Cheese Biscuits

By • April 25, 2011 • 60 Comments

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Author Notes: Frequently on Tuesdays, Kristen shows up to our photo shoot bearing an armload of goodies from Bluebird Coffee Shop. All of the baked treats from this tiny gem of a place in the East Village of Manhattan are delicious, but our little cadre has pinpointed a couple of particular favorites: the doughnuts (more on those later this week from Amanda), and the cheese biscuits -- impossibly tender and almost melting within, the subtle bite of cheddar woven throughout. The other week, Amanda and I went to visit Adam Baumgart in his pastry kitchen in the basement of Bluebird, and he taught us how to make both of our top picks, sharing his tips and tricks along the way. This is Adam’s recipe for his heavenly biscuits.Merrill Stubbs

Makes 10 to 12 large biscuits

  • 3 1/2 cups minus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cold unsalted butter (use a good brand, like Plugra, with a high butterfat content)
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and put it in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, cut the butter into chunks and leave out at room temperature (you want it malleable, but not soft).
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat it to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the chilled dry ingredients, the cheese and the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for a few minutes, until the chunks of butter are no bigger than a large pea – or a small bean. (In the oven, the water in the chunks of butter creates steam, which in turn will creates lovely pockets of air within the biscuits.)
  3. Add the buttermilk to the bowl and mix on low just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, dust your fingers with flour and gently knead it a few times. Quickly and carefully pat the dough into a large rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick.
  4. Dip a 3-inch round cutter with sharp edges in flour and then cut the biscuits using an even downward motion, without twisting the cutter. Transfer the rounds of dough to the baking sheets, leaving an inch or two of space between them. When you’ve cut the first batch of biscuits, gently pat the dough into another rectangle and cut a few more -- discard the dough or add the funky leftover shapes to the baking sheets after the second batch is cut (if you shape the dough a third time, the biscuits will be tough).
  5. Beat the egg with a splash of water (if you’re feeling fancy, you can then pass it through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any clumps of egg white that might burn). Brush the tops of the biscuits lightly with egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the biscuits are a deep golden brown. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets but serve them while still warm!
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Comments (60) Questions (10)


30 days ago Erica Hegarty

Just a little twist, I added a table spoon of Dijon mustard and chopped parsley and they are one of the best biscuits I've ever made!


about 1 month ago Gabriella

"Could you make the biscuit dough in advance then cut them out and bake the following day?"
please answer!


about 1 month ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Because of the yeast, I'd cut them and freeze them and then bake from frozen, but this is a good question for our Hotline.


2 months ago Marivic Restivo

Could you make the biscuit dough in advance then cut them out and bake the following day?


3 months ago Simon

This looks like a great recipe but I am a bit annoyed at the writing of the recipe. Hopefully my comments will be taken with a grain of salt and used to improve the recipe process at Food52 to make the site even better!

I may be stirring the pot here but do we live in a day and age now that bakers don't have a digital scale in their kitchen? "x cups minus tsp", "x tbsp plus tsp" but without any weight based measurements is pretty frustrating especially as I don't live in the good ol' US of A where kosher salt is preferred - the rest of us use table salt and don't measure our butter in tablespoons (never heard of anyone measuring butter in *tea*spoons). As an international based reader of Food52 it would be good if some consideration is given to and audience who don't use the same measurements to at least give bakers a good chance of getting in the "ballpark" of your intended recipe.

Rant over! Happy baking all :)


10 months ago Mary Voss

Would love to know where that biscuit cutter was purchased.


12 months ago Marie

These look great!


about 1 year ago wendy

can you make these without cheese?


about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I'm sure you can, yours. might want to adjust some of the other ingredients to make up for the loss of fat, but I haven't tried this so can't give you specific guidance. This would be a great question for our Hotline!


about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Sorry, "yes," not "yours!"


8 months ago Ralph

Hi Wendy. Did today added some heavy cream to replace the cream and added Diced Garlic Scapes for use in biscuits and gravy.


over 1 year ago Burf

Sometimes, I call Red Lobster, give a phony name, and wear a disguise while I pick up a dozen of their biscuits. Never again! These were great!! I reduced the salt as others had suggested. Also, being a yankee, I didn't have anything like a sharp biscuit cutter, so I patted the dough into a rectangle and made 12 squares, cut with a sharp knife. None of that rolling/re-rolling business, and I could never throw away scraps.


10 months ago Barb

I love that idea! I'm doing this next time I make biscuits.


over 1 year ago za'atar

I made these as drop biscuits rather than rolling them out - everyone loves them! The second time I made them I reduced the salt by half and that seemed to better suit our family's taste preferences, but I'm sure it depends on the kind of salt and cheese that is used. Can't wait to make these again!


over 1 year ago steffiweffi

I must have made these 4-5 times! I love them! I like to freeze a couple so I have a go-to breakfast in a pinch. I just reheat them in the oven for 5-10 minutes and they taste amazing!


over 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad you like them!


over 1 year ago The Fiery Epicurean

In the oven as I type this and will be served with Merrill's lentil, sausage, kale soup!


over 1 year ago Sarah Gillis

Super easy and quite delish! I used habanero jack (Whole foods carries it) because I had it on hand. I paired these biscuits with the summer corn chowder - also found on Food52 - the combination of spicy and rich/sweet was just awesome. Will make again!


over 1 year ago Megan

I've never found a biscuit recipe that I go back to more than once...until now! These biscuits are perfect, I've made them with cheese and without, and can't wait to try different things with them. I usually get 12 out of the batch and I freeze 6 - they bake up out of the freezer beautifully! Sometimes they fall apart very easily, sometimes not - I'm sure it's something that I am doing or not doing, but I'm not an accomplished enough baker to figure that out yet! Thank you for this keeper!


over 1 year ago Mary

Just made these lastnight. Very easy. Still tasted great this morning warmed up with butter.


almost 2 years ago arthurb3

Biscuits are staples here in the South!


almost 2 years ago Sigita

Just made these to go along with some soup for a snow day lunch. Very easy and tasty. I did decrease the salt a bit - great texture and egg wash makes them very beautiful. Made a generous dozen of large biscuits . I froze half of the unbaked cut outs for use on another day. Would make amazing sandwiches - crunchy on the outside - light on the inside.


about 2 years ago rochelle123

I followed the recipe exactly and was very pleased with the results. The flavor and texture were great. I will definitely make these again.


about 2 years ago Joleensta

I have always been intimidated to make biscuits. I have to say these turned out great! I added a touch of mustard powder and paprika and cut into small square biscuits. They went perfect with sliced beef and a bit of horseradish mayo for mini sandwiches.


about 2 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Sounds like a great combo!


about 2 years ago hanachocho

Delicious! Reduced the salt to 2 tsp., but followed every other step and ingredient. Tasted like Cheez-its in biscuit form.


over 2 years ago SJR

We are baking the second pan of biscuits as I am writing this comment. We also chose to add freshly diced jalepeno to the biscuits. I went along with others' advice & only put in 2 teaspoons of salt (instead of 2.5 teaspoons); however, I believe it needs the full 2.5 teaspoons because they need to be saltier OR I will simply use salted butter. Also, we used finely shredded cheese, but next time we will use regular grated cheese so that the cheese is more noticeable. Great recipe - will make again! We look forward to eating them with our fantastic chili this weekend.