These biscuits are ridonculously delicious. How do I know? My husband, who cares so little for food other than as a fuel source, and often laments why food doesn’t just come in a convenient pill form so he can skip all of the annoying and time-wasting *chewing*…LOVES these. The first time I made these, he gave me the surprising compliment, “you really know how to make great biscuits.”
A real wordsmith, I know.
Ahem, back to the recipe. While I’m not breaking new ground for this classic baking powder biscuit recipe, there are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned from culinary school and beyond that will help elevate your own attempt to replicate these soft, fluffy, buttery slices of heaven.
Firstly, your butter needs to be ice cold. I’m not talking five minutes in the fridge here; I mean a good blast of the arctic temps in your freezer for 30 minutes to an hour minimum. You want the flecks of frozen butter to be thoroughly coated and distributed fairly evenly around your flour mixture. The longer you can keep that butter from melting while it’s in the oven, the better.
Secondly, make sure your milk is cold straight from the fridge. I’m a big believer in mise en place (“everything in its place”), but your milk should stay in the fridge until you’re ready to pour it in your flour mixture, and not a second before.
Thirdly, remember: less is more. When all of this dough’s ingredients are finally combined, it needs the absolute bare minimum of handling before it’s rolled out and cut into biscuits. Too much messing about with the dough and you run the real risk of overworking the gluten in the flour, and even worse, softening your butter. And you most definitely do NOT need an electric mixer for this recipe.
Lastly, in reference to the frozen butter above, instead of going to the trouble of trying to blend it in using a pastry cutter or two knives, I say use a box grater and just quickly mix it in with a wooden spoon. Why make things harder on ourselves right?
Mile-High Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits
Yield: 10-14 biscuits, depending on size of cutter | Prep: 10 mins | Bake: 12 min
Special Tools: box grater, pastry brush, rolling pin (optional)
- 4 cups/500g/18oz unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp/28g/1oz baking powder
- 2 tsp/12g/0.5oz salt
- 1 cup/200g/8oz unsalted good-quality butter, frozen
- 1¾ cups/425mL/15fl.oz milk (buttermilk, whole milk, 2% milk), cold
- 2 tbsp/8g/0.3oz minced green onions
- 1 cup/110g/4oz old cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 egg + 1 tbsp water, whisked (optional)
- 1 pinch flake/finishing salt i.e. Maldon (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 425°F, moving the racks to the middle of the oven. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk first three ingredients together to combine well.
- Shred frozen butter with the large holes on your box grater directly into your dry mix and quickly stir together. The mixture should look coarse and grainy. Add the cold milk, green onions and cheddar, and combine with the dry ingredients quickly with a sturdy spoon until barely combined and shaggy. Do not overwork the dough.
- Generously flour your work surface and transfer biscuit dough from bowl. Sprinkle a small amount of flour overtop the dough. Using your hands, quickly but gently work the dough together until it is cohesive (about 10-15 seconds max).
- Lightly flatten dough out into a rough rectangle, fold it over itself (short sides together) and flatten again to start making layers. Repeat this about 5 times, rotating dough 1/2 turn after each “fold and flatten”, using a gentle and light touch. Toss a little extra flour on the board under the dough as needed to minimize sticking.
- For the final flatten, roll out dough to about 1-inch high (you can use the palms of your hands or a rolling pin for this part). Lightly dust a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass with flour, and start cutting out as many biscuits as you can from the rolled out dough. Take the scraps of dough, quickly and gently recombine, then roll them out once more and repeat the cutting process. Any scraps you have after this point will not rise as well.
- Gently transfer cut biscuits to parchment-covered baking tray, brush tops only lightly with egg-wash and sprinkle with a small amount of flake salt.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops start to turn lightly golden brown. Remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Serve warm with melting butter in the middle (best ever), but these are delicious the next day as well (if they last that long!)