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Lisa Shock

Let's Cream Biscuits (recipe by James Beard's family cook)

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This is an easy drop biscuit recipe originally developed by the Beard family cook over 100 years ago. The trick here is to use fresh ingredients in a cold room and a light hand. AP flour may be substituted for the cake flour, but the resulting biscuits will not be as tender. Do not use a cream substitute or any lower-fat alternatives. Converted to weight-based measurement by me, directions by me.

 

Makes 10 sandwich sized biscuits or 20 regular sized biscuits.

Ingredients:

284g sifted cake flour
10.5g baking powder
5g salt
14g sugar
360g heavy cream, cold

28-30g melted butter, optional, for brushing on tops

 

Preheat the oven to 350°

Place parchment paper on a plain half sheet pan, or use a non-stick sheet pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the cold cream and stir gently until barely mixed. This 'shaggy mass' will look very rough. Using the two-spoon method, drop in large spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Lightly tap into shape, if need be. Brush the tops with butter, if desired. Bake for about 10 minutes, time varies by size, until the tops are barely colored and the bottoms slightly brown. They will continue to cook for a few minutes after leaving the oven.

 

These can also be carefully dropped into flan rings on a parchment covered sheet pan to make consistent rounds for sandwiches or eggs benedict. Or, try dropping into non-stick molds like muffin pans -keeping the height 2-3cm.

Enjoy!


Edited by Lisa Shock (log)
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I plan on making both of the recipes you posted.  Thanks for posting both recipes in grams.

 

Can they be frozen unbaked?  If baked, first, how well do they freeze?  There are just the two of us and we would not be eating them all at once.  I live in a condo so my kitchen is not very cold.  Would it help to have my mixing bowl in a larger bowl that contains ice?

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38 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

I plan on making both of the recipes you posted.  Thanks for posting both recipes in grams.

 

Can they be frozen unbaked?  If baked, first, how well do they freeze?  There are just the two of us and we would not be eating them all at once.  I live in a condo so my kitchen is not very cold.  Would it help to have my mixing bowl in a larger bowl that contains ice?

 

I'd try cutting the recipe into half (makes 5 large biscuits) or a quarter. I have never frozen these, I don't know for sure. What I do know is that the dough starts to show gluten developing within a few minutes of adding the cream. So every minute that the raw ones are not frozen affects the texture. Might come down to your freezer.

 

Please note that I am about to change the yield. This recipe makes 10 sandwich sized biscuits or 20 normal sized ones. Sorry about that, I have my recipes stored as just formulas, not technique, and I grabbed the one I had developed for a restaurant so they could make sandwich sized ones ten at a time.

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To make the process faster (even though this is a super-quick recipe to begin with) make your own biscuit mix by weighing out and mixing several batches worth of the dry ingredients. Then just weigh out 31.5g of mix for every 1 large, or 2 small, biscuits you want to make and add 36g of cold cream per.

 

If you keep the ingredients on hand, making biscuits like these on the fly can be a great solution to the dilemmas faced when an extra person or two shows up unexpectedly for a meal. Feed everyone a biscuit, and they'll be happy with a smaller portion of the main dish. They only take about 15 minutes to make, start to finish.

 

tested variations:

 

'Italian' - add 2g of onion powder, 3g of ground rosemary, and 30g of finely grated parmesean cheese to the dry ingredients at the beginning. Egg washing the tops and dusting with parmesean is also good.

 

'Chicken' -reduce the amount of cream to 350g and mix 20g of Minor's chicken base in with the cream before the final incorporation with the dry ingredients. (note, not all bases are the same, you may need to run tests on other brands and other flavors)


Edited by Lisa Shock math (log)
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To make the process faster (even though this is a super-quick recipe to begin with) make your own biscuit mix byweighing out and mixing several batches worth of the dry ingredients. Then just weigh out 315g of mix for every 1 large or 2 small biscuits you want to make and add 36g of cold cream.

 

I think you meant 31.5 gm of the dry mix?

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1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

 

To make the process faster (even though this is a super-quick recipe to begin with) make your own biscuit mix byweighing out and mixing several batches worth of the dry ingredients. Then just weigh out 315g of mix for every 1 large or 2 small biscuits you want to make and add 36g of cold cream.

 

I think you meant 31.5 gm of the dry mix?

Oops! I'll edit that! Thanks!

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@Lisa Shock  I made up a batch of the dry ingredients and keep it in a ziplock bag in the fridge.  When I want a biscuit, I weigh the ingredients, mix, and bake it.  I have one baking as I type.  It is nice to be able to make these at a moment's notice.  Thank you.

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On 11/24/2018 at 3:56 PM, Lisa Shock said:

This is an easy drop biscuit recipe originally developed by the Beard family cook over 100 years ago. The trick here is to use fresh ingredients in a cold room and a light hand. AP flour may be substituted for the cake flour, but the resulting biscuits will not be as tender. Do not use a cream substitute or any lower-fat alternatives. Converted to weight-based measurement by me, directions by me.

 

Makes 10 sandwich sized biscuits or 20 regular sized biscuits.

Ingredients:

284g sifted cake flour
10.5g baking powder
5g salt
14g sugar
360g heavy cream, cold

28-30g melted butter, optional, for brushing on tops

 

Preheat the oven to 350°

Place parchment paper on a plain half sheet pan, or use a non-stick sheet pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the cold cream and stir gently until barely mixed. This 'shaggy mass' will look very rough. Using the two-spoon method, drop in large spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Lightly tap into shape, if need be. Brush the tops with butter, if desired. Bake for about 10 minutes, time varies by size, until the tops are barely colored and the bottoms slightly brown. They will continue to cook for a few minutes after leaving the oven.

 

These can also be carefully dropped into flan rings on a parchment covered sheet pan to make consistent rounds for sandwiches or eggs benedict. Or, try dropping into non-stick molds like muffin pans -keeping the height 2-3cm.

Enjoy!

 

I have the "muffin-top" pans with the shallow cups which will be even easier than the rings (I have a bag full of rings) that I used for making English muffins back when I was catering, until I bought six of the hamburger bun pans - full size. When I sold my Blodgett oven I gave most of my full-size pans to the buyer because I did not contemplate ever having a commercial oven again. 

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 8.17.51 AM.png


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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I have the USA hamburger bun pans.  Never thought to use them for this.  I wonder how the buns hold together if baked in these pans then sliced vertically to make sandwiches?  The ones I have made don't seem to want to slice too easily.  I have just been dropping them on a parchment square about an inch high and so not try to shape them in any way.  When you use the muffin top pans or the hamburger bun pans, did you just drop the dough into it or smooth it out some?  I bet these buns would also be good with grated sharp cheddar in the dough, but reducing the amount of sugar.

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2 hours ago, ElsieD said:

I have the USA hamburger bun pans.  Never thought to use them for this.  I wonder how the buns hold together if baked in these pans then sliced vertically to make sandwiches?  The ones I have made don't seem to want to slice too easily.  I have just been dropping them on a parchment square about an inch high and so not try to shape them in any way.  When you use the muffin top pans or the hamburger bun pans, did you just drop the dough into it or smooth it out some?  I bet these buns would also be good with grated sharp cheddar in the dough, but reducing the amount of sugar.

 

When I made them in flan rings, we would wet our fingers and lightly press the biscuit dough into the ring to ensure that it filled the ring properly. Since the dough rises, if you start with a gap at the bottom, the dough around it just moves upwards and you can wind up with an even larger gap. That said, it was always pretty clear that we were always skirting disaster by using the flan rings. I would never go any larger than that, as I don't think there's enough structural integrity. We really only got away with it because we only used the biscuit for benedicts, not any type of sandwich or anything that a customer might pick up and eat out of hand. Our plain biscuit was smaller, a more reasonable portion.

 

You can also lightly egg wash the tops, instead of buttering, to get them to hold together a bit better.

 

You can reduce or eliminate the sugar as desired. Remember that these biscuits do not taste sweet. The sugar has two functions here: counteracting the bitterness of the baking powder, and aiding in browning.

 

When adding a cheese, look for a dry type. Kerrygold's Dubliner is very good here, as well as the beforementioned parmesan. For moister cheeses, look to reduce the amount of cream by a tablespoon or two. Also, when adding cheese, you may wish to reduce the amount of salt.

 

A whole wheat version can be made by replacing up to 50% of the flour with whole wheat flour (albino white or regular), preferably pastry flour. The biscuits will be more dense than normal, but that's the norm for whole wheat baking. I do not recommend going anywhere close to 100% whole wheat flour, the end result is too heavy and gritty.

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Thank you for your additional notes.  I have copied them to the recipe.  I just bought a couple of aged cheddar Irish cheeses at Costco.  How much cheese do you think I can add before something bad happens to the biscuit?  We do like lots of cheese.

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2 hours ago, ElsieD said:

Thank you for your additional notes.  I have copied them to the recipe.  I just bought a couple of aged cheddar Irish cheeses at Costco.  How much cheese do you think I can add before something bad happens to the biscuit?  We do like lots of cheese.

 

Admittedly, I am not fond of Cheddar, so, I haven't tried it. I did it once with Dubliner a long time ago.

 

There will be variations with cheeses from different makers, and maybe how long you've stored it. (some cheese releases water over time) In relation to the original formula, I'd try 225g/8oz of Cheddar. It might need more, that's only .8oz per biscuit for the sandwich sized ones. Let us know how it goes.

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9 minutes ago, Lisa Shock said:

 

Admittedly, I am not fond of Cheddar, so, I haven't tried it. I did it once with Dubliner a long time ago.

 

There will be variations with cheeses from different makers, and maybe how long you've stored it. (some cheese releases water over time) In relation to the original formula, I'd try 225g/8oz of Cheddar. It might need more, that's only .8oz per biscuit for the sandwich sized ones. Let us know how it goes.

 

Thank you.  I will post results.

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I am very fond of caerphilly in buns and in phyllo dough wrapped like strudel. For some reason I've never added it to biscuit dough.

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40 minutes ago, andiesenji said:

I am very fond of caerphilly in buns and in phyllo dough wrapped like strudel. For some reason I've never added it to biscuit dough.

 

IMO, worth a try, you can scale your recipe down to make one test biscuit so you don't waste much cheese. Any of the dryer, crumbly cheeses should work well. I should try a blue cheese soon, myself...

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Here is my test biscuit.  31.5 gm dry mixture, 21 gm grated 2 year old Balderson cheese, 36 gm whipping cream.  The cheese was white so doesn't show in the picture.  I see the point about a dryer cheese, will check my other cheeses for moisture content.  This biscuit needed to be a bit more dry.  That didn't stop me from inhaling it.  I plan on making up two more batches, one as per the recipe when only biscuits with jam will do and another with reduced sugar for when I want the cheese ones.  Thank you.

20181207_132721.jpg


Edited by ElsieD Added picture (log)
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On 12/3/2018 at 8:16 AM, andiesenji said:

I have the "muffin-top" pans with the shallow cups which will be even easier than the rings (I have a bag full of rings) that I used for making English muffins back when I was catering, until I bought six of the hamburger bun pans - full size. When I sold my Blodgett oven I gave most of my full-size pans to the buyer because I did not contemplate ever having a commercial oven again. 

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 8.17.51 AM.png

 

 

I used to make my Yorkshire puds in that pan. Worked out well. 

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2 hours ago, ElsieD said:

Here is my test biscuit.  31.5 gm dry mixture, 21 gm grated 2 year old Balderson cheese, 36 gm whipping cream.  The cheese was white so doesn't show in the picture.  I see the point about a dryer cheese, will check my other cheeses for moisture content.  This biscuit needed to be a bit more dry.  That didn't stop me from inhaling it.  I plan on making up two more batches, one as per the recipe when only biscuits with jam will do and another with reduced sugar for when I want the cheese ones.  Thank you.

20181207_132721.jpg

 

 

Looks great. I really need to make biscuits again. I think I'd try cheddar and chive. 

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11 hours ago, Lisa Shock said:

 

IMO, worth a try, you can scale your recipe down to make one test biscuit so you don't waste much cheese. Any of the dryer, crumbly cheeses should work well. I should try a blue cheese soon, myself...

A friend is sending me some Wensleydale cheese for Christmas.  It is used a lot in baking breads, cakes, scones, etc., in her part of Yorkshire, a village near Bradford.  She said she made croissants filled with Wensleydale and onion confit for an office party and they were the first to go. 

I'm not in a position to buy much cheese right now so this will be a real treat.

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