Flaky Za’atar and Feta Biscuits

Makes 6 large biscuits

There are a million different ways to make a biscuit, but this one has quickly become my favorite. Grating the butter (as opposed to cubing or smashing it) into the dry ingredients makes for a supremely tender, fall-apart crumb that trumps all other biscuit techniques I’ve tried to date…

Active Time: 40 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr

Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 4.40.13 PM

Pantry

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 ½ tablespoons za’atar spice blend, divided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Dairy

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
  • 6 ounces feta cheese (block, not crumbled)
  • 1 cup buttermilk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HI WEENIE!!!

1. Do some prep:

  • Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Throw 1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) of unsalted butter onto a small plate and store in the fridge for at least 10 minutes (and up to an hour) to ensure it is very very cold.
  • Thinly slice a 6-ounce chunk of feta (if it’s packed in brine, you’ll want to pat it dry first using paper towels) into ⅛” thick planks. Doesn’t matter if they break–they are going to get scattered over the dough after it’s rolled out.

2. Make the dough:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1½ tablespoons za’atar spice blend, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • Once the butter is very cold and hard, set a box grater over the bowl of flour, and grate the 12 tablespoons of butter on the large holes, right into the flour. Use your hands to lighly toss and fluff the flour to coat the butter.
  • Using a wooden spoon, make a well it the middle of the flour mixture. Pour 1 cup buttermilk into the well. Stir with the wooden spoon, starting in the center, until the dough sticks together in large clumps. There will still likely be a fair amount of unincorporated flour–don’t worry–we’ll get there.
  • Once the clumps have started to form, dump the contents of the bowl out onto a clean work surface. Using your hands, pat and knead the dough a bit until it comes together in a singular mass, and the loose floury bits start to become incorporated – it may seem like there’s a lot of excess flour but it will eventually become one! Once it’s mostly all incorporated, use a rolling pin or a wine bottle to roll the dough into a large 1 1/2” thick rectangle.
  • Scatter about a third of the feta planks over one half rectangle. Fold the rectangle in half to enclose the feta. Reroll the dough again into a 1 1/2” rectangle (you may want to add some flour to your surface throughout this process to avoid sticking). Add another third of the feta, fold the dough in half, and roll again. Repeat one last time (now all of the feta should be rolled into the dough.
  • From here, shape the dough into a  6” x 9” rectangle. Do your best to square off the edges but don’t worry too much! Using a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough into 6 equal squares. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet. Keep chilled while you finish the last step.

3. Sizzle the za’atar in butter and bake:

  • In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, along with another heaping tablespoon of za’atar spice blend. Once the foaming subsides and the butter smells fragrant, remove from the heat, 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the biscuits from the fridge. Lightly brush the tops of each one with some melted za’atar butter.
  • Bake, rotating once halfway through, until golden brown at all the edges, 20-25 minutes.
  • Just before serving, brush with more of the za’atar butter (reheat it gently if you need to), and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve warm (I promise they are soooo much better warm, it’s worth it. If you have to reheat them, do it!). Store in an airtight container, and reheat at 375, for about 5 minutes.

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