SoupAddict has been on a bit of a bread kick lately. Which is odd, because she’s also trying to reduce her intake of gluten. So, that’s not working out too well (to wit, she consumed barley for lunch yesterday, which she had erroneously assumed was gluten-free. The assumption was not based on any actual facts, of course [facts are for chumps], just the observation that barley looks like brown rice, which is gluten-free, ergo, by the associative property of mathematics, barley must also be gluten-free. But then da googles told her otherwise). Until she gets her gluten act together, she’ll be making the occasional bread product. And she couldn’t resist this easy-as-pie cheddar dill biscuits recipe from Gourmet magazine.
On a side note, SoupAddict wonders why they say, “easy as pie,” because pie isn’t particularly easy. A really good pie crust takes some finesse. But SoupAddict digresses.
SoupAddict recently acquired her first full-sized food processor. She stubbornly clung to her hand-prep (and cheapskate) ways for many years, but finally relented. Now she won’t make tart shells any other way. But never fear, you poor food-processor-lacking souls: this dough can also be made by hand.
SoupAddict loves da cheddar cheese, bay-bee. The original Gourmet recipe called for a scant 3/4 cup of grated cheese. SoupAddict upped that to an overflowing cup. (Which was probably more like a cup and a half, because “overflowing” in SoupAddict’s vernacular means stacking the cheese all mountain-like until no more shreds can cling to the pile.)
When a recipe calls for “cold butter,” SoupAddict cubes said butter and then sticks it in the freezer for 10 minutes. It prevents the butter from become melty and globby before the cheddar dill biscuits dough can hit the oven. Soft, flakiness will ensue.
SoupAddict knows she added enough cheese when she can still see bits of beautiful orange in the resulting mix.
SoupAddict made a few substitutions in this recipe, including buttermilk for milk, and Greek yogurt for regular yogurt. No particular reason. She just felt like it. So, there.
Interesting thing about buttermilk. Unlike regular milk, buttermilk tells you loud and clear when it’s gone over. Regular milk starts sending out a hint of “offness” that you can detect only by putting your nose right up to the bottle (you know what I’m talking about, with your nose making contact with the opening, and then you hurriedly screwing the lid back on before someone walks in to finds your nostril skimming the plastic. SoupAddict doesn’t do that, though. No, sirreee.).
Buttermilk, on the other hand, always smells “off” (in SoupAddict’s persnickety-nosed opinion). However, unlike regular milk, buttermilk lasts way beyond its expiration date. I mean, way. Buttermilk lasts until it separates. At which point SoupAddict doesn’t even dare to remove the cap she just chucks the bottle and all into the garbage.
One thing about making dough in the food processor that delighted SoupAddict is the instruction to “process until the dough comes together.” In a stand mixer, or by hand, it comes together pretty quickly, and then needs to be kneaded. In the food processor, the dough remains at the crumbly stage for what seems to be a toe-tappingly long time, only to finish up really quickly. I mean, like, boom, done. No kneading.
(No, it’s not your eyes. The picture’s a little blurred. SoupAddict’s camera’s picture preview sometimes tricks her into thinking a photo is sharp when it’s not. Probably laughs while it’s doing the tricking, too.)
(SoupAddict’s camera does not, to her knowledge, actually laugh. She would run screaming from her house if it ever did.)
Divide the cheddar dill biscuits dough into equal pieces. SoupAddict makes a rough ball of each piece and sloppily flattens it on the baking sheet. And into the oven it goes.
SoupAddict loves the rustic, bumpy appearance of hand-formed biscuits. You can, of course, roll out the dough and cut perfect circles with a biscuit cutter. But this way is ever so much fun.
Break open while still warm and smother with butter. It’s the only way to eat cheddar dill biscuits.
Cheddar Dill Biscuits
Gourmet, April 2005
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3/4 cup greek yogurt
1/3 cup buttermilk
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Pulse flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add Cheddar and dill and pulse until just combined. Whisk together yogurt and buttermilk, then add to food processor and pulse until dough just comes together.
Divide dough in 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a rough ball and place about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased large baking sheet, flattening slightly. Bake until puffed and pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes.