I like experimenting with alternate flours. I like the feeling that I am offering more nutrition and alternate forms of gluten. I am not so thrilled with the cost but I also find there is a feeling of being satisfied sooner. During my student homestay days, I could make pancakes till the cows came home from all purpose flour but even young men with hollow legs were satisfied with three to four spelt pancakes, which gave me back time in my day for other activities.
Red Fife is a bread wheat, originally grown in Canada, in 1842 by Dave Fife and family, on their farm in Peterborough, Ontario. The typical way to name wheat at that time was to combine the colour of wheat with the name of the farmer growing it. Red Fife is Canada’s oldest wheat and the story of its arrival here is one of pure happenstance.
A friend of Farmer Fife dropped his hat into a bin of wheat kernels while a Ukrainian ship was anchored in Glasgow, Scotland. A few grains got caught in the headband and those grains were sent to Farmer Fife in Canada. They grew! Alas their cow thought the heads were tasty and managed to eat all the stalks except one that Mrs Fife was able to save.
Within two decades Red Fife wheat was distributed and grown from coast to coast. It would become the Canadian standard for more than forty years. A hybrid of Red Fife and Hard Red Calcutta took its place at the beginning of the 1900’s and all subsequent bread wheats in Canada owe part of their genetic lineage to Red Fife wheat.
You will need:
2 cups Red Fife flour (whole wheat flour or spelt can also be substituted with similar outcomes. All purpose flour will use less liquid.)
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup whey (Milk works too. Depending on the flour, more might be needed and some for the top of biscuits.)
3 – 4 Tbsp. crumbled Feta
1 clove roasted garlic
1 Tbsp. each sage and rosemary, finely chopped
“In my kitchen filled with Care. I welcome, Earth, Fire, Water, Air.” Baking is one of those activities that brings all the elements together in a physical way. With an open heart, free of nigglies, gather your ingredients, put on an apron and wash hands. This simple ritual can help bring your focus into the present moment. Take a deep breath and begin.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. ( 420F. if your oven runs hot ) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Three reasons to do this. If you have dark pans it will stop the bottoms from getting too brown. Any cheese that dribbles will not be getting crusty on the pan itself making clean up easier and biscuits will slide off the paper without needing to do any greasing of pans.
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. If you whipped up a batch of herbed salts this fall, this is the perfect time to make a substitution for the kosher or table salt in the recipe.
If you are comfortable using your hands to create the “crumble” begin to break down the butter, covering each piece with flour as the mixture is worked. The pieces of butter should be broken down to the size of a pea or a little smaller.
Most instructions will tell you to use cold butter and I am not going to say they are wrong. I am going to suggest that once you get a feel for working with this style of recipe, room temperature butter will get you there more quickly as long as the mixture is not overworked.
Using cold butter, two knives or a pastry blender will all aid in keeping the butter harder longer as there will be no heat from your hands and less likelihood the ingredients will be overworked. Choose the method that brings you the best results. Both can produce light, airy biscuits.
I had just finished letting a batch of Greek yoghurt drip so I used whey and gradually stirred it into the dry ingredients until I had a stiff dough. No whey? Use milk instead. Red Fife flour acts more like a whole wheat flour so you may find you need one or two more tablespoons of liquid to get a proper consistency.
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead just until the dough comes together. The less time the dough is handled, the less the butter balls will breakdown and the flakier the biscuits will be once baked.
These were being made to accompany a dinner of soup so they were a little larger.
Smaller squares will make about 12 and will be a more appropriate size for a larger meal. Use a cookie cutter to make circles if you prefer.
In the picture below I have reshaped the corner pieces so they are less rounded.
The biscuits should have risen, have crisp, golden brown tops and visibly melted cheese.
Serve while still warm with butter or cream cheese.
These biscuits can be saved for a day and warmed or toasted before serving.
They are always going to be best though, fresh from the oven.
Easy to put together and perfectly timed to ready just as the soup is being poured into bowls.
Red Fife Biscuits with Garlic, Feta and Herbs from My Kitchen Wand