Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gruyere, Thyme and Rosemary Biscuits

As I've said before, it's not often the urge to bake strikes me. But on this Easter weekend, it did. I love bread - of any kind. Croissants. Bagels. Brioche. Baguette. Scones. Sourdough. Anddddd ... biscuits. Because I don't have a lot of patience for the multi-step process often associated with baking, I set out to find a simple biscuit recipe - and then made some modifications. Baking is a pretty precise practice, so I didn't muck with things too much. I suggest you don't, either. Here, the recipe (with my guesstimate additions):


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp vegetable shortening or lard, chilled and cut into small chunks (note: I didn't have lard/shortening, so I used 5 tablespoons of butter in total - what it calls for below, and as a substitute for lard)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (note: I didn't have buttermilk, so added about 1 tbsp white vinegar to whipping cream and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Lemon will also work. Also, I found the dough to be a little too dry so I added a touch more buttermilk until the dough held together better  - but it should not be wet)
  • 3/4 cup grated gruyere (any other cheese like sharp cheddar, parmesan or Beemster would work)
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme (or whatever herbs you like)
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the butter, lard (if you're using it), cheese and herbs. Mix with knives or your fingers until it's a coarse meal. You don't want to over-work it as you want the butter/lard to remain as cold as possible.
  3. Add the buttermilk and mix gently with a wooden spoon or your hands. Again, you don't want to over-mix ... a shaggy dough is what you're after. It was at this point I added a little more buttermilk as the mixture wasn't holding together well (I had lots of dry flour). Up to you if you need it.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead it gently until it just holds together - about 8 kneads. Roll out to 3/4" thick. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  5. Cut the dough into squares or use a circular cutter - whatever shape you want. Hell, make cock and balls with it for all I care. You just want uniformly thick biscuits.
  6. Place on the cookie sheet about 1/2" apart. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and just cooked through. Serve and enjoy! And don't forget ... butter makes everything taste better :)


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