A Mediocre Gardener
I generally have a black thumb. I’m all gung ho when I plant my herb garden in the spring…but by late July, I tend to forget the all important “watering” task. Thank goodness we’ve had regular rainfall this summer, so my little plot is flourishing. I had no excuse to miss August’s Twelve Loaves event since Summer Herbs was our chosen theme. But since I’d just returned from visiting my parents in Denver, I wanted to showcase my garden herbs in a quick and easy recipe. I remembered a flaky biscuit dough that required a pseudo-laminating. I snipped a few fragrant stems and leaves from my garden and baked up some Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits.
Flaky and Tender Biscuits
What is laminating, you ask? It’s basically the technique used to make puff pastry. Folding, turning and rolling layers of dough and butter to form layers upon layers of pastry. With these biscuits, I worked the cold butter and shortening into the flour mixture with my fingers, thus forming flat pieces of fat which created layers when baked. But besides that step, I also folded the dough into thirds, thus “laminating” before the final rolling and cutting step. With puff pastry, this is done numerous times, with chilling between each “fold.” This would be just one “turn” versus the many in a true laminated dough. So a pseudo-lamination, per se. Besides this extra folding, the addition of buttermilk ensured a tender biscuit. Feel free to adjust the amount and type of herb and cheese. Mine had a lovely, subtle herb flavor. No dominant flavor, so perfect with every meal and cuisine. But the options are endless. I hope you’ll give them a shot!
- 2½ cups flour plus more for rolling dough
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 stick very cold butter
- ½ cup (and up to 1 cup) shredded Gruyere cheese
- ½+ teaspoon minced fresh sage
- ½+ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- ½+ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 1¼ cup very cold buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 450º. Line baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
- In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening in with pastry blender or a couple knives till the size of peas. Cut butter into 8 pieces and, one at a time, rub them into the flour with your fingers till they are flattened into thin sheets (they will break apart). You'll want all the butter separated into these pieces so when they melt in the oven, they will make the biscuits flaky. Mix in Gruyere and herbs.
- Put the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Add all the buttermilk except the last two tablespoons. Mix gently with a spatula. If the dough is too dry, you may add the remaining buttermilk. Lightly flour another silpat and roll the dough out to cover the surface (11 x 16). Fold the dough into thirds, then roll to an inch thick.
- Cut into biscuits using sharp round cutter. I used a 2½ inch cutter. Press straight down without twisting. Dip the cutter into flour if it sticks to the dough. Pat together scraps to make last few biscuits. Place biscuits on lined baking sheet, and bake about 15 minutes or till lightly browned.
- Yield: 8-12 depending on size of your cutter.
August Twelve Loaves: Herbs
- Basil Buns by Rise of The Sourdough Preacher
- Gluten Free Basil Parmesan Popovers by Simply Gourmet
- Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Herbed Skillet Cornbread by Magnolia Days
- Keema Naan by Food Lust People Love
- Pesto Bread by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Pesto Quick Bread by Rhubarb and Honey
- Pull-Apart Bread w/ Cheese, Herbs, & Seeds by girlichef
- Rosemary Grissini by Cake Duchess
- Rosemary Parmesan Flatbread Crisps by A Shaggy Dough Story
If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!
1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone’s posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!
2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this August 2014, and posted on your blog by August 30, 2014.
#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess.
#TwelveLoaves runs smoothly with the help of our friends.
Thank you to Sherron from Simply Gourmet for hosting this month’s event!
I’m offering a series of Skinny Tips. How I keep slim is one of my most frequent inquiries. I’ll feature tips on some of my upcoming blog posts.
Tip #33: Herbs are an excellent way of boosting the flavor of lower calorie foods and recipes. You don’t have to sacrifice taste, just because you’ve reduced calories doesn’t mean your food should be bland! Add basil to your fresh garden tomatoes, thyme to your grilled zucchini or tuck sage leaves under the skin of your roasted chicken.