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Whole Wheat Biscuits (Easy, From Scratch Biscuit Recipe)
Want to make homemade biscuits and gravy totally from scratch? Want to make homemade, freezer-friendly breakfast sandwiches? Just like biscuits? Then this is the recipe for you!Jump to Recipe
Quick Whole Wheat Biscuit Recipe
I’ve been trying my hand at homemade biscuits, off and on, for a few years. For a long time, my attempts were lumpy, boring hockey pucks that refused to rise in the oven.
My homemade biscuits were such a frustration and disappointment that I avoided making Matt’s favorite breakfast as often as possible- biscuits and gravy.
If you’re raising your own pigs, milking your own goats, and cooking most everything from scratch, it’s not a stretch to want to make homemade biscuits and gravy too. Going through the trouble of homemade breakfast sausage, but buying your biscuits, seemed awfully silly.
I swallowed my frustrations the other day, and tackled biscuits again.
To my surprise and delight, they turned out wonderfully.
So I’m sharing my recipe and process here in the hopes that you, dear reader, can also grace your breakfast table with these whole wheat biscuits from scratch.
Ingredients for Whole Wheat Biscuits
Much to my surprise (and relief) biscuits require very few ingredients- all of which you’re sure to have in your pantry already.
The main ingredient in these homemade biscuits is whole wheat flour. You can use your choice in brand, freshly ground, etc. I used my usual Montana Milling Whole Wheat Flour, bought in bulk at the local restaurant store.
Your biscuits will also need some sort of fat. I prefer using butter or lard since both have a lot of fat-soluble vitamins in them and give the biscuits a good flavor.
You’ll need some salt and sugar, to give the biscuits a little more flavor as well.
Baking powder makes these biscuits rise in the oven.
Finally, milk will hold the whole dough together.
Substituting Ingredients for Whole Wheat Biscuits
If you don’t have any whole wheat flour, all purpose flour is a good substitute. Or you can mix a blend of whole wheat and white flours.
As far as substitutes for butter go, lard is probably your best bet. It has a similarly mild flavor and a good texture for baking. Tallow (rendered fat from cattle) is a good substitute, but sometimes has a “meatier” flavor. If you have enough, chicken, duck, or goose fat could work as well. I’ve seen some suggestions for coconut oil as a butter substitute as well, but I haven’t tried it myself. If you can avoid using margarine or “butter-like spreads” I would- both for the health and flavor aspects of your finished biscuits.
I wouldn’t recommend substituting the salt, but you can try adjusting the amount lower or higher to suit your taste preferences.
The sugar can be substituted for an equal amount of brown sugar, or a drizzle of honey, molasses, or maple syrup. Agave, coconut sugar, and other alternative sweeteners may work as well, but I haven’t experimented with them yet.
While you can’t outright skip the baking powder (these biscuits need to rise somehow!) if you’ve run out of baking powder, there is a substitute. Homemade baking powder can be had by combining 1 part baking soda to 1 part cornstarch to 2 parts cream of tartar. Use the same amount of this mix as you would normal baking powder. (So in this recipe, that would be 1 teaspoon each of baking soda and cornstarch, and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar)
Milk is going to lend to the flavor and texture of the finished biscuits significantly, however, you can substitute milk for another liquid. Water would probably be the easiest and yield the most similar biscuit, but broth could work as well. If you’re in a pinch, mixing a little yogurt or sour cream into water can make a decent milk substitute when baking.
From-Scratch, Whole Wheat Biscuit Recipe
With all of that out of the way, you’re probably starting to get a little hungry. Without further ado, here’s my recipe for quick and easy whole wheat biscuits.
Start by assembling your tools (a mixing bowl, a spoon, a measuring cup and spoon, a knife, a biscuit cutter (mine are like this) and a cookie sheet or cast iron pan).
Preheat the oven to 425*F.
Measure out 2 cups of whole wheat flour and pour it into your mixing bowl.
Add ¼ – 1 teaspoon of salt.
Add 4 teaspoons of baking powder.
Add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Mix the dry ingredients together well.
Cut 5 tablespoons of cold butter (or cold lard) into small pieces.
Add the diced butter to the dry ingredients, and give it a little stir.
Pour 1 cup of milk into the flour/butter mixture. Stir thoroughly until everything is combined.
Dump the dough out onto the counter and need it thoroughly for several minutes. (You may need to sprinkle the counter and dough with a little flour if it is too sticky)
After you’ve finished kneading, stretch the dough out by hand so that it is an oval (or blob) about 1” in thickness.
Take your cookie cutter, or drinking glass, and cut out your biscuits. Take the scraps of dough and combine them together again, then stretch out and recut. Continue until you’ve used up the dough. (Or give the last scrap pieces to your toddler to play with- mine seems to think that’s more fun than the biscuits themselves)
Arrange the circles of biscuit dough in your cast iron pan or on your cookie sheet. They can be touching or spaced, they will expand slightly while cooking.
Bake the biscuits for 15-20 minutes (depending on the thickness and diameter of the biscuits). They will have browned on the bottom and have a slightly browned top when done.
Serve immediately with sausage gravy, a fried egg and bacon, or butter and jam.
Store in an airtight container for a few days, or freeze for several months.
Whole Wheat Biscuit Tips
In my previously failed attempts at whole wheat biscuits, I was getting 3 things wrong.
1st, I wasn’t kneading the dough, 2nd, I wasn’t adding any sweetener, and 3rd, I was rolling the dough out far too thin.
So obviously, my first tip is to knead the dough thoroughly. Maybe this isn’t the way to make biscuits, but it’s been giving me the best results.
Second, don’t skip a sweetener of some sort. I think with the whole wheat flour especially, the mouthfeel can be a little more dry or bland than we’d like. Adding a little sweetener (sugar here just to keep it simple) and enough salt seems to help immensely.
Third, don’t bother pulling out a rolling pin. This was something I definitely got wrong in the past. I was trying to get as many biscuits from a batch of dough as I could, and the biscuits ended up being gross, thin, hockey pucks. We’d eat twice as many to make up for how thin they were. Now, I don’t use a rolling pin at all. I just stretch the dough out into a thick (1”) oval by hand as soon as I’ve finished kneading.
A few other things I’ve noticed; cooking in cast iron will make your biscuits cook quicker and the whole wheat biscuits may not brown as well or as clearly as biscuits made with white flours.
What can I use these whole wheat biscuits for?
These whole wheat biscuits can be used for everything that you’d use a “normal” (or store bought) biscuit for.
They are delicious with butter and jam at breakfast. Served alongside a bowl of soup at dinner. Smothered in sausage gravy and topped with a fried egg for biscuits and gravy. Or split and turned into a breakfast sandwich.
How can I store these biscuits?
For short term storage, such as between baking and breakfast, the biscuits will store well and keep warm in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel. For slightly longer storage, an airtight container such as tupperware or a plastic bag is a good option. For longer-term storage, these biscuits will freeze well wrapped in foil or freezer paper and can last several months.
Freezing the biscuits- after combining with bacon or sausage patty, some cheese, and scrambled eggs, then wrapping in foil- is a great way to meal prep breakfasts for the week or for particularly busy seasons in life (such as before the birth of a baby)
What’s the difference between a biscuit and a roll?
Biscuits are generally dense and use baking powder for the leavening agent. Rolls are generally fluffier and use yeast to leaven the dough.
Are biscuits and scones the same thing?
According to Eating Well, the only difference between scones and biscuits is the addition of eggs to the recipe. I would also point out that scones are generally shaped differently than biscuits, and often have add-ins such as nuts, dried fruit, and an icing. On the whole, scones are generally sweeter and biscuits are generally more plain. Both are, of course, delicious.
What can I use to cut out the biscuits?
Specially made biscuit cutters, such as these, are made just for the purpose of cutting out biscuit dough. The rim of a drinking glass, a canning jar, or the ring from a canning jar can also substitute. So can cookie cutters or doughnut cutters.
Why are biscuits round?
In my estimation, biscuits are probably round for 2 main reasons. The first being tradition; biscuits have always been round so why change now. The second reason, so far as I can tell, is that a round biscuit will bake more evenly than a square biscuit will- no corners or edges to burn or brown prematurely.
Are biscuits vegan?
These whole wheat biscuits, if made following my recipe without substitutions, are not vegan because they contain butter (a by-product of milk) and milk. You can, however, make biscuits vegan quite easily by substituting the milk for a vegan alternative, and the butter for a plant-derived fat (such as coconut oil).
With a batch of whole wheat biscuits baking away, now’s a great time to learn how to make your own breakfast sausage. (It is the secret to phenomenal homemade biscuits and gravy- find my recipe here). Once you’ve made the breakfast sausage, a little flour and milk- and the biscuits- are all you need to make your own better-than-a-restaurant B&G.
If whole wheat biscuits aren’t your thing, but you still need a versatile carb-y staple, why not try a basic yeast bread? It’s easier than it sounds- you can find my recipe here.
Whole Wheat Biscuits- In Conclusion
I hope that you’ve enjoyed making, and eating, these whole wheat biscuits. They are a delicious addition to many a breakfast, and a fun kitchen skill to have.
If you gave this recipe a try, tag me on Instagram, @EmigrantFarms- I’d love to see how they turned out!
Thanks for reading and happy homesteading!
Whole Wheat Biscuits
- Mixing bowl and spoon
- Measuring cup, spoon
- Cast iron pan or cookie sheet
- Biscuit cutter (Or drinking glass, cookie cutter, etc.)
- 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 cup Butter Cold
- 1 cup Milk
- Flour Additional, for rolling
- Preheat oven to 425*F
- Combine flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in bowl. Stir to combine.
- Cut butter into small pieces, approx. 1/4". Add diced butter to dry ingredients, stirring to combine.
- Add milk to dry ingredients/butter mixture. Stir thoroughly to form a dough that cleans the sides of the bowl.
- Pour biscuit dough out onto counter. Knead for several minutes until dough is smooth and combined completely. Add additional flour to dough and countertop as needed to prevent sticking.
- Stretch dough out by hand to form an oval-like shape that is 1" in thickness.
- Use the biscuit cutter to cut out biscuit shapes. Recombine scraps, stretch out, and cut again. Repeat until all dough has been used.
- Arrange cut out biscuit dough in cast iron pan or on cookie sheet. The biscuits will expand slightly while cooking.
- Bake for 12 - 20 minutes, depending on thickness and diameter of biscuits. Tops and bottoms will be browned slightly.
- Serve with butter and jam, sausage gravy, bacon and eggs, etc.
- Store in air tight container on the counter for up to a week, or in the freezer for several months.