This post has been sponsored by Pleasant Hill Grain, but as always all opinions are my own.
I’ll be honest. It takes a very long time and effort to build a food blog and be able to call yourself a full-time food blogger. But once you get there, this job offers some pretty cool perks. In the world we currently live in, a blogger is also considered an influencer. And as a foodie influencer, sometimes you get to try some really cool kitchen tools.
Five years ago when I first started this blog, if you had told me that one day I am going to own a grain mill I would not believe you. But today, I am a proud owner of one and I am thrilled to be sharing this with you. Because let me tell you, baked goods made with freshly milled flour tastes 100% better than store-bought flour.
As you can see in the photos, my very first recipe using my new grain mill is a basic easy homemade biscuits recipe that is made with only 6 ingredients. I chose this recipe intentionally because I have made it using store-bought whole wheat flour many times before. Having known how it tasted, I could easily tell the difference.
As soon as I received my new grain mill, I put my go-to homemade biscuits recipe to test. This time with freshly milled whole wheat pastry flour that I milled myself using organic soft white wheat berries. Aaaand it did not disappoint. This version was truly superior to the one that I was accustomed to making with supermarket whole wheat flour.
Also, on a quite selfish note, it was pretty awesome to know that I literally made it from scratch.
As we are approaching the gifting season if you know someone who loves to bake, have allergies to certain flours (like people who follow a gluten-free diet), and/or enjoy playing with different grains in their cooking, I cannot imagine a better gift than a KoMo Mio Grain Mill. Because someone with those interest would have so many opportunities to put this kitchen tool into good use.
Now onto the recipe…
Hard white wheat vs. soft white wheat
Before I start talking about how to make whole wheat flour biscuits, I’d like to take a moment and talk about what grain produces whole wheat flour. Because if I am being honest, I have always purchased my whole wheat flour from a supermarket and never milled my own at home.
Along with the grain mill, folks over at Pleasant Hills Grain sent me a box full of grains for me to try. Grains like kamut, oat groats, spelt, amaranth, buckwheat, einkorn, hard white wheat berries, and soft white wheat berries. All of which were organic.
Me being new in milling my own flours, I wasn’t sure whether I should use hard white or soft white wheat berries to make my whole wheat flour biscuits. After a little research, I found out that they were actually quite different.
Without going into too much detail, hard white wheat berries have a high protein (gluten) content and are mostly used in baked goods that use yeast as the rising agent. It produces what we call “Whole Wheat Flour” and is perfect for bread recipes made with whole wheat flour.
Its softer counterpart, soft white wheat berries, produces what we call “Whole Wheat Pastry Flour” after it is milled. Compared to hard white wheat, it has low protein content that produces tender whole grain pastries and is ideal for any recipe that uses baking soda and/or baking powder as the rising agent.
If you are making cookies, muffins, pancakes, or biscuits, whole wheat pastry flour produces a softer and more tender end product. This is exactly why, I used whole wheat pastry flour to make this whole wheat biscuit recipe.
How to make whole wheat biscuits at home
The process of making this recipe has 4 folds.
First, you cut your butter into small cubes, place in a bowl and place in the freezer while you are prepping the rest of the ingredients. Do not skip this step as it is imperative to have your butter cold for the most crumbly and tender whole wheat biscuits.
Second, you mix your dry ingredients; whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt in a mixing bowl. You can either sift them through a flour sifter or use a whisk to mix them.
Third, you work the cold butter into the flour using a pastry cutter (or the back of a fork) just until it resembles coarse crumbs. It is okay if there are large pieces of butter in the dough. Next, you add in the buttermilk and fold it in using a wooden spoon or clean hands.
Finally, you transfer the dough onto a lightly flour surface and pat it into a rectangular. Then fold it in over itself in thirds. Repeat this process one more time. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a rectangular that is 1-inch to 1 ¼ inch thick.
I used a 2 ¾ inch cookie cutter, which yielded 8 whole wheat buttermilk biscuits at the end. However if you don’t have one, you can also use a jar to cut out your biscuits. Be sure to dip it in flour to be able to score the dough easily.
If you use a similar size cookie/biscuit cutter, the first batch will yield 6 biscuits. Simply place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
You can repeat the same process with the remaining dough by kneading it gently and rolling it out to a rectangular one more time. However, be aware that each subsequent rolling and cutting of the dough yields tougher biscuits.
What to do with the leftover whole wheat biscuit dough
After I get 8 biscuits, I roll the leftover dough and use a smaller cookie cutter to cut it. I freeze them for later to bake and serve with soups and stews. These thinner and smaller ones are more like crackers than biscuits, but nonetheless a great surprise to serve with your favorite dishes.
Alternatively, you can use a knife to cut out the dough into squares if you want to reduce the waste and additional work.
Cold biscuit dough and hot oven for the best homemade biscuits
A very hot oven is also key to good biscuits. I bake them in a 450 F degree countertop oven in 2 batches. It takes between 11-12 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits turn lightly golden brown.
I recommend turning on your oven when your biscuits are cut out and ready. While it is heating, place the baking sheet in the freezer to keep your biscuits cold.
If you are short on time, you can certainly skip this step and preheat your oven before you start making the recipe and bake them as soon as they are cut out and ready.
However if you have time, letting the whole wheat biscuits sit in the freezer for a few minutes delivers a more tender and crumbly end product.
Can I make these whole wheat biscuits using whole wheat flour instead?
As I was doing my research for this post, I saw a few people make these biscuits using a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour and just by using whole wheat flour. So I put the same exact recipe to test by only changing the flour.
Below are my findings:
- 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour + 1 Cup All Purpose Flour: Instead of using whole wheat pastry flour, I milled some hard white wheat berries and mixed the flour with 1 cup of all purpose flour. The biscuits made with this combination rose slightly higher than the version made with whole wheat pastry flour.
However, they tasted more like bread and were less airy and crumbly.
- 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour: The version made with whole wheat flour rose to a similar height, looked almost the same, and had comparable earthy tones in taste with its version made with whole wheat pastry flour.
However, while they weren’t bad, I thought the original version was softer and more crumbly.
Can I freeze these whole wheat biscuits and bake them later?
You absolutely can. As a matter of fact, I recommend doing so. During my testings, I found out that the additional resting time in the freezer yields biscuits that are slightly higher and more crumbly.
And let’s face it, what is better than freshly baked biscuits ready in 15 minutes on a Tuesday night?
To do so, freeze the cut out biscuits, uncovered, on the baking sheet until solid. Transfer them to a resealable plastic bag. You do NOT need to thaw them before baking. Instead, just bake a few minutes (no more than 2-3) more to the baking time.
What to do with the leftover whole wheat flour biscuits?
These homemade biscuits are best on the day that they are baked, which is why I only bake the amount I want to serve and freeze the rest.
However, if you have leftovers you can store them in an airtight container on the kitchen counter for one more day after they are fully cooled.
Are wheat biscuits healthy?
I am no doctor or nutritionist, but I think it is safe to say that these whole wheat pastry flour biscuits are healthier than store-bought biscuits, especially if you mill your own grains.
While I recommend consuming it in moderation, I think we can all agree on the fact that making them from scratch without any preservatives is much healthier than pre-made supermarket biscuits.
Other bread and biscuits recipes you might also like:
Whole Wheat Biscuits
- 2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour plus more for the surface and biscuit cutter
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
- ¾ cup buttermilk cold
- Cut butter into small 1-inch cubes, place in a bowl and keep it in the freezer while you are preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
- Add in the cold butter cubes into the mixture. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, work the butter into the flour just until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Pour in the buttermilk. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until combined.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently work to dough to make it cohesive using your hands without overworking it. If it is too sticky add in some flour.
- Once the dough is cohesive, pat it out into a rectangular. Fold it in thirds and gently flatten. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold it again. Repeat the same process for one more time. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangular that is 1 ¼ inch thick in height.
- Dip a 2 ¾ inch round cutter into flour and then press it straight down into the dough. Transfer the biscuit onto a parchment line baking sheet with at least 1-inch space in between biscuits.
- If you need it, dip the biscuit cutter in flour in between.
- Repeat until you have 8 biscuits. *Read the post to what to do about the leftover dough.*
- Place the biscuits in the freezer and preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until the top of the biscuits turn lightly golden brown.
- If preferred, lightly brush them with butter as soon as they come out of the oven.
- Serve them while they are still warm.