But what difference does the fat make? Are biscuits fluffier with more or less fat? Richer? Tastier?
To find out, I made three batches of biscuits that were identical except for the amount of fat used (in this case, butter). Each batch uses two cups of flour and normally makes 8 biscuits, but I only cooked two biscuits from each batch so that I could make sure the baking conditions were exactly the same for all of the biscuits.
- Batch 1: 1/4 cup of butter (1:8 ratio)
- Batch 2: 1/2 cup of butter (1:4 ratio)
- Batch 3: 1 cup of butter (1:2 ratio)
So, you definitely get flatter biscuits when you add more butter (incidentally, the same is true with cookies... if your cookies are running all over the pan when they bake, just reduce the amount of butter/shortening and they'll hold their shape much better).
But what about taste?
But the biscuits with 1 cup of butter seemed too rich to my wife and I, and I suspect that after cooling down, they would be dense and gross. The biscuit with very little butter wasn't as soft and flaky, but it was more structurally sound.
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of butter
None of these biscuits were bad, but again, the middle option seems to be the best choice. A ratio of 1/2 cup of butter to 2 cups of flour (1:4) seems to work pretty well.