A superior method for better baking results!
I spent years trying to figure out why I couldn’t make cheese biscuits as well as my mother-in-law. After all, she had given me her recipe… or so I thought. Well, it turns out that “mix all together, cut into circles and bake in a hot oven until done” is not really enough information to make a light, flaky delicious biscuit. After much tinkering, I’ve come up with what I feel is a superior method to her abbreviated one and the resulting biscuits are, indeed, delicious. You can mix together the dry ingredients, butter and cheese ahead of time and transfer to an airtight container to store in the refrigerator or freezer. When ready to bake, it will take just a few moments to stir in the buttermilk and cut the biscuits so they are ready for the oven.
- 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons (20 mL) baking powder
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) white sugar
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional but delicious)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) very cold salted butter (measure then freeze for 10 minutes)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Cheddar
- 2/3 cup (160 mL) buttermilk *
* create buttermilk by mixing 2/3 cup (160 mL) room temperature milk with 2 teaspoons (10 mL) white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and let sit 5 minutes then refrigerate until needed.
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place flour, baking powder, sugar and cayenne (if using) in a large mixing bowl.
- Grate the cold butter into the bowl and toss with your fingers to combine. Add cheese and toss again.
- Add milk and stir quickly to form a shaggy dough. If it is difficult to incorporate all the flour, add a bit of water, one teaspoon (5 mL) at a time (but no more than 4 teaspoons / 20 mL).
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and VERY gently fold 4 – 5 times to pull mixture together into a ball.
- Use your hands to pat mixture down into a rectangle of 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thickness.
- Cut with a 2” (5 cm) circle cutter and place on prepared baking tray. As you cut, take care not to twist the cutter as you press down on the dough or as you pull the cutter up out of the dough. A clean cut will keep the biscuit’s layers from getting compressed; as a result it will puff up higher and more evenly in the oven.
- Alternatively, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) squares with a very sharp knife.
- Shape scraps into a ball, pat down again and cut additional biscuits. These may not rise as much as those in the first cutting, but they’ll still be delicious.
- Bake in the preheated oven 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown on top.
- Remove tray from oven and transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Makes 12 to 15 biscuits.