Tid-Bits

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits


When I say “biscuit”, what comes in most of our minds is a fully crisp delight. But in the “Southern” American food it is actually crisp and flaky on the outside but has a soft, fluffy, moist inside. Totally ironic from what most of us eat out of the regular packets of biscuits. 

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In the South, they mainly make savoury biscuits and it is usually served with meat gravy. But since I’m a vegetarian, I like to serve it with a good tomato basil sauce or if you are lazy, you could just serve it with tomato ketchup.

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The buttermilk makes it fluffy, moist and gives a slight tang. I used a half and half blend of wholewheat flour and plain flour. The cheddar cheese gives it a sharp edge from the boring biscuits. Make sure you use a good quality cheddar as it is the hero of the dish.

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NOTE– Make sure all your ingredients except salt, sugar and baking powder are cold. This will make a good biscuit.

Ingredients: (Makes 5-6 biscuits)

  • Plain/ All purpose flour- ½ cup + extra for dusting
  • Wholewheat flour- ½ cup
  • Salt- ½ teaspoon
  • Sugar- ¼ teaspoon
  • Baking powder- ½ teaspoon
  • Cold unsalted butter- 75 g; cubed
  • Buttermilk-  100 ml (Nearly half cup)
  • Grated cheddar cheese- ¾ cup
  • Milk- for brushing

NOTE– To make your homemade buttermilk, mix ½ cup of thick milk and ½ tablespoon of lemon juice. Let this sit for 10 minutes and then place in the fridge till further use.

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°C. To ½ cup of  grated cheese, add a tablespoon of flour and gently toss the cheese. Add the plain flour, wholewheat flour, salt and sugar to a bowl. To it add the baking powder and give it a good whisk. Finally add the cubes of butter to it.

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With the help of the tips of your hands, gently rub the butter against the flour. Do this until you get a slightly crumbled mixture. It is good if you have small chunks of butter because it melts while baking giving a lovely crust. Add half of the buttermilk and try to bring the mixture together gently without kneading. If it looks a bit too crumbly, add little bit more buttermilk. Add just enough to get the dough together. Make sure you do not over mix the dough. Buttermilk cheddar biscuits 2

Add the flour dusted cheese and gently fold the dough 2-3 times to make sure it is mixed in well. Flour your work surface with plain flour and tip the dough onto the work surface. Fold the dough 3-4 times making sure you don’t overwork the dough as it may lead to a tough cookie. With a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll the dough to 3/4th of an inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter or any small round object, cut the dough into rounds/ discs. 

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Dust the baking tray with flour. Place the cut out rounds of dough a little far apart. Brush the discs with milk. Sprinkle a bit of salt over each of the discs. Top the discs with the left over 1/4 cup of cheese. Brush a bit of milk over the cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 180°C and bake for a further 10-12 minutes or until crisp and light golden in colour. I brush the biscuits with milk once at the half way point as well. Insert a sharp, small knife into the centre to check if they are cooked and not doughy. Cool for 7-8 minutes. Then using a spatula, remove them and place over wire racks. The bottom should be a nice golden brown. 

Before and after baking

Serve while still warm with marinara sauce or ketchup.

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