about 1/4 cup boiling water (or very hot water) on top. It should bubble and fizz immediately.

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream, also labeled as heavy whipping cream, is the thick fatty part of the milk that rises to the surface Its fat content ranges from 34 – 40% fat.

This is different from whipping cream, which has about 30% milk fat.

For this recipe, you may use either heavy cream or whipping cream. They results between the two are hardly noticeable.

You may also use manufacturing cream which has about 40% milk fat. The extra fat produces a creamier, tastier biscuit.

How to Mix Cream Biscuits by Hand

  • 1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Pour cold cream into dry mixture.
  • 2. Use a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon to stir mixture until a shaggy dough forms. Be careful not to over-mix.

3. Dump shaggy dough onto a clean counter top or work surface. Gently knead dough together and pat into a rectangle about 3/4-inch thick.

NOTE: Be careful not to work the dough too much. Too much mixing and kneading will create too much gluten. This will result in a tough, dense biscuit.

  • 4. Punch out rounds using a well floured 2 1/2-inch round cutter. (You’ll likely get 4 rounds from the first go.) Push scraps together and pat until 3/4-inch thick. Punch out additional rounds. Discard any scraps after this second go.
  • 5. Place rounds on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops with additional cream. If desired, sprinkle turbinado sugar for extra crunch and sweetness.
  • 6. Bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes until biscuits have puffed up and the exterior is golden brown.

Serving Suggestions and Leftovers

Serve biscuits immediately! They are best enjoyed warm, fresh from the oven.

I like to enjoy these cream biscuits with passion fruit curd and blueberry compote.

It’s also delicious with salted butter, fruit jams and spreads, or cream cheese. For a savory option, enjoy it with cheese or nut butters.

Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. Reheat in the microwave or toaster oven.

Can I Use Buttermilk in this Biscuit Recipe?

Yes, you absolutely can and we frequently do. Since buttermilk is thicker than regular milk, you will need slightly more to get the dough to the right consistency. Start with one and one-quarter cup and add more as needed.

To get a nice, tall biscuit, I like to pat the dough out to 3/4 to 1 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. I ended up with nine this time but depending on who is snacking on biscuit dough, I can get up to 12 biscuits.

Baking the biscuits is super quick – just about 10 minutes is all you need. I like to bake my biscuits on parchment paper but if you don’t have that on hand, lightly grease your baking sheet.

For extra yumminess, brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter…