Cheddar and Herb Biscuits

Growing up in the south biscuits were common whereas in California rolls or bread usually accompany a meal. We rarely serve bread with a meal. The exception would be if we are having soup or a dinner salad. Biscuits are a great choice because they are fast. They do not require proofing yeast and then waiting 2 hours for the dough to rise. These biscuits go really well with chicken soup or tomato soup.

The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups buttermilk plus more to brush the tops with. I found that I did not need all of the buttermilk in the dough. Take the time to slowly add the buttermilk testing the dough between each small addition. You only need enough to help the dough stick together.

I like to use a fork when adding the liquid. Once the dough starts to form by sticking together I use my hands to gather it together. Just be careful not to overwork the dough. I learned a great tip from my Baking Illustrated cookbook on how to gather the dough. Use a fork not a spoon to lightly work the milk in. Once the dough starts to come together into a ball there will be a small amount of flour on the bottom of the bowl. Add a little of the liquid to the flour and then incorporate it into the rest of the ball.

Source: Cooking with Shelburne  Farms
Makes 12 (2 1/2-inch) biscuits
3 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp col unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, sage or rosemary leaves
1 1/4 cups cold buttermilk plus a little more to brush the biscuit tops with

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powder, soda and salt.

With your fingers or two forks, work the butter into the flour mixture until the dough looks like fine gravel with a few larger butter bumps throughout. Stir in the cheddar and thyme. Add the buttermilk gradually, just until a pinch of dough comes together when you squeeze it between your fingers.

Lightly four the counter and dump the dough onto it. Knead it a few times to bring it together and then use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to a 3/4-inch thicknesss. Cut out the biscuits with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter or glass.

(You can reroll the biscuits once but more than that will make the biscuits tough.)

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops with buttermilk. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

— You can reroll the scraps once but not more or the biscuits will be tough.
— Keep the ingredients as cold as possible and work with the dough as little as possible to ensure light flaky biscuits.