by Chef Amanda Cash
As a person who is normally gluten-free, I am really excited to be carrying our newest product: Cup4Cup Flour. Developed in conjunction with one of my heroes, Thomas Kellor and The French Laundry, this gluten-free baking mix has the ability to stand in as an exact replacement for all-purpose flour in most of your favorite recipes with no additional work or worry on your part. It is not completely allergen free because it contains cornstarch and powdered milk, but it is convenient and delicious for individuals that are simply eliminating gluten.
This flour performs beautifully in cookies, cakes, muffins, quickbreads, pancakes, and biscuits but I wouldn’t recommend it for use in conventional bread recipes without further research on my part. If you are making yeast angel biscuits, however, go for it. We are also carrying the pizza mix that comes with the yeast and yields 2 large crusts. The most beautiful part? Cup4Cup’s “gluten-freeness” is virtually undetectable…no weird aftertaste, off flavor, or gummy consistency AND you never have to add xanthan or guar gum.
I wrote this biscuit recipe specifically to highlight Cup4Cup’s versatility and performance, as well to wean the public off of a tube biscuit addiction. If you want, use regular all-purpose flour and this recipe should still be sublime.
Cup4Cup Cheesy Herb Biscuits
Yield: 24 large biscuits
4 ½ c. Cup4Cup flour, plus extra for rolling
1 ½ T. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. kosher salt
¼ c. sugar
2 T. finely chopped chives (or herb of choice)
2 T. cooked and crumbled pancetta or bacon (optional)
3 oz. sharp cheddar, finely grated (or Asiago, Gruyere, etc.)
1 ½ stick UNSALTED butter, diced and put in the freezer
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. whole milk
¼ c. heavy cream, for brushing on biscuit tops
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Gather all your ingredients and supplies: pastry cutter or forks, wooden spoon, two lined baking sheets (with parchment or Silpats), biscuit cutter of your choice, Silmat—or clean rolling surface—and rolling pin, flour for rolling and dusting, pastry brush, timer, clean kitchen towel.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and chives. Cut in the butter with your pastry cutter or forks and process until pea sized chunks remain. Stir in the grated cheese and pancetta or bacon. Add the milks and stir briefly, don’t mix completely.
Turn out onto your prepared rolling surface and knead a few times. Flatten and sprinkle with flour and roll into a 1-inch-thick rectangle. Fold the sides in toward the middle and then fold in half. Sprinkle with flour if needed, and roll into another 1-inch-thick rectangle. Fold into thirds and roll out again.
Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on your prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops with cream and bake for 14-18 minutes in a 400-degree oven, switching the baking sheets half way through the baking time. Cool on a rack and enjoy!
First, ready your space. This includes making sure you have adequate rolling room, and that your dirty dishes are washed and put away. Gather all of your ingredients. Then, measure them out and put the excess back away. Preheat your oven and gather all of the tools you need: baking sheets, rolling pin, side towel, mixing bowl, wooden spoon, pastry cutter, etc. This process is called mise en place in French (meese on plaws) and means “everything in its place.” To a professional chef, mise is everything; it helps provide speed, clarity, and process to each undertaking while eliminating unnecessary steps in cleaning and cooking.
Hate me yet? I suggest wearing an apron or smock when in the kitchen & tying the apron strings in the front so you can hang a towel or two within reach of your hands. Have extra rolling flour on hand within reach just in case so you aren’t panicking with gooey hands and trying to open a bin with your teeth and elbows at a crucial moment. Lightly flour your rolling surface.
Mix your dry ingredients and herbs in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Cut in the ice-cold butter with an old-fashioned pastry cutter or two forks or with your hands (dip your hands in ice water first and towel them off). We want our butter chunks to be incorporated but remain the size of small peas or pearls suspended individually in the flour.
Cut in the cheese briefly. Add the milks and give everything a quick stir with the wooden spoon.
Don’t over mix because you will be doing a knead and 3 rolls, not just one. The extra rolling steps help create fluffy layers in your biscuits, similar to puff pastry or laminated doughs, but without the extra chill time.
Turn the dough out onto your lightly-floured counter or mat and give it a few kneads.
It will be sticky and your hands will get gooey, which is why I recommend having clean towels at hand. Sprinkle with flour and roll out into a 1-inch-thick rectangle. Fold the sides in towards the middle point, then close it like a book.
Roll that out into another 1-inch-thick rectangle. Fold that one into thirds, sprinkle with flour and roll out in to the final 1-inch-thick rectangle.
Cut with a biscuit cutter or juice glass rim and place on your prepared baking sheets.
Brush them with cream and bake. I recommend a 375-degree convection setting for multiple sheet trays, or 400-degrees in a conventional oven and switching the baking sheets half way through the allotted baking time.
Once you get your biscuits in the oven, PLEASE don’t open the door to peek. There is a very special process happening in the first half of baking called “oven spring.” This is when your leaveners are working their hardest and the melting butter is popping steam pockets into flaky layers. I recommend setting a timer for 7 minutes and cleaning out your junk drawer or washing your dishes. When that timer goes off, switch your trays. Set the timer again and remove the biscuits when they are done, placing them on cooling racks for at least 5 minutes before devouring.
Serve with herb butter, red pepper jelly, as a BLT, with eggs, gravy, ham and cheese, cream cheese, etc.
Most of all, this recipe is just a guideline, but the instructions are specific for a good reason: you now know the “biscuit method” and you can thank me later!