Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cheddar Parmesan Biscuits

Since I make all of the bread that we eat, it is nice to have a variety of options, both for taste and convenience. When I don't have time to make bread or tortillas, I make some variation of biscuit.  This recipe is based on a Bakewell Cream biscuit, and rises beautifully. You can make this plain or flavored. Thanks to this recipe, and a tip from King Arthur Flour, I found that I can actually have a convenience food: homemade bake-and-eat biscuits from the freezer (this recipe makes at least eighteen 2½" biscuits, and while they reheat alright, they are so much better freshly baked).

These are the plain version (no cheese). I try to keep some of these
on hand, in the freezer, but they never stay around for long.

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp cream of tartar 
1 tsp salt
½ cup butter (cold, cut into pats)
1½ cups cold milk
~The following ingredients can be omitted to make regular biscuits
1 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tsp white cheddar powder
¼-½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
generous ¼ cup shredded white cheddar (plus an additional ¼ cup to top the biscuits before baking) 

Preheat ovens to 475°F (app. 245°C*). Lines a cookie sheet with parchment.
Whisk dry ingredients and cheese together.
Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly.
Add milk and mix until all ingredients come together and are moist.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface, pat it out a bit and fold over onto itself once or twice. Pat the dough into a ¾" thick piece, ready for cutting.
Using a sharp cutter (I use a 2½" round), cut biscuits and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Pat any scraps of dough into another ¾" mass, cut, repeat until all dough is used.

At this point I like to decide how many I want to bake and eat. I place the remaining biscuits on a second, small cookie sheet (covered with parchment) and slip these into the freezer. When these are frozen, I put them in an airtight container or bag and leave them for last-minute heat-and-eat biscuits. When cooking frozen biscuits, preheat oven to 475° (app. 245°C*). Bake 5-7 minutes, turn off heat and leave them in the hot oven for 5-7 more minutes, or until golden brown.

If you want to, you can brush the biscuits with melted butter or milk right before you put them in the oven.
Bake for 5 minutes, turn off the oven, and leave them in the hot oven for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.
Enjoy the biscuits with molasses, jam, honey, gravy, soup, etc.

‡ Here is a link to an explanation of what cream of tartar is, and how it is made and used.

*I use an online conversion chart and round up or down, as seems appropriate. Please adjust according to your judgement, and send me a message if you find an error. Thank you.

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