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Cheese batons These light-textured, crunchy biscuits have a strong cheese flavour, as long as you use strong, sharp cheese to make them. I would recommend using the English Cathedral City Extra Mature Cheddar cheese to achieve just the right texture and good flavour.

However, even though the original recipe calls for equal amounts of ingredients to be used, I have often found the dough a bit too soft and sticky, and the resulting batons too soft and doughy, lacking the crunch. To correct this, I usually use a bit more flour (about 20 % more) and a bit less (about 20 % less) butter in proportion to the grated cheese.

Serve the cheese batons as a salty snack with beer, wine or cocktails or to accompany bouillons and soups. They go especially well with tomato soup.

100 g (or slightly less, about 80 g) unsalted butter
100 g finely and freshly grated strong, extra-mature/vintage Cheddar cheese (or substitute half with freshly grated Parmesan cheese)
100 g (or slightly more, about 120 g) coarse wheat flour
(pinch of paprika powder or cayenne pepper)

To produce the correct texture, the cheese has to be very finely grated, so preferably use an almond mill or something similar for grating.

Using the lowest heat, let the butter slowly melt in a saucepan. Take the pan off the stove and let the melted butter cool for a while, then pour it over the grated cheese in a large bowl and mix well. Mix in some paprika powder or cayenne pepper, if using either.

Add the flour and mix quickly, first with a fork, then with your hands, without kneading the mixture too much, to produce a smooth dough. If the dough seems a bit too sticky and soft, add some more flour. The texture of the dough should be similar to that of shortbread, perhaps a bit softer.

Wrap the dough in plastic and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes for the dough to harden.

Take small portions of the dough and roll them on the work surface or between your palms into small batons, about 1 - 1½ cm wide and 5 - 7 cm long (see the picture below).

Unbaked cheese batons

Place the cheese batons on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, leaving some space between them, as depending on the type of cheese you are using, they may spread a bit during baking. If this happens, you may try increasing the amount of flour in the dough recipe.

Bake the batons at 200 °C for about 5 - 9 minutes, or until they are golden and just slightly starting to brown around the edges. In case the batons start to turn too brown while the dough still remains too doughy, it might be better to position the baking sheet on the lower rack in the oven, preventing the batons from burning before they are thoroughly baked. Note that the texture of the batons remains slightly soft and pliable and turns crispier while they cool. Let the batons cool on a wire rack until firm and crisp.

Store the batons in an airtight container and eat within a week or so. I find their flavour deeper and better the next day.

Recipe source: adapted from "Juustotangot II", Koskimies, Helmi, and Eva Somersalo (1980) Keittotaito. Porvoo: WSOY.


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