I have been using this recipe for cheddar biscuits for years. It is an old recipe I found in my mom’s cupboard before I went up to Alaska for the first time. The original recipe was just plain biscuits.
Over time, I have perfected the recipe.
I added the cheddar cheese, increased the buttermilk, added the melted butter to brush the tops of the biscuits with, and a few other things to make it my own.
Many people do not realize that this method has been used by chefs for hundreds of years to adapt new recipes. The sweat and hours put into each recipe, slowly altering to your own preferences, are what make a recipe original and incredible.
People love these biscuits when I make them. I have made them in every single place I have worked in and cannot seem to make enough every single time. In fact, I made the mistake of making breakfast sandwiches out of these biscuits once and people were taking up to six per person. Needless to say, I never did that again.
Here is my recipe:
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
- 1-1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1-1/2 cups butter, chilled and diced
- 1-3/4 cups buttermilk
- 1-1/2 cups melted butter
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients along with the cheddar cheese. Run all the butter through a box cheese grater on the thickest grate.
- Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture.
- Pour in the milk. Stir until dough begins to pull together then turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Press dough together and then roll out until 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 2 inch round biscuits and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Brush the top of the biscuits with copious amounts of melted butter. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until golden. Pull out of the oven and let them cool down for a few minutes. Then brush with the remaining amount of melted butter. Sprinkle with the dried parsley.
Here are a few tips:
You can do the first three steps in a food processor if you are crunched on time.
First, add all the dry ingredients together (excluding the butter and the cheddar cheese). Mix that mixture a few times and add the butter until it looks like coarse oatmeal. Then dump the stuff out into a bowl and mix in the cheese. Proceed normally.
Grating butter is infinitely easier if you freeze your butter first.
It might be a little harder to actually grate and your hand might end up getting a little cold but it is 10X better than the butter melting in your hand.
The process of making biscuits is actually a very specific scientific process.
It requires cold butter reacting with the chemical agents (baking powder and cream of tartar) to expand the pastry.
Completely made biscuits freezing cold biscuits do not puff up correctly. Cold dry ingredients along with cold butter also do not produce the best results. Make sure your butter is at fridge-temperature when you add it to the dry ingredients, at the very least.
You can also freeze your biscuit dough after they are completely made and cut out.
Just pull out the biscuit dough from the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge. Then the day you cook them, let them sit on the counter for 20 minutes before you pop them in the oven. This takes the chill off of them and gets them to the temperature they need to be.
When you are making your biscuit dough, make sure the dough is smooth enough that it holds together easily.
The more you handle the dough, the more gluten is developed and that is a no-no for biscuits. Also, the more you handle it, the more the butter in the dough warms up and that is also a no-no. Mix the dough until it is smooth but not a second longer.
Also, try to keep the cheddar cheese grates in as big of chunks as you can.
This is more appealing than completely mashing the cheese into the dough. This is why we add the cheese after the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients.
Fold your completed dough back onto itself.
When your dough is completely done and rolled out, fold it back onto itself once. Then roll it back to the thickness you want them. The cheddar biscuit dough will create a fold in the cheddar biscuit after it is cooked that will make it much easier to split open.
USE A BISCUIT CUTTER!
Or at the very least, something that is sharp and circular. Do not use an old tin can. Most tin cans have a rounded edge that will press the dough into itself. You want a noticeable top, bottom, and middle portion of your dough.
The middle portion is what makes that gorgeous little biscuit rise straight up in the oven, which is what you want. If you press the cheddar biscuit dough into itself, you ruin the middle portion. Making a biscuit correctly should let you put several biscuits into a pan with only a 1/4” in between each other without them growing into each other while baking.
And there you have it! That may be a lot to take in so take it one step at a time. Once you have mastered biscuit making, this technique is easily translated into dozens of other recipes. This includes scones, pie dough, some pastries, and my favorite Halibut recipe (which I will post soon).
If you have has success with this recipe, let me know! I am always glad to hear when someone enjoys a recipe from this website. Also, if you need help with any of the instructions, feel free to drop me a line! I will help in whatever way I can.