Whole Wheat Biscuits Recipe

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Whole Wheat Biscuits
Whole Wheat Biscuits

For me, one of the hallmarks of a wonderful homemade meal is a fresh batch of tender and flavorful whole wheat biscuits on the table! These are particularly good with baked beans (especially when the biscuits are slathered with molasses!) or, well, just about anything! Biscuits are a form of a quick bread so they don’t take long to whip up and, best of all, they only call for pantry staples like flour, baking powder, salt, butter, milk and sometimes a small amount of sugar.

Whole Wheat Biscuits
Whole Wheat Biscuits

My recipe calls for a combination of flours – 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour.  I find that using all whole wheat flour does not yield the tender texture that can be achieved by blending all-purpose flour with the whole wheat. Shortening or butter can be used as the fat for biscuits; however, nothing beats butter for flavor!

Whole Wheat Biscuits
Whole Wheat Biscuits

These biscuits have a different flavor and texture than my standard white biscuits and these are made with buttermilk (or sour milk) instead of with whipping cream and whole milk (click here for the recipe for my white tea biscuits). They are two distinctly different types of biscuits. The whole wheat ones are slightly more “rustic” while the white biscuits are very refined. I tend to make the whole wheat biscuits to serve alongside a more rustic meal like beans, chili, and stews, for example. My regular “go-to” standard biscuits are the white tea biscuits and, for sure, they are the ones I use for afternoon teas because of their light, tender crumb.

Whole Wheat Biscuit
Whole Wheat Biscuit

My hints for making biscuits are –

  • Use cold ingredients. In fact, it’s a good idea to put the flour mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour or so so that it is cold to start with.
  • Use cold butter or even frozen butter which is what I use. That cold butter will give  flaky tenderness to the biscuits.  The butter can be cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter but my preference is to hold a grater (with large holes) over the flour and grate the butter right into the flour. Stop and give the mixture a stir after grating some butter to integrate and distribute it and then keep on grating the rest of the butter. This helps to ensure that the butter gets incorporated right into the cold flour. If you grate the butter into a separate bowl, it will tend to clump together, especially as you transfer it to the flour mixture.
  • Only mix the liquid and dry ingredients as minimally as possible and do so gently and with a fork. Over-mixing will result in over-developing the flour’s gluten and yield tough biscuits. Just mix enough that the flour is incorporated and the batter starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Let the batter rest in the bowl for 1-2 minutes. This allows the ingredients to settle (they need to get to know each other!).
  • Turn the batter out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead the mixture 8-10 times only. Do NOT over-knead as  over-working the dough will “stir up” the gluten in the flours and will yield dense, tough biscuits. After kneading, little bits of the butter should still be visible in the dough. With biscuits, you are not “blending” ingredients but, rather, are simply barely mixing them just enough so that the dough sticks together.
  • Use a rolling pin, or simply pat the dough to about 1″ thickness.  Use desired size of biscuit cutter. A good, general size cutter for biscuits is a 2″ cutter. Flour the cutter before cutting each biscuit and cut the biscuits as close together as possible to minimize the amount of dough that will have to be gathered up and patted down again for the next cutting – remember, the goal is to minimize the amount of “working the dough” that happens . Make sure the cutter is sharp-edged and do not twist the cutter when cutting out the biscuits.  Cut straight down into the dough. Twisting the cutter while cutting the biscuits can be a cause of biscuits unevenly rising and hence spreading during the baking process – that’s when they lose their shape and go downhill to the point that they may look like a ski slope!
  • Once the first cut of biscuits is made from the dough, gather up the remaining bits and pat it down to 1″ thickness and continue to cut out remaining biscuits. Again, resist the urge to knead the dough any more than absolutely necessary to pull it together.
  • Bake the biscuits in a hot oven (450F) until they start to turn golden brown on top, about 14-16 minutes, generally.

Biscuits are best served slightly warm so make them just before the meal.

Whole Wheat Biscuits
Whole Wheat Biscuits

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Whole Wheat Biscuits

Ingredients:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*

1-2 tbsp milk for brushing tops of biscuits

Method:
Preheat oven to 450°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Grate cold (or frozen) butter over flour in bowl, or use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Make a well in the center of the ingredients. Pour milk into well in dry ingredients.  Using a fork, mix ingredients together just until flour mixture is incorporated.  Do not overmix. Mixture will be a soft, moist batter.

Let batter rest in bowl for 1-2 minutes then turn out onto a floured surface.  Knead dough 8-10 times.  Do not over-knead.

Roll or pat dough to desired thickness, about 1” thick.  Using a 2” floured round cookie cutter, cut out biscuits, re-flouring cutter before cutting out each biscuit.  Gather up remaining dough, pat down to about 1” thick and cut out biscuits.

Using a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1” to 1½ “ apart. Prick tops of biscuits with fork tines and lightly brush with milk, if desired. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes then transfer to wire rack.

Biscuits may also be placed close together in a greased baking pan with sides. Baking the biscuits in this manner will yield soft-sided biscuits.

*To sour milk, place 1 tbsp white vinegar in a measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup.  Stir. Let stand for 5 minutes to sour.

Yield:  Apx. 12-13 – 2” biscuits

Whole Wheat Biscuits
Whole Wheat Biscuits

Whole Wheat Biscuits Recipe

Yield: 12-13 - 2" biscuits

Delicious easy-to-make classic whole wheat biscuits that are tender and flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  • 1-2 tbsp milk for brushing tops of biscuits

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Grate cold (or frozen) butter over flour in bowl, or use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the ingredients.
  3. Pour milk into well in dry ingredients. Using a fork, mix ingredients together just until flour mixture is incorporated. Do not overmix. Mixture will be a soft, moist batter. Let batter rest in bowl for 1-2 minutes then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead dough 8-10 times. Do not over-knead.
  4. Roll or pat dough to desired thickness, about 1” thick. Using a 2” floured round cookie cutter, cut out biscuits, re-flouring cutter before cutting out each biscuit. Gather up remaining dough, pat down to about 1” thick and cut out biscuits.
  5. Using a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1” to 1½ “ apart. Prick tops of biscuits with fork tines and lightly brush with milk, if desired. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes then transfer to wire rack. Biscuits may also be placed close together in a greased baking pan with sides. Baking the biscuits in this manner will yield soft-sided biscuits.
  6. *To sour milk, place 1 tbsp white vinegar in a measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup. Stir. Let stand for 5 minutes to sour.
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Whole Wheat Biscuits
Whole Wheat Biscuits
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