Whole-grain biscuits: tender, buttery, AND wheat-free

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Now, isn’t this just the picture of a perfect whole-grain biscuit?

Not only that, it’s a whole-grain, wheat-free, gluten-free biscuit.

Hold on, now. I know we’ve been paying a lot of attention to gluten-free baking lately, but just because you don’t NEED to bake gluten-free, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try anyway.

Lots of GF baking is pretty darned tasty. And these biscuits, based on five different whole grains, are a prime example.

I have to admit, I scoffed. Whole-grain biscuits? If there’s ever a time you want to dig into your canister of white flour, biscuits is it.

Lots of folks go a step further, claiming only soft bleached flour makes a good biscuit. I can’t go that far, since I’ve seen how flour is bleached (by guys wearing protective suits, hats, and masks, pouring powdered bleach into freshly milled flour. No thanks.).

But after tasting these biscuits – being forced to taste them, if the truth be told – well, just like The Monkees, I’m a believer.

That nicely crunchy exterior. The soft inner crumb, its network of tunnels just waiting for the application of soft butter.

And the taste – not a hint of whole wheat’s sometimes tannic “bite.” Just smooth, rich, nutty flavor.

Heck, I’d even make these biscuits if I wasn’t going for something whole grain or gluten-free – they’re that good.

And if you do happen to be baking for someone avoiding gluten… or trying to add an array of wheat-free whole grains to your diet in the nicest possible way, you’ve found the ideal recipe: Ancient Grains Biscuits.

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Our King Arthur gluten-free flour mix combines stabilized brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch in an easy-to-use, versatile GF blend.

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It’s sometimes tough to get fiber and whole grains into a gluten-free diet. Our Ancient Grains Flour Blend is a mix of four whole-grain GF flours, perfect for higher-fiber GF baking.

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So, here are the three grains that go into these biscuits (clockwise from top left): our King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour; yellow cornmeal; and our Ancient Grains Flour Blend.

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Oh, and one more must-have (which I’m sure you already have, if you’ve done any GF baking) – xanthan gum. It helps hold everything together, in the absence of gluten.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.

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Put the following in a mixing bowl:

3/4 cup Ancient Grains Flour Blend
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or brown rice flour blend
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

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Whisk everything together, then add 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter.

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Work in the butter till the mixture is unevenly crumbly.

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In a separate bowl – or a 2-cup measuring cup –  whisk together 3/4 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1 large egg.

Though real maple syrup is expensive, it’s also much sweeter and stronger than fake maple syrup. I actually enjoy the artificial stuff on my pancakes; after all, it’s the flavor most of us grew up with, because whose parents could afford real maple syrup back in the day? But for baking? I turn to my strong Grade B maple syrup. It’s especially delicious in homemade granola, where it really shines.

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OK, back to our regularly scheduled program. Buttermilk, egg, and syrup, nice and smooth.

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Add to the butter/dry ingredients in the bowl.

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Stir together till just combined. The dough will be very wet; use a bowl scraper to  scrape the sides of the bowl, bringing all the dough down to the bottom.

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Scoop out the dough in golf ball-sized portions. I’m using a generously filled tablespoon cookie scoop here.

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Drop onto the prepared baking sheet.

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The ridged bottom of our USA Pans cookie sheet is perfect for biscuits, allowing air to flow underneath for crispier bottom crusts.

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Bake the biscuits for 12 to 14 minutes, until they’re light golden brown.

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Remove them from the oven.

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Serve warm. Preferably with soft butter.

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And jam. Or apricot preserves, my favorite.

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Whole grains, gluten-free… I’m a long-time fan of full-gluten, all-purpose white flour, but these are truly delicious.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Ancient Grains Biscuits.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Sandy

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this GF recipe! I make a mean Sausage Gravy but have not found a good g-free biscuit recipe. Now I absolutely must order the 2 flours featured so I can make these for my adult daughter, who is Celiac and must eat g-free. Will also have my daughter-in-law check this page out so she can make these for my son and grandaughter who are both Celiac and eat g-free. Again, thank you!!

    Reply
  2. Anne

    Is the gluten free mix all whole grain? I’d have thought the tapioca and potato flours were refined, and would be delighted if I’m wrong!
    Hi Anne,
    I checked with Andrea in the test kitchen and she says while there are whole grains in the GF flour, it as a whole is not considered a whole grain flour. Hope this helps! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. EY

    Could you leave out the xanthan gum? I know it helps with viscosity and it’s not as artificial as it sounds, but I just can’t get comfortable with it. Xanthan gum is what provides the structure to replace the gluten structure. I don’t think it would work to omit it. Mary@ KAf

    Reply
  4. Kim

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve recently eliminated gluten from my diet, but biscuits are the thing I’ve been missing the most. Can’t wait to give these a try!

    Reply
  5. Sidney

    I’m excited to try this recipe as I love biscuits, but having gone gluten-free has prevented me from enjoying them.
    I was wondering, could this recipe be used to make monkey bread…..since past monkey bread recipes I’ve made used the Pillsbury biscuits that came in a can.
    Would this recipe work for a gluten-free version if rolled into balls and baked on top of each other in a bundt pan?

    You can’t really roll the sticky dough into balls, Sidney. But you could definitely plop little balls into coating, then pile them atop each other. I think it would be just fine. Probably best not to make too many layers; two layers would be preferable to three, I think. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  6. Robin in Washington

    Wow! If they’re half as good as the picture, I’m sold!!!! Thank you for this great recipe. It looks easy too!!

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Wheat Berry Tuna Salad

  8. Mike T.

    Okay, just got my KAF order (AGFB and Xanthan Gum) from the UPS man and whipped up a batch! A bit small, but the two-bite size is really good for a mid-afternoon snack! I used Agave Nectar instead of the maple syrup and while it was just the right amount of sweet, I can imagine the added depth the maple would have given it, next time… I also went to grab my yellow cornmeal and found I only had white enriched mix in the house (has wheat flour in it). I was a bit disappointed but forged ahead anyway. I think it probably added some softness and structure to it, so I’ll have to get some cornmeal and (darn it!) try again… :-)

    Overall, excellent, highly recommended here!

    Reply
  9. Eileen

    I left some of this in my rating but expanded on it here. We enjoyed these very much! The texture was very Southern: tender, flaky, buttery very slightly cake-y in the best way. The corn flavor dominated much more than expected. When we remake I’ll half the corn & sub the rest with sorghum. We used masa harina cornmeal for fine texture but it was still a bit crunchy. We liked the texture contrast but if you don’t you can pre-soak in the buttermilk for 30 min & add those together. I used the brown rice flour blend but when I measured out for the recipe I subbed in 3 tbs sweet white rice flour to better approximate the KAF blend & increase moisture retention. That worked great. We didn’t have maple syrup so I subbed Lyle’s Golden, a caramel tasting syrup. It’s very slight finishing bitter note went well with the sweet corn flavor. Split & toasted these made great strawberry shortcakes!

    Thanks for sharing your tweaks, Eileen – and great idea about strawberry shortcake! PJH

    Reply
  10. Eileen

    Glad you liked the info, PJ! Now that I read my last comment I realize I didn’t make clear about the brown rice flour blend I used. It was made with KAF’s GF brown rice flour, potato starch & tapioca starch, and those were terrific. The brown rice flour in particular was noticeably finer than even the superfine brown rice flour from other sources. And, I left the mix in a counter top canister but it was still in good shape. Yay, stabilization! I got the ingredients instead of the pre-mixed so I could adjust the mix a little for different food types (i.e. sweet white rice flour for closer grained crumb or Expandex for slightly more open but still cakey crumb). Thanks for the great products!

    Reply
  11. Charles Luce

    These look great. I’m going to try adding amaranth and quinoa flours to my biscuit recipe. I like to shorten biscuits with 2/3 butter 1/3 coconut oil (refrigerated to make a semi-solid) then serve with strawberries as a “fake” shortcake. I have a question for you: I’ve been pinching in the shortening in an effort to obtain a flaky crust (a la pie crust) but can’t really tell if this helps. Should it? Thanks, and check out my website!
    To get the best of both worlds, flaky and tender, cut in half of your chosen fat until the particles are fairly small, like granola. Then cut in the rest of the fat in larger pieces and flatten them out into flakes. Be sure to chill everything well before you bake. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. Faith McTigue

    What a pleasant surprise to see Gluten Free Flour on your site. Several years ago I wanted to take a bread making class and then found that I was allergic to Gluten, what a disappointment! So, is there now a possible GF class in my future?
    We have had one GF class so far, and may have another sometime. It’s a bit tricky to offer, as the facility is not gluten free, but we sure do have it on our radar, so keep checking! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  13. Tal

    Can I replace the ancient grain flour with the KA gluten free flour?

    Yes, you should be able to do that. But, since we haven’t tested it – no “for sure” guarantees. Let us know how it works out for you – PJH

    Reply
  14. dcmccoy12

    I don’t have a question, but I would like to share with you, your recipe.
    First of all, the recipe was just great, taste,texture,smell, however, I did change it a bit.
    I left out the Ancient Grains Flour blend, and added more of the brown rice flour blend. I also used #16 ice cream scoop. It made 9 good size biscuits. they were just wonderful, the next time i make them, I will use a very fine brown rice flour blend to see if it wouldn’t make it a little lighter texture. thanks Diane

    Diane, thanks for your feedback here, and for sharing your tweaks with all of us. Interesting recipe, isn’t i? PJH

    Reply
  15. PatWal

    Thanks so much KAF for providing your gluten-free products and recipes. These do look delicious, but unfortunately I’m allergic to corn as well as wheat. Could I substitute a different grain that is also milled a coarser texture (such as amaranth, teff or oat) or is there something in the cornmeal chemistry that makes this recipe work?
    I think any of those in flour form would work great in the place of cornmeal. Report back to us the results! Elisabeth

    Reply
  16. Lee

    Could you substiture arrowroot or unflavored gelatin for the xanthan gum ? I omit gum in muffins, biscuits, scones that has nut butter, pureed stuff (pumpkin, sweet potatoes, fruit or honey).

    I’m not quite sure how this will work with either of these replacements. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  17. Adrienne

    These look great, I can’t wait to try them. I would also like to try a savory GF biscuit–to go with soups or dinners. Is there any reason I couldn’t omit the maple syrup and throw in some cheese?

    Thanks for the great GF recipes KAF has been posting (and pinning). The Brazilian cheese buns? Amazing!

    No reason I can think of Adrienne – go for it. And yes, I LOVE those Brazilian cheese buns – as does everyone who tries them, those eating GF or no. PJH

    Reply
  18. Sue

    Oh yummy, these are de-lish! I did not have the Ancient Grains on hand so I substituted with the King Arthur G.F. Whole Grain Flour Blend. I can’t remember a time when after each bite of eating something g.f. I said “mmmmm”. I must go now and share this link with my peeps. :)

    Reply
  19. Ernestine

    Is there a substitute for the maple syrup? I am one who does NOT like sweet anything in a savory dish. I save sweet for desserts.

    Sure, Ernestine, substitute additional buttermilk for the syrup. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You might try replacing the cornmeal with another coarsely ground flour or nut meal. ~Jaydl@KAF

  20. Seywhut

    Hi. If you are on a wheat free “wheat belly” diet – this is not appropriate. You can’t have grains. This is made from brown rice. That’s a no-no. And potato starch and all that fun stuff that are no-no’s for dieting. Gotta give up those biscuits kids! No breads of any kind. Sorry. If you want to be thinner and healthier you gotta get rid of the crap. And this is considered crap. Sorry. This is not the answer to your prayers.
    Corn meal comes from corn which is high in fructose. Maple syrup, even sugar free, is really high is sucrose and fructose. A big no-no!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello! Sorry to hear that this recipe is not appropriate for your diet. We try to provide gluten free (and wheat free) recipes for those that are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. Many people wish to continue to eat the foods they love and we do our best to oblige. Hopefully, other sources will have recipes that work better for you. Happy baking! Jon@KAF

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