Overnight Biscuits?

Reader Tracey writes:

I’d like to take [your American] biscuits to work, but don’t want to get up at the crack o’ dawn to do them. Have you ever tried making the dough the night before and cutting them, then wrapping & fridging, and baking in the a.m.?

Tracey, I have never done that but here’s no reason that wouldn’t work! Since the dough will be wet all night you’ll lose some of the baking powder’s oomph, though less than you’d think since modern baking powders are formulated such they don’t react as much when they get wet. Most of the pop is reserved for when it gets hot. (For those of you who may not remember, “double acting” baking powder is so-named because it reacts once when it gets wet and once again when it gets hot). That said you might want to look closely at the rise and if it’s less than you normally get, add a little more baking powder the next time.

At my old bakery we used to make large batches of muffin batter and keep it in buckets in the walk-in. Even though it was leavened with baking powder it held all week. We’d just portion the cold batter into muffin pans with ice cream scoops and bake it off. Easy!

15 thoughts on “Overnight Biscuits?”

  1. I’ve never found that biscuits take that long to make, actually – I usually have them mixed and cut in the time it takes the oven to preheat.

    1. Hey Jane!

      Very good point. I was thinking about that and I decided that it takes me half an hour to make fresh biscuits from the time I pull out the mixing bowl to the moment I pull them out of the oven. I could cut that to ten if they were pre-mixed and cut in the fridge. I may just try that soon, though of course I’ll need to get the oven heating before I get in the shower! It’ll be a fun thing to try!

      Thanks for the comment!

      – Joe

  2. I like to take biscuits (we call them scones down here in NZ) to work too. My strategy for cutting down the time in the morning is to get all the ingredients organised the night before – weighed and measured – then when I get up in the morning I pretend I’m on a cooking show and my assistant has prepped for me – and quickly make the scones – sad isn’t it ? But a good way to quickly bake in the morning . Cheers 🙂

    1. There’s nothing like do-ahead prep, Heather! I’m a fan of it, since mixing is always the most laborious step for me!

      Thanks for the terrific idea!

      – Joe

  3. I am a new reader and I love your blog! I have always cut my biscuits and then frozen them. Then anytime I want to serve them for breakfast, I’ll just bake them from frozen. I started doing that after I realized I was freezing scones and it worked so well for them.

    1. Wonderful, Kristen!

      And welcome! Please come back often! That’s a fascinating technique. Do you find you get a similar rise compared to un-frozen dough?


      – Joe

  4. When I know I’ll be in a hurry in the morning I always mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients, in two separate bowls the night before so they’re ready to mix together in the morning. When the recipe calls for cutting in butter to the dry ingredients I do that too– not enough moisture in the butter to interfere with the baking powder, and it saves a lot of time. All you have to do in the morning is stir, cut, and bake.

    1. Another great idea! Thanks very much, Tanya. Pre-cutting the butter is inspired!

      – Joe

  5. Just came across your blog this afternoon, and was enjoying reading the posts and comments. I have two comments/suggestions about the overnight biscuits question. For years, I used to use my food processor to make multiple batches of biscuit mix – all of the dry ingredients and the butter – and would keep them in the freezer. When you want fresh biscuits, it’s easy to take out a baggie, add milk, and make biscuits. I stopped doing that when the same friend who taught me that showed me her father in law’s recipe – two ingredient biscuits. Self-rising flour and heavy cream (2:1 proportions) – and you have fabulous, delicious biscuits in almost no time. I can even make them for my kids on a school day, they’re so fast.

  6. Hi Joe ~ love your blog, have tried many many many recipes! Question regarding biscuits of the buttermilk/butter variety. Since I bake only for 2, I have made full recipes, cut out the biscuits, baked a few and wrapped the others up for the freezer. When I need them I pull a few out and bake them directly from the freezer, which has worked great. But recently I’ve noticed that when I bake them up the outsides form a very hard crust, they still rise and taste good but are almost difficult to eat. I’ve baked them in both standard and convention, and last time tried letting them thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking with the same results. Have even tried different biscuit recipes, same results. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. A crust you say…very interesting. Has anything changed that you’re aware of? Flour?

      How thick is the crust? That’s a bit of an oddity!

      – Joe

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