A 'Top Chef' finalist known for his biscuits shares how to make a mouth-watering, flaky batch for the holidays

Chef Chris Scott of Butterfunk and Top Chef
Chef Chris Scott.Courtesy of Chris Scott
  • Chris Scott, co-founder of Butterfunk Biscuit Co., was a "Top Chef" finalist and former contestant on "The Great Soul Food Cook-Off."

  • Scott spoke to Insider and shared his tips for making the perfect biscuits this holiday season.

  • He suggested that bakers upgrade their biscuits with tasty add-ins like cheese and scallions.

A holiday meal is seldom complete without a basket of flaky, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits to sop up the delicious fusion of flavors on a plate, but making biscuits can be challenging. That's why Insider spoke with Chef Chris Scott for his insights and expertise.

Scott is based in New York City and co-founded Butterfunk Kitchen in 2016 before it became Butterfunk Biscuit Co. at Manhattanville Market in June 2021. He teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education and appeared as a finalist on Bravo's "Top Chef" in season 15.

Getty Image photo of two biscuits
Chef Chris Scott owns the popular Manhattan restaurant Butterfunk Biscuit Co.Keiko Iwabuchi/Getty Images

Scott competed on "The Great Soul Food Cook-Off" on the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2021 and published a cookbook titled "Homage: Recipes and Stories from an Amish Soul Food Kitchen in September 2022.

Make sure to cut the dough with a clean, sharp edge that won't hinder it from rising properly.

Biscuit in a black skillet alongside dough
Chef Chris Scott advised bakers to be careful when using a biscuit cutter to ensure the edges don't seal.Rudisill/Getty Images

Per NYT Cooking, a typical biscuit recipe calls for all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cold butter, and milk.

Some bakers use a biscuit cutter or a glass cup to form their dough, but Scott told Insider that he relies on a bench scraper to get the best trim.

"I don't use a cutter because they seem to press down on the sides of the biscuit and sometimes will even seal them so they won't really rise," Scott said. "I either use a bench scraper — and believe it or not — I once went to Home Depot and got a spackle cutter."

Scott emphasized that all-purpose flour is great for everyday use, but bakers can upgrade biscuit recipes by using flour with less protein.

A sifter full of flour
Low-protein flours typically stay between 5% to 10%.Yulia Naumenko/Getty Images

Scott advised using flour with less protein for an upscale biscuit recipe.

According to the Food Network, flours with less protein — 5% to 10% — are considered "soft wheat" and can provide flaky, tender dimensions to biscuits. Common low-protein options include cake flour and self-rising flour.

"You can use sorghum and add that to your flour to make it a bit more upscale as well," Scott added.


Chilled butter will get the job done, but Crisco and cold lard can help biscuits sop up heavy gravy and hold heavier foods.

Biscuit and melted butter
Ingredients like Crisco can help biscuits handle heavy foods and gravy.LauriPatterson/Getty Images

There's nothing worse than a biscuit crumbling before it ever reaches your mouth, but there is one simple way to fix that.

"Let's say you're making biscuits that are going to go with gravy or are going to be bread for the table alongside heavier foods like chicken or ham," Scott said. "The lard in those biscuits will give it more fat and body so when you're sopping up juices it lends its flavor and texture to all those sauces as well."

It's a common mistake for bakers to overwork the dough during the lamination process, so Scott told Insider he sticks to 3 folds.

Man holding folded dough in the kitchen.
Many biscuit and baked goods recipes call for bakers to laminate the dough with butter.Mint Images/Getty Images

Laminating dough is the process of folding butter into dough several times to create alternating layers of butter and dough.

"You don't want to overwork the dough in the beginning part because you're going to wear it out with all the folds," Scott said. "You want to work fast and have all your ingredients cold because the more that they heat up, the less of a uniform rise and layers that you'll get in the final product."

Elevate biscuit recipes with easy add-ins like cheese and different glazes.

Biscuit covered in gravy and bacon bits on a green plate.
Bakers can use tasty add-ins like cheese and scallions to boost flavor.Royalty-free/Getty Images

While gravy has stood the test of time as a biscuit topping, there are other ways to take recipes from basic to mouth-watering. Scott's restaurant, Butterfunk Biscuit Co., serves a host of dressed-up biscuits, from pulled pork to fried chicken.

"People can glaze them with different things or use honey butter," Scott said. "Back at the restaurant, I'll make a bunch of spreads from clotted cream to pumpkin butter, apple butter preserves, and more."

"As far as putting things inside, cheese and scallions are always a wonderful thing," Scott said.

He added that he's been working on a pretzel biscuit that can be paired with chicken, coleslaw, and other ingredients.

Read the original article on Insider