Biscuits aren’t hard to veganize, and they’re not even hard to make…but they’re hard to figure out if you missed the Southern memo! This recipe for vegan biscuits is dedicated to all the lost biscuits in your life–the hockey pucks, the ill-textured, the misfits. Once you learn their secrets, no biscuit in your home will be left behind.
Secret #1 is the right flour. This one’s cut and dry–just get White Lily self-rising flour, a soft (low protein) winter wheat that’s ideal for fluffy biscuits. The White Lily self-rising flour has the leavening and salt already mixed in, simplifying the preparation and reducing potential for mistakes. If you can’t find White Lily flour at your store, you can order it off Amazon. King Arthur also has a low protein, unbleached self-rising flour that might do the trick–I haven’t tried it yet, so please leave me a comment if you have!
Secret #2 is temperature. This dough needs to be cold. You want to refrigerate everything–the flour, shortening, soy milk, mixing bowl, pastry blender, and biscuit cutter. I put these items in the fridge the night before, and sometimes I even put the pre-measured flour in the freezer! Once you bring these ingredients and equipment out of the fridge, work quickly.
Secret #3 is to treat the dough like crystal. The dough will be so shaggy, sticky, and hard to work with that you’ll think you’ve done something wrong. You haven’t. Don’t give in to the urge to overwork the dough or try to make it look uniform at any stage. To cope with the stickiness, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. The few times you touch it, flour your hands first and sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough. It’ll still stick to your fingers, but not as much. Dip the biscuit cutter in flour before you cut out each biscuit.
Secret #4 is to push the biscuit cutter straight down into the dough when you cut out the biscuits. Never twist the cutter.
Secret #5 is to let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes before baking. This will really increase the rise and fluffiness. Once I’ve cut out the biscuits and put them on the baking sheet, I put the whole thing in the fridge.
I’ve adapted White Lily’s Light and Fluffy Biscuits recipe.
How I Made It Vegan
I just replaced the milk/buttermilk with unsweetened soy milk. I tried using vegan sour milk once, but for the extra trouble I didn’t notice a difference in taste or texture.
I don’t grease my baking sheet with cooking spray as in the original recipe. Although most cooking sprays can hold up to high temperature cooking, we’re talking about a 500F oven here. That’s well past the smoke point of canola or vegetable oil, and smoking oil neither smells good nor is good for you. Just bake the biscuits on an ungreased shiny metal baking sheet–they won’t stick.
I also chill all my ingredients as well as the mixing equipment, sift the flour, add the milk using a different method, gently pat the dough down instead of rolling it out (again, want to treat that dough like crystal), refrigerate the raw biscuits prior to baking, and call for a longer baking time.