Week 41 - Cheese Biscuits

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Week 41's cookbook is not really a cookbook at all. It is a vintage recipe wheel advertising Swift's Formay Shortening. I'm not sure of the age of this wheel, but I'm guessing this dates from the 1930s or 40s. The wheel is two-sided with one side containing recipes for mainly fritters, croquettes and donuts and the other side with recipes for cakes, cookies and breads.

 The front side of the Formay recipe wheel

The front side of the Formay recipe wheel

 The back side of the wheel

The back side of the wheel

To select a recipe, you turn the wheel to the name of the recipe and the ingredient amounts appear in little windows cut out of the wheel. Methods for the recipes are printed on each side of the wheel, with some general instructions grouped by type of recipe you are making.

 Side 1 recipes

Side 1 recipes

 Side 2 recipes and the ingredients for the cheese biscuits

Side 2 recipes and the ingredients for the cheese biscuits

I chose to make cheese biscuits because I happened to already have the ingredients required.  Formay shortening is no longer made so I used Crisco, but I'm not sure that mattered much.  This particular recipe called for pastry flour, which I substituted with a mixture of cake and all purpose flours, using a method from this site.  Pastry flour is a low-protein flour used for biscuits, scones and pastries which helps to make them fluffier.

 Cheese biscuits ingredients

Cheese biscuits ingredients

 My pastry flour subsitute

My pastry flour subsitute

The dough for this recipe is pretty easy to make and the result very soft and moist.  My biggest issue with the recipe wheel was the lack of real instructions and information.  The general method for biscuits and pastry instructed you to:

  1. Combine sifted dry ingredients
  2. Cut or rub in the FORMAY
  3. Add liquid. Roll, cut and bake

There is no information on how thick or thin to roll the biscuits or how many this will make.   The recipe didn't make very much dough, so I rolled mine to about a 1/4 of an inch in order to squeeze out 8 biscuits. I don't have a biscuit cutter so used an upside down drinking glass instead.

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I really should have rolled the dough out a bit thicker than I did and probably fold and layer the dough before cutting.  Although the biscuits tasted fine, they never really rose up and were only about an inch thick.  I also wonder if using actual pastry flour would have helped these puff up a bit more.

 The not-very-fluffy biscuits, just out of the oven

The not-very-fluffy biscuits, just out of the oven

I'm not sure I'll ever make this particular recipe again or anything from this recipe wheel, for that matter.  The lack of any real instructions is a bit of a turn-off and with so many great cookbooks in my collection, I think I'll be able to find another and better recipe for any of those included on the wheel.  Still, it's a fun item to have, the graphics are wonderful and it matches my kitchen.

 A plate of cheese biscuits

A plate of cheese biscuits

Week 41 Roundup

Cookbook: Vintage Formay recipe wheel from around the 1930s or 40s

Recipe: Cheese biscuits

Difficulty: Easy

Alterations: I substituted the pastry flour with a combination of all-purpose flour and cake flour

Results: Meh. They tasted fine, but weren't the light fluffy biscuits I was hoping for.

Make Again: No. I think I can do better with another recipe.