Friday, February 15, 2008

Freezer Biscuits

This is a light and fluffy cut biscuit that can be made well in advance and stored in the freezer, just like the frozen biscuits sold at supermarkets—only better. The biscuit dough will not bake well unless it's frozen.

Makes about 24 biscuits

Try to cut out as many biscuits as possible each time the dough is patted out; each additional batch of cut biscuits will look more rustic. Obviously, these biscuits do not need to be baked at the same time, but rather can be baked as desired. The unbaked biscuit dough cannot be stored in the refrigerator.

6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups heavy cream

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (if your baking sheets are small, you may need to use 2); set aside. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until a dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball. Knead the dough briefly until smooth, about 60 seconds, adding extra flour as needed if the dough is too sticky.

Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut out the biscuits using a 2 1⁄2-inch round biscuit cutter. Lay the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. Gather up the scraps of dough and reknead them briefly to combine, then pat the dough again into a 3/4-inch-thick round and cut more biscuits; repeat this process again for a third time. You can either discard any remaining bits of dough or gently pat them into rustic hand-formed biscuits.

To Store: Wrap the baking sheet tightly with greased plastic wrap and freeze the biscuits until frozen solid, about 6 hours. Transfer the frozen biscuits to a large zipper-lock bag and freeze for up to 1 month. (Do not thaw before baking.)

To Serve: Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Lay the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart, and bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. (If baking a large amount of biscuits, spread them out over 2 baking sheets and bake the sheets separately; do not bake both sheets at the same time.) Serve hot.

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