Cheddar and Herb Buttermilk Biscuits
Fresh buttermilk biscuits are always a treat—but the addition of fresh herbs and sharp cheddar cheese takes these biscuits over the top. They are perfect for breakfast, or for anytime a biscuit craving strikes.
About this Recipe
I certainly have a sweet tooth. But I love savory pastry—quiches, herby scones and biscuits, croissants filled with cured meats or cheeses—it is all so buttery, so delicious, so satisfying.
Since I much prefer savory breakfasts to sweet ones, I am constantly disappointed when I pop into a bakery in the morning and am confronted with nothing but Danishes, fruit scones, and doughnuts – most of which are usually far too sweet.
2 cups (240g) cake flour
1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons (18g) baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (160g) cold unsalted butter, shredded (as you would cheese, using a box grater) and returned to the refrigerator to keep cold
1 cup (235mL) buttermilk, or if unavailable, 1 cup whole milk soured with 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon (let stand for 10 minutes to curdle)
1 ¼ cups (140g) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cups (10g) chopped parsley, dill, and chives in the ratio you prefer, or 1 tablespoon dried herbs
I would rather start my day with a warm mushroom and gruyère tart, a buttermilk biscuit, or a cheddar scone, and I am always stymied as to why these are so difficult to find. I’d rather nosh on that doughnut when my blood sugar takes its 3:00 p.m. dive than when I first wake up.
This recipe—a flaky, tender, savory biscuit with plenty of flavorful cheddar cheese and aromatic herbs—is a delicious first bite in the morning, or a satisfying snack any time of day.
There is a theory going around that southern biscuits are superior in lightness and fluffiness thanks to the differences in the type of flour used in the South. (We must also make allowances for the incredible tradition of biscuit-baking in that part of the world, with many time-honored Biscuit Secrets surely being passed down from one generation to the next).
Southerners often use White Lily—a brand of flour made from softer, southern wheat, which has less gluten protein than the hardier wheats grown in the north. The protein therein is also weaker, resulting in lighter and fluffier bakes. White Lily has 9% gluten content. The King Arthur All-Purpose Flour I use for every day has 11.7%; my Softasilk cake flour has 6.9%. Not wishing to take this little math problem too far,* I opted to use a ratio of 2:1 Softasilk cake flour to King Arthur AP flour for my biscuits, aiming to end up with a gluten content closer to that of White Lily. I felt that the biscuits did come out lighter and fluffier this way—I’m curious to hear what biscuit aficionados think.
*I can’t help but take things too far, so I asked a math-inclined friend, who indicated that the optimal ratio to imitate the gluten content of White Lily per 100 grams would be 44% all-purpose flour to 56% cake flour. However, I prefer the consistency of the 2:1 ratio of cake flour to all-purpose flour called for here.
Step by Step Instructions
Preheat your oven to 425ºF (220ºC) convection bake, or 450ºF (230ºC) bake, and line a large cookie sheet with parchment.
Prepare a work surface for rolling out biscuits, lightly flouring a countertop and setting a rolling pin and biscuit cutter nearby. If you do not have a biscuit cutter, use a round cookie cutter, or a drinking glass or mason jar turned upside down.
In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the milk, egg, cheese, and herbs together and set aside.
The next steps should be done quickly, as you want the dough to remain cold. This will help in creating layers in your biscuits.
Remove the cold butter from the refrigerator, and mix evenly with the flour, using a fork. Add in the wet ingredients, and mix just until incorporated. Do not overwork.
Turn the dough onto the floured work surface and roll out to about ¾” (20 mm) thickness. Cut out your biscuits and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and fully baked. Serve warm.
While a biscuit at breakfast with a cup of coffee throughout the week is great, why not invite friends over, make a bunch of biscuits, and have brunch? A mimosa is always welcome, with some orange juice and a bubbly Prosecco. The Violet Wine staff are currently enjoying the Vino Olmi Prosecco in the shop. Fred from the shop wants you to think about a cider too! Minnesota local Keepsake is making ciders from locally grown varieties, long-aged, with native yeast and no additives. Their ciders will fit in on your table with the biscuits because of their effervescence, fruitiness, and tartness.