4 c. flour, plus more for rolling (but only a little, if the dough is chilled)
1 c. polenta (or fine-milled cornmeal)
8 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
3 T. sugar
½ t. cayenne pepper
6 T. diced jalapeno peppers
¼ c. butter, chilled (unsalted)
½ c. shortening, chilled
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
5 t. dry yeast
½ c. warm water
1 ¾ – 2 c. buttermilk (warmed 1 min. in microwave)
¼ c. milk
¾ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, for topping (optional)
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except yeast, cheese, and jalapeno peppers) and mix well. Cut in the butter and shortening with a pastry blender until butter and shortening are the size of small peas. Dissolve yeast in the water (ideally warmed to about 105-115° F), stir and allow to swell (about 6 mins.). Add yeast and buttermilk to dry ingredients, and toss with fork to blend and moisten, creating a soft dough. Lightly mix in cheese and jalapeno peppers.
Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 8 hrs. or overnight; dough can be kept in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
To bake a few biscuits at a time, remove portion of dough. On lightly-floured surface, roll dough to thickness of 1”. Cut into similar-size rounds or wedges with knife or biscuit-cutter. Brush generously with milk. Sprinkle with additional cheddar cheese, if desired.
Place on baking sheet. Bake at 425° F until lightly browned on top, 12 – 15 mins. (makes 24 – 2 ½ “ biscuits).