Cheddar cheese biscuits: Take three

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Ah, those three little words we long to hear…

No, not “I love you” – though the sentiment certainly applies to these ridiculously delicious cheese biscuits.

Try these three little words:

Flour. Cheese. Cream.

Which is all you need to make these tender, tasty little gems.

There’s a cheese biscuit at the Red Lobster restaurants that gets rave reviews online – Cheddar Bay Biscuits, they’re called. Checking out the array of cloned recipes, apparently “bay” refers to the lobsters’ provenance, rather than the biscuits’ seasoning: there’s no bay leaf in these biscuits, simply Bisquick®, cheese, butter, and milk, with a little parsley and garlic on top.

I’ve never been to a Red Lobster – first, because I’m allergic to shellfish, which kinda cuts back on my menu options. And second, because there aren’t any Red Lobsters even vaguely close to where I live. (Unless you count the red lobsters down at Joe’s Lobster Mart on the ocean here in Sandwich, MA, about a mile from my house.)

So I can’t compare these King Arthur biscuits to the Cheddar Bay version, though I doubt the Lobster’s would outshine ours, taste- or texture-wise.

And remember, our cheese biscuits include just flour… and cheese… and cream.

Simple pleasures, indeed.

Let’s start with the flour.

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I’ve fallen in love with our Unbleached Self-Rising Flour. Long a key element in every Southern baker’s pantry, it’s a convenient way to make biscuits and muffins, pancakes and waffles, coffeecake and scones and cookies and cake. Oh, and baked doughnuts, my new best friend. In fact, anything leavened with baking powder is a good recipe candidate for this flour.

Lower-protein (read: less gluten) than all-purpose flour, Self-Rising includes both salt and baking powder. But not just any baking powder: the special non-aluminum baking powder we use doesn’t lend any of that “tinny” flavor you sometimes get with regular baking powder.

I’d always thought, “Well, that’s silly; it’s SO easy just to add your own salt and baking powder.” But then I started using the SR. And very quickly, I was hooked.

Yes, OK, I’m terminally L-A-Z-Y. But it’s not just SR’s convenience; it’s the tender texture it lends to baked goods that demand it, tenderness only a lower-protein flour can offer.

All in all, this flour has a lot going for it.

Including a lot of you folks out there, who’ve discovered, as I have, how very convenient it is to leave both salt and baking powder in the cupboard, especially when you’re in a hurry.

By the way, if your local supermarket carries King Arthur Flour, but doesn’t yet carry our SR – make a request to the grocery manager. It’s available to all grocery stores carrying our flours; they simply have to order it.

Next ingredient: cheese.

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All of us here at King Arthur Flour love our neighbor up the road, Cabot Creamery – creator of some of the world’s finest cheddars.

I’m partial to their extra-sharp cheddar, a cheese that’s slightly crumbly yet still moist; and sharp enough to create that pleasant “I can feel this in my ears” tang.

One more ingredient – heavy cream – completes this happy trio.

Are you ready? Let’s make biscuits.

Preheat your oven to 425°F, with a rack in the upper third.

Gather your ingredients:

2 cups (8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour
4 ounces cheddar cheese, the sharper the better
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream

Don’t have any self-rising flour on hand? Use 2 cups less 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour; and add 1 tablespoon baking powder, plus 1 teaspoon salt.

Can you make these biscuits with light cream, half & half, whole milk, reduced-fat milk, or skim milk? Absolutely; the lower down the fat scale you go, the less liquid you’ll need to bring the dough together — and, of course, the less tender your biscuits will be.

For best cheese flavor, use a top-quality, extra-sharp cheddar. We like Cabot Extra Sharp or Seriously Sharp.

And finally, this recipe is easily scaled up or down, to make more or fewer biscuits. Just keep this formula in mind: equal parts flour and cream, by weight; and half as much cheese, again by weight.

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To make the biscuits using a food processor: Cut the cheese into a few chunks. Place the cheese and flour into the work bowl of your food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth; the cheese will be very finely chopped. Add the cream, and pulse until the dough becomes cohesive.

To make the dough by hand: Grate or shred the cheese; you should have about 1 cup. Toss it together with the flour. Add the cream, stirring to make a cohesive dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.

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Pat the dough into a disc 3/4″ to 1″ thick; the thicker the disc, the taller the biscuits.

Use a 2″ cutter (or the size of your choice) to cut rounds.

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Now, what to do with the inevitable scraps? You know, those little bits and pieces of dough around the circles you’ve cut.

I really don’t like jamming them together and re-rolling; the resulting biscuits are inevitably tougher than those cut from the original piece of dough.

So rather than commit those scraps to the scrap heap, try this: simply fold and pinch the dough bits back onto the larger piece of dough as you go. This means some of the biscuits have kind of lumpy edges, but at least they’re tender.

Alternatively, gather the scraps without squashing them together, and freeze; after 2 or 3 biscuit bakes, you’ll have enough scraps to top a fruit cobbler or stew. True, the scraps don’t look as pretty as round biscuits; but they taste just as good.

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Place the biscuits on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

See the biscuit closeup above? It illustrates what a cleanly cut biscuit should look like. Cut biscuits with a sharp-sided biscuit cutter, they’ll rise high; cut them with a drinking glass, you’ll squash their sides and they’ll rise unevenly and poorly. Just sayin’…

To make soft-sided biscuits, place the biscuits close together on the baking sheet; their sides should be nearly touching. For biscuits with a crisp crust, space them 1″ apart.

Note: This is a great recipe to shape and freeze ahead for a later date. Place the shaped biscuits on a baking sheet, and freeze. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to a plastic bag and replace in the freezer. Bake frozen biscuits (no need to thaw) in a preheated 425°F oven for about 25 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

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Brush the tops of the biscuits with cream or milk (or butter), if desired; this will help brown their crust.

Bake the biscuits for 15 to 18 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

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Remove them from the oven…

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…and serve immediately.

Or not. The really nice thing about these biscuits is they’re so rich, they stay tender even when cool.

If they’re older than 24 hours, it’s a good idea to drape them with foil, and reheat for about 10 minutes in a 350°F oven.

But baked, cooled, and served later the same day, they’ll still be tender/crusty – unlike most biscuits, which tend to stiffen up pretty quickly once they cool down.

Hmmm, I was just thinking… Having planted 12 different heirloom tomato plants this past weekend, I’m betting a slice of just-picked, sun-warmed tomato is going to be spectacular on one of these biscuits, come August.

Until then, a pat of butter (or slice of ham) will do quite nicely.

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Savory Cheddar Cheese Biscuits.

Print just the recipe.

 

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. BeckyInGreensboro

    These sound really good and supremely simple to make.

    I’m pretty sure the Red Lobster cheese biscuits have garlic in them. Easy enough to add to the recipe.

    Yes, Becky, they do – I think they have garlic butter brushed over the top, as well. An easy addition, as you say… Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  2. Eliza

    Super easy and SOO yummy! I popped them in the freezer for quick breakfast baking. I’ll try them again with chives.

    Reply
  3. amgbooth

    I’m looking for a good green chile cheese biscuit to serve with either chorizo gravy or pulled pork. Could I just add a can of diced chiles to this recipe? Also, I don’t have a biscuit cutter and don’t really need round biscuits. Can I use a sharp (serrated?) knife and cut them into squares?

    Drain those chilies well before adding to the mixture (when you add the cheese). You can cut the biscuits with the knife or with a pizza wheel. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  4. Danny

    I was also thinking of these a little ‘zippier’. How do you think they’d be using Pepper Jack instead of cheddar? Or maybe a blend of the two? Thanks!

    That sound really good. Actually you can use any kind of hardish cheese. Betsy@KAF

    Reply
  5. Claire

    I would love to bake these biscuits but what if you don’t have heavy cream or whipping cream?
    You may use half and half, whole milk or 2% milk. You will probably not need as much liquid if you use one of these substitutions. The dough should be cohesive enough to pat into a disc. Have fun! Elisabeth

    Reply
  6. "daisy in nj"

    I made these delightful biscuits, just added in a handful (roughly, a generous half cup) of minced fresh herbs – sage, chives, Italian parsley, a bit of basil – from my garden. With a pinch of cayenne pepper, they were awfully good. Thanks as always for another wonderful recipe and for the continual inspiration to clean out my frig in creative ways!
    oooh, the fresh herbs sound delightful. My chives and basil are rockin’ the garden, so I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing! ~ MJ

    Reply
  7. Gambles

    Did you really HAVE to make me want yet another kind of flour? :) I’ve got a cupboard full of brown bags and a counter full of Klip-It flour containers! (and a few in the freezer) I was working under the principle that self rising was unnecessary since I could add in the baking powder like you describe. Unfortunately you convinced me that this flour would work even better….. so into my cart it goes! I do have one question though: Would pastry flour or pastry blend (to which I would add baking powder, of course) be flakier than the self rising? I guess you all have to come up with self rising pastry flour next… :) I really do have so many types of flour that I haven’t yet worked out which one to use when! So pastry or self rising for these biscuits?

    Oh. btw: as for the Red Lobster biscuits, I have a close recipe, but I prefer to put the garlic butter on top towards the very end of baking to control the garlic. They are a big hit with my family.

    Thanks, Suzanne
    Hi Suzanne,
    Welcome to our world of flours. I converted our guest room closet to a flour pantry, and it is already full to bursting. Pastry flour is great for light biscuits. The protein level is quite close to self-rising, so you could definitely make this recipe with it. Even better, throw a biscuit and toppings party and try several different flours. You’ll use up some of your stash and make everyone happy in the process. ~ MJ

    Reply
  8. Karen

    These were so easy and delicious. My question is the bottom of my biscuits were a little crunchy, but the rest was perfectly cooked. I used an ungreased cookie sheet in the upper 1/3 of the oven. Are they supposed to be like that or would using the parchment have changed that?

    Now what to do with the rest of the self rising flour….besides more biscuits of course!

    Karen: The crunchy bottom means they cooked a little too long: often, if the pan is a bit dark in color, you’ll want to protect the biscuits by using a piece of parchment paper and keeping that oven rack up higher in the oven (you can also stack two cookie sheets to protect the bottoms as well!).

    PS: You can also bake cakes, cookies, muffins, dumplings, etc. with the Self-Rising flour: http://search.kingarthurflour.com/search?p=Q&asug=&af=type%3Arecipes&w=self-rising+flour Happy Baking! Kim@KAF

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Excellent idea, Kate – and I remember those old card deck cutters. So nice you still have them! PJH

  9. Robin H

    If you don’t like the waste of cutting out rounds, I pat my dough into a round right on a parchment lined baking sheet and cut the dough into wedges. A pizza cutter works great. Less kneading and fussing makes them even more tender, and less clean up.

    Reply
  10. Jenn21

    Hi PJ!

    Could I bake these as drop biscuits instead of shaping and cutting them? Not sure if the dough is too thick for drop biscuits or if I would need to add more liquid? I’m not an experienced baker, but I love to bake and I’m learning as I go. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there- You certainly could make a drop biscuit. The batter may be a little stiff for scooping, so a little extra liquid, just a tablespoon or two, may help to loosen it up for you. However, you want to be careful as a wetter batter will spread more as well. I hope that helps and if you have any more questions, please feel free to contact our Baker’s Hotline at 1-855-371-2253. Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  11. "Mary from Michigan"

    I want to make these this weekend as am making some white chicken chili. I have Cabot Seriously Sharp and the Cabot Habanero in the fridge. Would these work to use the Habanero cheese? I know that cheese is not as crumbly as the extra-sharp variety but thought it might be yummy to have spicy biscuits!

    Reply

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