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I love biscuits and have made many. The one thing that gets me is cutting the butter. I have used several different approaches with varying degrees of success. What works for you.

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It'd be helpful if you edit in which approaches you've tried, and what you did/did not like about each. We're a question-and-answer site, not a discussion site. –  derobert Oct 9 '12 at 16:05

4 Answers 4

I love using a pastry cutter, something like this:

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It does the best job cutting butter or shortening into flour. Every now and again while using it I use a fork or butter knife to remove the big blockages.

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I usually use my hands, working on soft butter chopping small pieces with my fingers.

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Using your hands is a bad idea. The heat from your hands will, in time, melt the butter making your biscuits less flaky. Besides, karate chopping butter is difficult to boot. –  Jake Robinson Oct 9 '12 at 18:49
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@Jake- This technique has its place and isn't a bad idea. It is done with the fingertips to limit melting and is more of a rubbing motion. It is less flaky because some of the fat is rubbed in but sometimes that is desirable for a more tender product. –  Sobachatina Oct 9 '12 at 20:04

I used to use a pastry cutter, but it was hard work and a pain in the butt clearing the blockages. So I switched to using a food processor.

It's so much quicker, and providing you cut the cold butter into 1x5cm sticks, it yields perfect results with just a few pulses.

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I have to agree with this method. It is quick and easy. –  Jake Robinson Oct 9 '12 at 18:51
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Having no dishwasher, I find removing blockages easier than washing out a food processor by hand. But I do agree that otherwise it is quick. –  lemontwist Oct 9 '12 at 19:08
    
I don't have a dishwasher. Hot water works wonders on butter –  ElendilTheTall Oct 9 '12 at 20:15

One, cut up your butter into small cubes, then freeze it on a plate. The colder you keep the butter the better the result. Then, if you have one, use a food processor to cut the butter into the flour. I don't have one, so I use a cutter, then finish it with my fingertips. If I feel the butter is getting too warm I'll put the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes.

I've found that as important as the cutting is the flour I use. The lower the protein content the better. That, and work the dough as little as humanly possible to avoid gluten chains.

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