Biscuits are one of my favorite comfort foods. But finding the right balance of ingredients to make gluten-free biscuits was a challenge. Gluten-free baking is definitely a tricky thing, but the result was worth all the trial and error. A warm biscuit with butter and jam or some gluten-free gravy . . . heavenly!
Gluten-Free Flour Blends
In most of my gluten-free baking recipes, I use my favorite blend of gluten-free flours that includes sorghum, millet and brown rice flours. It works well for my cakes, cookies and quick breads. This blend did not work for these biscuits. In order to get that lighter, fluffier texture, a more starchy blend is necessary. So I mixed up a different blend.
This is the same as when working with wheat flour. Soft wheat, lower gluten and lower protein wheat flours are the preference for biscuits. If you’d like to mix up your own blend for these gluten-free biscuits, here is the blend I used:
- 1 c brown rice flour
- 1 c white rice flour
- 2/3 c potato starch
- 1/3 c tapioca starch
Whisk these ingredients together thoroughly to assure that they are evenly distributed. This blend is suitable for many other gluten-free recipes.
Most store-bought gluten-free flour blends will work for this recipe because they are mostly white rice flour-based. King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free all purpose flour and Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour are both good options for these biscuits.
If you are not sure if your flour blend will work, check the ingredients. If white rice flour and starches like potato, tapioca and corn are in the first few ingredients, it should be a good option.
For an even lighter, flakier texture, I include 2 tablespoons of potato starch in the recipe. If you don’t have potato starch, tapioca or corn starch will work too.
How to Make Gluten-Free Biscuits
Making gluten-free biscuits does not exactly follow the method of making biscuits with traditional wheat flour. Large chunks of butter are ok in wheat biscuits but don’t work as well in gluten-free biscuits. So when working the butter into the flour, break down most of the chunks of butter into crumbs so that it is more evenly distributed (see photo below). This can be done with a pastry blender, with 2 forks or in the food processor – see the exact recipe and instructions in the recipe card below.
The dough is relatively wet and sticky, so when preparing it to cut out the biscuits, I use a large silicone mat to help manipulate it. I also keep it covered with plastic wrap to keep the roller clean without adding extra flour. Here’s how I do it, step-by-step.
Lightly flour the surface.
Remove the dough from the plastic wrap, place it on the surface and lay the plastic back over the top. Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten it to 1″ thick.
Remove the plastic wrap and fold the dough in half left to right. The silicone mat makes this task much easier.
Put the plastic wrap back on top and roll or flatten to 1″ thick again.
Now fold the dough in half, pulling the top over the bottom half.
Repeat this process, flattening and folding the dough in opposite directions, at least 4 more times. This is what will create the flakey layers.
Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and flip it over. Smooth out the top.
Prepare a small bowl with some flour in it, to dip the biscuit cutter. This will prevent the dough from getting stuck in it. Dip the cutter in the flour before cutting out each biscuit.
Cut out biscuits using a 2 1/4″ (approximate) cutter. Press straight down, do not twist, lift and gently drop on to the pan. Drop it right in the spot where you want it to stay. The less you handle them once cut out, the better.
Keep them close, about 1/4″ apart. Brush these with melted butter and they are ready to bake!