This recipe appears in:How to Make Pillowy (and Pretty) Angel Biscuits The Serious Eats Guide to Biscuits
The angel biscuit is the lovechild of a biscuit and a soft roll: using both baking powder and yeast for leavening, they are guaranteed to rise to pillowy heights. The final result is featherlight and soft with a buttery, biscuit-y flavor. They make a great vehicle for sliders or sandwiches, but are equally as good split in half and served with butter, honey, or jam.
Why this recipe works:
- Baking powder and yeast work together to guarantee that these biscuits will rise to create a soft and light final product.
- Proofing the dough overnight in the refrigerator prevents the butter from melting, which ensures tenderness.
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and refrigerated, plus 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar, plus one small pinch for the yeast
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
In a small bowl, dissolve active dry yeast in warm water. Once mixture begins to foam slightly, add a pinch of sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and whisk thoroughly to combine.
Toss cold butter into flour mixture, making sure that each piece is fully coated. Working quickly, rub butter between your fingers, until butter forms pea-sized pieces; alternatively, combine flour mixture and butter in a food processor and pulse 2 to 3 times until a coarse, pea-sized texture forms.
Add milk and yeast solution to dry mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix until a very shaggy dough forms. Next, gently knead dough 4 to 6 times, until it becomes a rough but cohesive ball. You should still be able to see small pieces of butter throughout the dough.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set dough in refrigerator and let proof at least overnight and up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 375°F and set rack in middle position. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin or bottle, roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out biscuits as close together as possible. Knead together any scraps, re-roll, and cut out more biscuits; discard any remaining scraps. Alternatively, cut biscuits out in square shape using a knife.
Lightly grease a large baking sheet and brush tops of the biscuits with melted butter using a pastry brush. Cover loosely with a towel or plastic wrap and let the biscuits rest for 30 minutes at room temperature or 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Bake biscuits until raised and lightly golden, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer biscuits to a rack to cool slightly, then serve warm or at room temperature.