Parmesan Thyme Buttermilk Biscuits
These parmesan thyme buttermilk biscuits were a labor of love. About four and half hours of labor to be exact. I’ve gone through a quart of buttermilk, more butter than I’d like to admit, washed three loads of dishes, and cleaned out flour from almost every crevice in my kitchen.
To be fair, they all tasted pretty good. In fact, Connor inhaled the very first batch within minutes of taking them out of the oven. By the fourth trial and me calling for him to come taste-test them from the other room once again (which generally involves me staring him down and interrogating him–“seriously though, do you really like them?”), his enthusiasm was waning.
It wasn’t until the fourth batch that I finally achieved the flavor, texture, and that perfect height that defines a classic buttermilk biscuit. Even though we were both pretty sick of biscuits at this point–the smell of parmesan was enough to draw me in.
Though I’ve shared a biscuit recipe on the blog once before, these are quite different–and definitely a bit more decadent. Though I’m no Southerner–um, not even close–I am true believer in the magic of White Lily flour.
Similar to cake flour, it is made with soft winter red-wheat and boasts a much lower-gluten content that regular, all-purpose flours. Low-gluten equals tender, light biscuits.
Despite being a bit difficult to find, I was finally able to snag a bag during a visit to a nearby grocery store and it has been sitting in my pantry for months, reserved only for biscuit making–which until this past weekend, I’ve completely forgotten to partake in.
Guess what? That’s not cheese. It’s butter!!! Instead of using a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients, I decided to grate it-after first learning this method from Adrianna and a few others.
It’s a heck of a lot easier and simply requires sticking the butter in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes until it is almost frozen completely.
Before settling on the right recipe and flavor profile, I ended up making a plain batch, another with some fresh thyme, and just to try something totally different, biscuits that were slightly sweetened with honey and ground cardamom. I was tempted to go with something really different, but…
Turns out, when it comes to biscuits, I’m a bit of a traditionalist and I didn’t want to veer too far off the well-worn path. The addition of parmesan cheese, fresh thyme, and a touch of black pepper ended up being the perfect middle ground for me. Just different enough to make them special and bit unique, but still worthy of being called a classic buttermilk biscuit.
These biscuits would make a perfect side to a big bowl of soup or simply topped with a runny egg and served at breakfast—> that last option is currently under way…
Parmesan Thyme Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cups self-rising flour (White Lily) + more for dusting
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh pepper (4-5 grinds)
- 4 tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter, grated
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk, cold (shake container before pouring)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
- Place butter in freezer for at least 10-15 minutes, until almost frozen completely.
- Whisk together flour, parmesan, thyme, salt, pepper and baking powder in a large, shallow-rimmed baking bowl.
- Using large grater, grate butter directly into bowl with dry ingredients. Toss lightly with fingers until all the butter is coated and evenly incorporated into the flour. Place in freezer for another five minutes.
- Meanwhile, dust your kitchen countertop lightly with flour and set aside a small bowl with flour, where you grab any additional flour as needed and lightly dust the edges of the biscuit cutter as you work.
- Remove flour and butter mixture from freezer and create a large well in the center with your fingers. Add the buttermilk and using a wooden spoon or fork, mix gently until the dry ingredients are moistened.
- Using your fingers, remove dough (it should be wet and shaggy) onto the floured countertop. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough gently several times until it comes together and is relatively smooth.
- Using your fingertips, pat the dough into a ¾ inch thick circle. Using a lightly floured cutter, cut dough into biscuits using a 2-inch biscuit cutter (do not twist the cutter or it will seal the edges of the dough and prevent the biscuits from rising properly). Place biscuits on baking sheet—you can set them about an inch or two apart if you prefer crunchier edges or touching each other, if you prefer softer edged biscuits.
- Knead any remaining dough and repeat procedure until you have eight two-inch biscuits.
- Bake at 500 degrees (center-rack) for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve immediately!
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