These flaky gluten free cornmeal biscuits, with a bit of yogurt for tenderness, are made with a puff pastry-style technique.
These are tender and flaky gluten free cornmeal biscuits. But they’re also trainers.
Are you nervous about Puff Pastry? It can be kind of intimidating.
There’s a recipe for “Quick” (so to speak) Puff Pastry in my next cookbook. And it requires “turns.” Puff Pastry comes by its name, and telltale layers, honestly. It’s layers upon layers of butter wrapped in flour.
Guess what also makes for puffy biscuits? Leaveners like baking powder and baking soda, but also, you guessed it…
If you want your pastry to flake, you gotta do the turns. There’s no substitute for ’em. See how the pastry almost shatters and peels away?
And you have to have big chunks of butter.
Toss them in the flour.
And then flatten the chunks with your floured fingers.
All of them.
Then press the dough into a disk and freeze it until firm.
When you first roll out the dough, it will be a bit crumbly. Can you see the big chunks of butter? They’re everywhere.
Then fold the dough in thirds. It will crack as you fold it. No worries. Keep reading.
Turn it 90 degrees, and roll it out again.
Then fold it again. See how it has smoothed out? Much more pliable. Becoming quite lovely.
Fold the other side.
Turn it 90 degrees, and roll it out again. Do the whole thing one more time, if you have it in you. Have it in you! We’re training. You’ll get better and better at this. Practice makes perfect. It will click. *click* Like that.
Cut it into 2 inch squares, and pop the baking sheet in the freezer. Then bake. No need to brush it with milk or anything else. The yogurt in the dough makes for a very tender crumb, and the butter makes it brown beautifully.
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
3/4 cup (100 g) coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup (113 g) plain yogurt, chilled
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk, chilled
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
Place the flour, xanthan gum, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, and whisk to combine well. Cut the 6 tablespoons cold butter into a large dice (see photo), and dump all the butter into the large bowl of dry ingredients (see photo). Toss the diced butter in the dry ingredients to coat (see photo), but not to break up the butter. Flatten each piece of diced butter in between your fingertips (see photo) without crumbling the butter.
Add the yogurt and milk to the bowl, and mix to combine, still taking care not to crumble the butter. The mixture should come together. It will not be very wet, so be sure to wet all the dry ingredients with the milk and yogurt.
Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a flat disk and cover it tightly with the plastic wrap. Place the dough in the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until firm.
Once the dough is firm, transfer it to a piece of parchment paper, and press back into a flat disk if it has crumbled at all. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough, and begin to roll into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. You should see flattened pieces of diced butter pretty clearly in the dough. Fold one short end of the dough over 1/3 of the rectangle, and then fold the other end on top. You will have folded the dough in thirds, like a business letter. The dough will likely crack a bit as you fold it. Turn the dough either clockwise or counterclockwise 1/4 of the way around (a 90° turn). Roll the dough out again into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. You have just completed one full “turn.”
Repeat the whole process for 2 or 3 more “turns.” By the second time you fold the dough like a business letter, it will be much smoother and won’t crack. After the final turn, roll into a rectangle about 8 inches wide by 16 inches long. Fold the dough in half so that it is an 8-inch square. It will be about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, divide the dough into sixteen 2-inch squares.
Place the squares of biscuit dough about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Remove the biscuits from the freezer and place them in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy, rotating once during baking.