I'm a huge fan of classic buttermilk biscuits (and strongly believe every home baker should master them), but this bacon cheddar biscuit might be my new favorite. The flaky buttermilk layers are studded with sharp cheddar, smoky bacon and fragrant green onion, making them a starring side dish for your brunch table (or an accompaniment to a simple tomato soup).
Years of biscuit making have taught me that the fastest way to flakier biscuits is to grate cold butter on a box grater before adding it to your dry ingredients. Because the butter pieces are so small, you don't have to work them into the dough as much, meaning you can get the biscuits into the oven more quickly. Those small bits of butter are still cold when the biscuits hit the hot oven, and as the butter steams and melts, it helps lift up the dough to form those flaky layers we all love.
It's also important to fold the dough onto itself several times. Typically eight to 10 folds are perfect for most conditions, but if your dough feels sticky, don't hesitate to add a little more flour and keep folding. You're looking for dough that is slightly springy when pressed before you cut the biscuits.
While the bacon and green onions are entirely optional, be sure to leave the cheddar in place -- it accounts for some of the fat that helps create these tender, flaky biscuits.
Makes 10 biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
4 medium scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
1 cup buttermilk
1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 450 F.
2. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl, and whisk to combine. Place a box grater over a small piece of parchment paper or the butter's wrapper. Grate the cold butter on the large holes of the grater. When you get down to a small nub of butter, chop that nub into 5 to 6 small pieces. Use the piece of paper as a sling to transfer the butter from the grater to the flour mixture.
3. Add the cheese, bacon and scallions. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until well combined. Quickly pour in the buttermilk, and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough into a 1-inch thick rough rectangle about the size of a sheet of paper with a short side facing you. Sprinkle the dough with a little more flour if needed. Fold the dough onto itself vertically and pat it down (this makes the flaky layers of the biscuits). Fold the dough in half horizontally. Pat it back down to the same size rectangle. Repeat the folding and patting for a total of eight to 10 folds. The dough should be a little springy.
5. Pat the dough into a 1-inch thickness. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut as many biscuits as you can (about six). Gather the scraps into a rectangle, refold, and pat down before cutting the remaining dough (you'll likely get about four more, for a total of 10 biscuits).
6. Transfer the biscuits to a rimmed baking sheet, they should touch each other but not the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Immediately transfer the biscuits to a clean kitchen towel to keep warm for serving.
Recipe notes: The biscuits can be made through cutting and frozen for up to three months. Bake directly from frozen as directed. These biscuits can be made without bacon and are just as tasty.
This article is written by Meghan Splawn from The Kitchn and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.