Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits
Easy whole wheat biscuits made with 100% whole grains! These biscuits can be made in less than 30 minutes, making them the perfect side for breakfast, soups, and main courses.
Why biscuits today? Why the heck not. I’ve actually been meaning to share this easy, whole wheat biscuit recipe with you for so long (read: years).
I have a very outdated biscuit recipe on this site that needed some love, so here is the new and improved version! As you might have noticed over the past few months, I’m making a greater effort to share more whole grain baked goods this year!
Desserts are not my main weakness in life. Whether this is due to spending hours upon hours baking them in my previous life, I just don’t crave them all that often. Shocking, I know. Carbs (and other savory things) on other hand? Give me all of them.
Bread, pasta, side grains. I can’t imagine a life without ’em. I still believe there is a time and place for all-purpose flour, but if I can prepare baked goods in whole grain form, I’m all for it! Starting with these biscuits…
These biscuits are 100% whole wheat, believe it or not! Traditional buttermilk biscuits are probably the last thing that people imagine in whole wheat form. There is something special about a true Southern buttermilk biscuit and I won’t deny that one bit.
But you’d be amazed just how fluffy whole grain biscuits can be too. In fact, they actually have a more nuanced flavor due to the addition of the bran, germ, and endosperm (which are removed from traditional all-purpose flours).
What is Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?
The trick? Whole wheat pastry flour. Not to be confused with traditional whole wheat flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is made with fine soft wheat, whereas whole wheat flour is made with hard red wheat. My favorite brand of whole wheat pastry flour is made by Bob’s Red Mill.
This difference is critical, because whole wheat pastry flour has a significantly lower protein count than whole wheat flour. Whole wheat pastry flour ranges from 9%-10% in protein percentage, and whole wheat flour is ranges from 12% – 15%, depending on the brand. They are equally as nutritious as the other, but this protein range greatly affects the texture of baked goods. This post on different types of flour goes into this concept in depth.
When liquids are added to these proteins (in this case, cold buttermilk), glutens are formed. Gluten provides the structure, among other factors, for baked goods (which is why gluten-free baking is so tricky).
For tender baked goods, such as biscuits, cakes, and pastries, there is a fine balance. If too much gluten is formed, pastries and other dedicate baked goods, such as biscuits and cakes, can become dense and tough.
Whole wheat pastry flour is just as nutritious as regular whole wheat flour, and is my go-to whole grain flour for baking for all of these reasons. If you’ve never baked with whole grains before, I highly recommend grabbing a bag of whole wheat pastry flour and trying it!
You’ll be amazed by the results. These biscuits (and this lemon poppy seed loaf cake) are evidence of how fluffy and tender whole grain baked goods can be when used properly!
Can I just add that these biscuits would be a fantastic addition to your breakfast or brunch plans this weekend? Which should totally include this chorizo potato hash eggs benedict with cilantro hollandaise.
Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits
- 2 cups (240 g) whole wheat pastry flour plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (2 oz) very cold unsalted butter cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 cup (236 mL) cold buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) with a rack in the center position. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cold butter and toss in the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is pea sized. Place the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to chill.
- Remove the flour mixture from the freezer. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Using a wooden spoon, stir the buttermilk into the flour mixture until just absorbed. The dough will seem slightly wet.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop. Knead the dough 4 to 5 times until it comes together, dusting the dough lightly with flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking to the countertop.
- Pat the dough gently with your hands into a disc that is roughly 1-inch thick. Fold the dough over itself 2 to 3 times, this will help create layers. Dip a 2½-inch-diameter biscuit cutter in flour and cut out the biscuits. Do not twist the biscuit cutter as you cut the dough, this will prevent the scones from rising evenly. Transfer the biscuits to the sheet pan, setting them apart. Gently press and knead any remaining biscuit dough (avoid overworking) and repeat to make roughly 10 biscuits total.
- Place the biscuits in the oven and immediately increase the oven temperature to 450°F (230°C). Bake until lightly golden, about 9 to 11 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Biscuits are best served hot out of the oven, sliced, and with a little bit of salted butter.
Tips for Success:
- If you want slightly lighter and taller biscuits, substitute half of the whole wheat pastry flour with regular all-purpose flour.
- It is important to use very cold ingredients when working with biscuit dough. Try to avoid over-working if at all possible, as this will affect the rise and texture of the biscuits.
30 Comments on “Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits”
Delicious! I followed the recipe with no changes and promptly ate two when they came out of the oven. This is my first experience with whole wheat pastry flour and I appreciated your explanation of how it’s different from regular whole wheat flour. I’ll be making these biscuits again!
Can I substitute heavy cream for the buttermilk?
You could try doing the buttermilk hack, but no, it would affect the leavening as buttermilk has acid / cream does not. I don’t recommend that substitute for this recipe, as it would yield more of a scone than a biscuit (and again, the leavening would need adjustment).
Made this recipe and I would halve the salt.
Hi Nuny! I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt for all of my recipes – other brands of salt will vary dramatically in density and could result in recipes tasting too “salty”.
Hi there, can you advise a substitute for buttermilk?
Typically some yogurt thinned with milk or milk (with some lemon juice) is the best substitute, but for something like biscuits where the consistency and ingredients are few, I really don’t recommend making this substitute!
I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand so I just made my own and these still turned out amazing. I just put butter on them straight from the oven but some apple butter or honey would have been even better. This is my go to recipe for biscuits from now on ❤
Excellent biscuits. we enjoyed them! love using whole wheat pastry flour!
I would love to try this recipe, but I don’t have whole wheat pastry flour. I do have white whole wheat flour. Can I substitute white whole wheat flour for the whole wheat pastry flour. If I have to use some all purpose flour, instead of all white whole wheat flour, can you tell me how much of each flour I should use. Thank you.
You could substitute white whole wheat, but you’d be better off using all purpose – as white whole wheat has a higher protein percentage and it can yield tougher biscuits. Pastry flour is preferred because it’s lower in protein than regular all purpose. You can substitute equal parts all purpose for pastry flour. Hope this helps!
Hey, thanks for the great recipe! I recently received a NutriMill Plus grain mill and milled soft wheat pastry flour that I used to make the biscuits. They were soooo good! I’m really making an effort to go whole grain as much as I possibly can and I love biscuits, but I never imagined that I would like whole wheat biscuits.
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Can you do say one cup pastry/cake flour and one cup whole wheat? Well I will let you know in a minute actually!! Stay tuned…
A little less flaky but one thing it did do with the denser flour was held pockets of butter which melted with each bite that had one. They were not bad for a gray mid term election day and made great use of the remaining buttermilk and cake flour that I and from my sons birthday butter yellow cake. Thanks for the general guide on the recipe it was yummy!! I am usually intimidated by kneading or rolling recipes. I love to bake and I am pretty good at it if I do say so myself so I need to get out of my comfort zone and try things that intimidate me…This was one step in that direction! Delicious everyone try this for sure quicker than you would expect and waaay better than any canned biscuit!!
Oh My Goodness! These are the best whole wheat biscuits ever! All I had that was whole wheat was pastry flour so my search led me here and I am so thankful. As the recipe says, my dough was very wet (and it was raining outside) so I added a little more flour, probably 1/4 C – a couple of Tbs at a time. But they came out light and fluffy and delicious! – not at all like the door stops I’ve made in the past. This one’s a keeper!
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I need a biscuit recipe with as low of sodium as possible! Can you help me? My brother has liver failure and can’t have much sodium but loves biscuits. Thanks in advance
Hi Penny, feel free to just reduce the salt as much as you want from any biscuit recipe (this one or others!) to fit your brother’s dietary needs – it doesn’t play a structural role in this type of baked good. Hope this helps!
These sound amazing! Thank you for health-ifying one of my favorite foods! 🙂
I was also curious, what background are you using in the first photo? I love it!
I love biscuits. These look yummy!
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Biscuits make me happy… and these look divine! Yup, these are in my breakfast future!
Yum! Maybe I can convince your oldest sister to make these this weekend! If not, making these when I get home! Yes, I think whole wheat pastry flour is wonderful!
Biscuits are the beeeeeeeest!
YEAHHH! Biscuits for the win!! Thee loook amaizing! Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning! 🙂
Love these biscuits!!!! So yummy. I freeze them and then warm them up in the toaster oven when I want one.
YUM. I love biscuits and am always looking for EASY. Happy weekend!
I love all kinds of biscuits, will try these out 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe!