Monday, January 19, 2009

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

When all else fails a fresh from the oven biscuit is a nice way to finish off a bowl of soup, stew or...

Having done just enough time in the south I have an idea what a good biscuit should taste like.  Growing up my Ma only made the "sweet" biscuits and those were for strawberry shortcakes.  My friends had mom's that made the traditional biscuit for just about everything, their specialty was "Biscuit and Sausage Gravy".  What I really like is the savory biscuits with a meal.  Red Lobster does a wicked drop biscuit with garlic and a little cheese.  

Making my own from scratch has not been easy.  I don't have a "biscuit hand" IE it doesn't come naturally or easily.  That is until Alton Brown on food TV gave a demo and good explanation of how to do it.  Key is all cold wet ingredients and minimal handling with your hands so you don't melt the shortening or develop the gluten in the dough causing it to get bready and no light flakes.  

So a little searching around I came up with my own savory Cheddar Garlic Biscuit that finishes off a bowl of soup just perfect.  Certainly way better than a biscuit from a can will ever be.

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 4 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 t dried parsley 
  • 1 cup buttermilk chilled* 
  • 1/2 c grated cheddar cheese divided.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In stand mixer with whisk attachment, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and give it a couple of pulses to even out the dry ingredients. Add shortening and on med-low speed run until shortening is cut into the dry mix resembling coarse sand (about 2 minutes). Add 1/4 c cheese, minced garlic, parsley and buttermilk and mix on low speed just until the dough is just wet evenly. The dough will be very sticky. 

With spatula turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and pat out to approx 1 inch thick rectangle.  Sprinkle with 2 T cheddar cheese. gently fold dough over on itself and pat out to approx 1 inch thick rectangle. Sprinkle remaining cheese on the dough.  Gently fold over into inch thick rectangle 3 or 4 more times. 

After final fold the dough should be about 1 inch think in a 6X9 inch rectangle.  With sharp knife or bread scraper cut dough in half length wise, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Cut each long strip into 4 biscuits. Place biscuits on baking sheet. 

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
*You can substitute buttermilk with sour milk by taking 1C milk and adding 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before using.

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