I have a question about the recipe "Cheese Biscuits" from merrill. Does 3 1/2 C. minus 1 tsp. really make a difference from 3 1/2 C. of flour?
Probably not. Wouldn't it be nice if we all just used weight measurements instead?
Having read the recipe I suspect the odd measurements are because they have translated the recipe from a very large batch measured in weight to a small batch measured in volume.
I agree with Ophelia on both counts. There are 48 tsp of flour in a cup. 167/168 = 0.994 which is close enough to being 100 that it can't really matter.
What's more important is not over-kneading your biscuit dough. And using soft wheat flour.
Not going to make a huge difference. I'd skip that step altogether. Just make sure you fluff your flour really well.
It does seem a bit fussy, doesn't it? But you should have seen the first version of my fruitcake recipe when I scaled it down from a batter mixed in an industrial 15-gallon Hobart mixer to one that I could make at home with a KitchenAid--I had all kinds of oddball measurements because of the conversions from weight to cups. It's neater and easier for commercial bakers to dump a 25-pound bag of flour into the bowl of an industrial mixer than it is to measure by the cupful, but the most important reason for weighing ingredients is because it insures a standardized product no matter how many variables come into play, such as who is doing the baking and how high the humidity is. It's not a big deal if your biscuits come out slightly different each time you bake them, but that would be if catastrophic if your livelihoood and reputation depended on it.
I made these last night, and of course I couldn't follow the recipe to the letter because I don't keep what you'd call a well-stocked pantry. Here are my tweaks:
1. I didn't remove that teaspoon of flour in the dough.
2. I used a stick (8 tablespoons) Darigold butter instead of Plugra, and I subbed in a tiny bit more than a tablespoon of Crisco for the 9th tablespoon plus one teaspoon of butter.
3. I used medium-sharp Tillamook yellow cheddar.
I've tried different recipes for cheese biscuits, and every one of them has resulted in biscuits that were either insipid or dense. We loved these, probably because they aren't the plain biscuits I've been making for the past 50 years, so I've already made plans for this recipe: some kind of garlic-herb-cheese biscuit to go with grilled steak, or a bacon-chive-cheese mini biscuit to go with a frittata, or ham and egg breakfast sandwich.
I wrote this piece on measurement precision a while back. It gives my general rules for thinking about when to be precise and when not to.
Merrill, is it possible for you to get the measurements for us in weight rather than volume since this is a commercial recipe?
Ophelia, you're right about the translation. We got the measurements from Adam in grams and thought a dry measure would be easier for most people. (Whenever we use weights, people always ask for the reverse!) I will add the weight measurements to the recipe, though, since so many of you seem to prefer that.
Converting between volume and weight is not an exact science, as the conversion factors vary depending on source, particularly for flour. I did my own conversion, made them, and was quite pleased with the results, though I will no doubt tweak the amounts over time. In hopes that it will help someone else, here are the amounts I used:
20g baking powder
yes in grams! thank you dbradley!
I love this recipe and this website! Thanks so much for providing clear instructions and really good recipes
And remember Flour can differ in weight by region and brand.
here's a handy chart.