I feel bad for subjecting my readers to book review after book review. The truth is that I haven’t baked bread in nearly a month.
Here’s why: we buy meat in bulk, in the truest sense of the word. When we buy beef, we buy it on the hoof. We contact the farm, send them a list of how we want our cow cut up, and then a few weeks later we go there with big coolers and pick up several hundred pounds of beef, frozen and wrapped in paper.
This usually lasts us a year. We do the same thing with our pork, although some of the pork gets smoked. So we pick it up in Fredericksburg, Virginia then drive it to Maugansville, MD to the smokehouse. The reward is the most delicious steaks, roasts, bacon, sausages and fat you’ve ever had.
The downside is that you have to have enough room to store all this meat. We have a deep freeze in the basement that fits it all, but because of my quest to bake all 18 loaves called for in Preston Yancey’s Out of the House of Bread, the freezer was stuffed to the gills with frozen loaves of bread. This would not do.
So for the past few weeks, I’ve placed a moratorium on baking and I’ve been giving away bread as fast as I can so we’ll have space for the meat.
Today I couldn’t take it anymore. So I made some bread that I knew would not last long enough to freeze – Shauna Niequist’s goat cheese biscuits.
They are super easy and quick to throw together, if you use a few of my tricks.
For 12-14 biscuits, you will need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk (or milk and 1 tbls white vinegar) or yogurt
4 tablespoons goat cheese
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
7 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons chilled and three tablespoons melted
1.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with a cast-iron skillet inside.
2.If you don’t have buttermilk or yogurt, mix together the milk and vinegar and let sit for ten minutes to curdle.
3.Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
4. Add the goat cheese to the buttermilk mixture.
5. Using a grater, grate 4 tablespoons of chilled butter into the flour mixture.
6. Whisk the butter into the flour until it’s well-coated. Then pour in the goat cheese/buttermilk mixture.
7. Knead JUST a little bit to make sure everything is incorporated and the goat cheese is evenly distributed throughout. Then take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a clean counter.
8. Using a bench scraper or a butter knife, divide the dough into 12-14 equal-sized pieces.
9. Now take your skillet out of the oven and place it on your stovetop. Throw one tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the skillet. Get your bowl of melted butter ready. Take each piece of dough, gently roll it in a ball, then roll it in the melted butter and place it in the skillet.
10. When all of your dough is in the skillet, return it to the oven and bake for 15-30 minutes. I found I needed way more time than Shauna advises before they got sufficiently brown and fully-cooked.
They were so beautiful! I will say, I had a little snafu with the parmesan cheese, which you are supposed to sprinkle the biscuits with immediately after you take them out of the oven. My biscuits did not fill the entire bottom of the pan, so when I sprinkled the cheese, most of it hit the bottom of the pan and started to sizzle. Quickly I removed the biscuits from the skillet to a cooling rack and continued sprinkling.
Then I realized- the parmesan cheese that had melted in the skillet had been transformed into delicious little parmesan crackers.
What I mean to say is, sprinkle the parmesan in the pan if you want crisp little parmesan crackers, or remove the biscuits to a cooling rack if you don’t. It’s up to you. And, as I predicted, these biscuits did not last past breakfast 🙂