Flaky Biscuits with Whey

You can make these by hand, but using a food processor works very well. The dough will be very wet. Don’t be afraid of it—the wetter the better.
By / Photography By Matthew Carden | March 01, 2013


Preheat oven to 450°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or non- stick foil.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor. Add the pieces of very cold butter to the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You want pea-sized chunks of butter to remain, no smaller. Use 2 forks or a pastry blender to blend if you are not using a food processor.

Add milk and vinegar to a 1-cup measure and top off with enough whey (approximately 1⁄2 cup) to make 1 cup of liquid. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and butter mix and mix JUST until combined. The dough should be very wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Gently pat (do not use a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1⁄2 inch thick. Try to handle the dough as little as possible so it does not toughen up. Once it reaches 1⁄2 inch thick, fold the dough over and pat out and fold over 4 more times. After the last time, gently press the dough out into a 1-inch-thick square.

Using a biscuit cutter (or small glass) about 2 to 3 inches in diam- eter, cut out about 8 biscuits. Gently reform the dough and cut 2 additional biscuits. (Note: The second-cut biscuits will not be as tender as the first ones.)

Place the biscuits on the prepared cookie sheet, forming a square so that they touch each other. Add a small pat of butter and a pinch of salt to the top of each biscuit. If using the lemon zest, sprinkle about 1⁄4 teaspoon on the top of each biscuit.

Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until light golden brown on top.

* Biscuits can be made ahead and frozen before baking. If frozen, bake in a preheated oven at 450° for 20 minutes when ready to serve.

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  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting your cutting board
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling on top of each biscuit before baking
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1-inch pieces, , plus additional for topping each biscuit before baking
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup whey (approximately) (Note: if you do not have whey, you can substitute 1⁄2 cup buttermilk, or 1⁄2 cup whole milk to which 1 tablespoon of vinegar has been added)
  • Zest from 1 Meyer lemon (optional)
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