The Secret To Taller Biscuits Is All About Your Oven

Biscuits are a great way to add a little something extra to a meal: Douse them in gravy for breakfast, or serve them alongside a savory soup for dinner. Southern-style biscuits made with buttermilk and baking powder are a classic, but you can also experiment with variations like cheddar cheese or sweet potatoes. However, sometimes your biscuits just fall flat — literally. To prevent this, it's helpful to know a bit about the science behind biscuit baking.

Many biscuit recipes use baking powder as a leavening agent. According to Healthline, double-acting baking powder is made of sodium bicarbonate and acid. The acid and sodium bicarbonate react when combined with liquid, and produce a second reaction when exposed to heat. That's where "double-acting" baking powder gets its name.

The Los Angeles Times explains that if you're using baking powder to make your biscuits rise, you should make sure it's as fresh as possible. To test its freshness, you can drop a few tablespoons into a cup of hot water. If the powder is still active, the heat of the water will make it fizz.

Temperature is critical

Since baking powder reacts when exposed to heat, paying attention to temperature is essential to baking good biscuits. According to Cook's Illustrated, you should keep your butter refrigerated until the last minute and use a food processor to combine the ingredients, rather than your hands.

The Kitchn suggests that if you want to be sure that your ingredients are at the right temperature, you should put your flour in the fridge for a few hours before baking the biscuits. If you want to take it to the extreme, you can even dunk your hands in ice water before handling the dough.

Most baked goods require you to preheat the oven, but this step is especially critical with biscuits. Always preheat before baking your biscuits, and to be extra sure that it's hot enough, wait a few more minutes after the oven beeps. Ensuring that your oven is extra hot helps start the process right away, making for the tall, fluffy biscuits you crave.