Monday, April 8, 2013

Cheese - Veggie "Bacon" Biscuit Sandwiches



These are dairy (cheese) biscuits and because I don't have a full array of dairy baking tools, there is a degree of "winging it" when I make dairy recipes. For example, I do not have a pastry blender for breaking up butter into the flour mixture and use the old fashioned two-fork method.  This time I discovered that using whipped butter made the two-fork blending process easier; however, the butter must be weighed so that it the recipe incorporates the same amount of butter that would be cut from a bar. The flour and grated cheese are weighed as well, it's best to organize all of this ahead of time.





Making biscuits is a bit different than bread baking: leaving agents and salt need to distributed evenly into the flour prior to the addition of any other ingredient. Self rising flour does this for you, but as you'll see this recipe calls for part whole wheat, which makes it necessary to start with plain flour. The fat needs to incorporated into this mixture so that it is distributed in small globs. I use a very simple, but indispensable step as far as I'm concerned: take a small old-fashioned metal strainer and sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. This extra minute or two will assure that you do not have a lump of baking powder or soda in the flour, thus avoiding any chance of experiencing the bitter taste that happens when baking powder forms a lump in the dough.

 Fat (butter in this case) needs to be broken up in small pieces throughout the flour blend.


 
There is a very nice tool for blending fat into flour, but in a pinch, two forks, worked at 90 degree angles to each other will do the job.

The instructions here will yield 8 large (sandwich size) biscuits or in a smaller dinner/side dish size. The bacon I use, obviously is veggie.

Sandwich Ingredients
1 package of vegetarian bacon Use 2-3 slices per muffin

Biscuit ingredients:
4 oz white whole wheat flour
5 oz all- purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 oz unsalted butter (either use whipped or cut up 3 oz from a bar)
6 oz unflavored, non-fat yogurt
4 oz grated sharp cheddar (use the sharpest cheese you can find, grate it and measure before you start mixing any ingredients)
2 oz cool water
1-2 Tbsp grated or shredded Parmesan (for sprinkling on top)

Choreography:
1. Preheat the oven (425 degrees) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Measure out all of the ingredients so that they will be ready for mixing. Speed and a light hand while mixing matters.
3. Sift the flours, baking powder, soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
4. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using either a hand pastry blender or two forks working at a 90 degree angle. The butter must be broken into small bits and distributed throughout the flour. You can use your finger tips to rub the butter into the flour, but work quickly, as you don't want to warm the butter and melt it.
5. Stir in the yogurt and cheese. The mixture will, in all likelihood be dry - you can stir and mix in up to 2 oz of water.
6. The dough will form a sticky ball, you might find it easier to turn it a few times with your hands. 

7. Working quickly- you don't want to a) warm up the butter or b) start forming too much gluten - divide and form the dough into balls (they will look like slightly lumpy matzah balls). Place the balls onto the prepared cookie sheet and flatten a bit with the back of your hand.
8. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

9. Bake for 12-15 minutes (for small size) or 22-25 (for large size).  The biscuits will be a light golden color.  These biscuits are not as dry/crumbly as regular baking powder biscuits, nor are they as greasy as commercial biscuits. 
10. Allow the biscuits to cool for a few minutes, cut in half and make the sandwich. Use your imagination, for example, you can melt additional cheese, load the biscuit with lettuce and tomato in addition to the veggie-bacon or use a veggie sausage-pattie instead of the faux-bacon. 
11. The cooled biscuits can be double wrapped and frozen. Defrost partially and re-warm in a medium (350 degree) oven for a few minutes.