A while back, I was invited to be part of Quirk Book’s “Making Dough Challenge”. As part of the challenge, 10 bloggers were asked to participate in Biscuit Week or Pie Week, using the new book Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries by Russell Van Kraayenburg. Even though I don’t write about it much, making biscuits is one of my very favorite things, so I was thrilled to be able to accept the opportunity. I like to bake, but I know my skills can use improvement and Making Dough is a great place to start; the book’s ratio-based approach helped me understand the techniques for different types of dough and how to better create my own biscuits. On top of that, it’s soup season. Biscuits are the perfect accompaniment for dipping into soup and I’m always on the hunt for new variations.
I’ve tried out a lot of biscuit recipes and the one in Making Dough is definitely one of the best. Russell calls for cake flour, which I’ve never used for biscuits before. It does result in the light, fluffy texture promised though, so it’s totally worth it. I had a box of flour from forever ago sitting in my pantry, but I love these biscuits so much I went ahead and bought another box of cake flour so I can make even more. The original biscuit recipe provides variations for cookie-cutter, layered cookie-cutter/pull apart and drop biscuits and I chose to work on a drop biscuit variation. In the process, this became my new go-to drop biscuit recipe — these are the most buttery, flaky, fabulous drop biscuits I’ve made yet.
Why drop biscuits? Because I want biscuits to be easy. I like my food to be as stress-free as it is satisfying. I love making biscuits because I can pull together a batch in about half an hour while the soup is simmering, making them a simple last minute side. Russell developed both manual and food professor methods for mixing the dough, but I find the manual method to be really simple (especially if you have one of my favorite tools – a pastry blender). Unsure how to mix the dough correctly? Russell has created a helpful YouTube video featuring a demonstration.
Awesome Herb + Cheese Biscuits from “Making Dough”
- 6 ounces cake flour
- 2 ounces all purpose flour*
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 ounces 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
There are two ways to mix biscuit dough: by hand or using a food processor.
- Mix flours, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Chop butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to flour mixture.
- Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, pinch or cut butter into flour, breaking it into pieces about the size of coarse cornmeal. If using your hands, work quickly to prevent butter from melting.
- Add the Italian seasoning and the shredded cheddar to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
- Add milk and stir 10 to 20 times with a wooden spoon, until dough comes together. Take care not to knead the dough too much or add too much flour, which can make the biscuits tough.
- Use your hands to rip off sections of dough that are about three inches in diameter. Gently press the dough together so that it stays in one piece as needed. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden on top. Let biscuits cool on the pan for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm.
Food Processor Method
- Pulse flours, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor to combine.
- Chop butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to flour mixture. Pulse for 1 to 2 seconds 8 to 12 times, until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
- Add milk and pulse 2 to 4 times, until dough begins to come together. It will form a few large chunks and many small ones. Remove from the food processor and gently press together to form a loose ball of dough. Continue with step 6 above.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries by Quirk Books in exchange for a review and a recipe. As always, my opinions are my own. Thanks to Quirk Books for supporting Relishments! Check out the other Biscuit and Pie Week posts and support the other participants.
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