by Judy Kim
Flaky Cheddar and Scallion Biscuits
Yield: 8 to 10, 2 1/2-inch biscuits or 24, 1 1/2-inch biscuits
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, extra for rolling
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
1 cup grated white Cheddar
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
- Preheat oven 425 degrees F. Prepare rimmed half sheet or baking dish with parchment paper, set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and sea salt. Add butter to flour mixture and break it up using your hands or a pastry cutter. Personally I prefer using my hands so I can better control the size of the butter. I aim for slightly flattened shards of butter. Work quickly to prevent the butter from getting too warm, cold pieces of butter are the trick to flaky pastry. Add cheese and scallions; toss together using your hands until they are all well coated in flour. Make a well in the flour mixture and slowly pour in buttermilk in 2 to 3 batches, mix together using a wooden spoon completely before adding more buttermilk. Switch to your hands when it begins to form a ball of dough; do not overmix. The dough will be slightly sticky, just the way it's supposed to be. If it's too dry, add a few drops of buttermilk.
- Lightly flour a rolling pin and turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface. Don't add too much flour at once or the dough will dry out, just add bits of flour when you notice the dough might stick to a surface. Roll out dough to 1-inch thickness and fold into thirds. Gently roll dough back into 1-inch thickness preferably in a rectangular shape, but it doesn't really matter, I just like it to be evenly folded for the sake of the layers. Repeat the folding process to create more layers one more time and end with a 1-inch thick dough. Dip biscuit cutter in flour and cut in a straight down motion; avoid twisting so you don't seal those layers of heaven. Cut them as close together as possible to avoid wasting dough. Instead of rolling out remaining scraps together to form one or two last biscuits, I suggest to cut the remaning dough with a smaller biscuit cutter and bake off remaining bits in their odd shapes. They are the perfect snack and will be more tender without re-rolling since the layers will remain intact.
- Place biscuits on sheet pan or baking dish side by side, they should be touching. This is one of the tricks to ensure even rising. If you have smaller biscuits and scraps, place them on a separate small sheet pan or even a mini cast iron pan; the smaller shapes will take less baking time. Lightly brush with egg wash but be careful only to brush the tops; try to avoid the edges as they can prevent the layers from rising. Note: I often skip the egg wash to keep it simple, the cheese will still give it a golden crust.
- Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Baking time can vary depending on size of biscuit. Watch the scraps, they will be done in about 10 minutes. Rotate if necessary for even browning if your oven requires it, otherwise I prefer to keep the door shut to get maximum rising.