Pillowy (and Pretty) Yeasted Angel Biscuits

Leavened with baking powder and yeast, the angel biscuit is a hybrid worth celebrating. [Photographs: Marissa Sertich]

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.
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Pillowy (and Pretty) Yeasted Angel Biscuits

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes about 12 small biscuits or about 8 large biscuits
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:1 hour plus overnight proofing
Special equipment:food processor (optional)
This recipe appears in: How to Make Pillowy (and Pretty) Angel Biscuits The Serious Eats Guide to Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 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

Procedures

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and whisk thoroughly to combine.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

  6. 6

    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.

  7. 7

    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.

  8. 8

    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.

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