Carla Hall is the queen of biscuits and to achieve those flaky layers of baked dough that biscuit lovers know and love, she uses a Wonder Twins combination of vegetable shortening and cold, grated butter to achieve this perfection. Why both? Fats, in general, are going to leave your biscuits tender and moist and create that beautiful texture of fluffy layers, but pairing up shortening and butter, as Hall does in her recipe for Food Network, for this baked good is going to give you a biscuit that is both flaky and tasty.
Shortening has a higher melting point compared to butter. This ingredient is going to add a lightness to the biscuit, helping to create that fluffy tower of layers. Butter also helps with the texture and this beloved dairy that makes everything it touches a masterpiece is going to up the flavor quotient for the dough even more, making it savory and delicious without leaving a greasy or heavy feeling in your mouth. These fats are equally important when making biscuits, and together, they are quite the superpower couple.
Watch Out Popeye's
Do be sure to grate your butter as Hall does. This will make it easier to distribute when blending the dry ingredients, and it eliminates the need for a pastry knife so you do not have to worry about dense and tough dough. Additionally, because there is butter in this biscuit dough, it is important to make certain you chill it before baking. This helps firm the fat so the dough doesn't flatten out as it bakes.
But using shortening isn't just about those fabulous, flaky looks. It has another purpose. The shortening is also going to ensure that when you store your biscuits, they don't become rock-hard and inedible. It, along with the buttermilk, helps to keep your biscuits nice and soft for a few days after you make them. And, of course, if you are making Hall's biscuits and the end result reminds you of a "back-in-the-day Popeye's" biscuit, Hall is okay with that, because they do.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.