There is no more famous dish in Game of Thrones than Hot Pie’s Direwolf Bread. It’s right up there with Sansa’s Lemon Cakes and Joffrey’s wedding pigeon pie. With the final season starting tomorrow, I wanted to make my own direwolf bread for my wife and I.
However, most recipes I saw varied hugely, and included a handful of varied oat and whole wheat flours that I simply don’t have in my cabinets. So, I asked myself, “What kind of bread-like thing is delicious, will keep a shape, and will get a lovely, golden brown on top?”
The answer: homemade buttermilk biscuits.
So, first things first: ingredients.
For dry ingredients, you will need 2 cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of baking powder (I know, it’s a lot), and a teaspoon of baking soda.
From there, everything is dairy, with 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter (that’s about 3/4 of a stick), and about 7/8 of a cup of buttermilk.
If you just have salted butter, don’t panic. Just reduce the amount of salt you add to a pinch over 3/4 of a teaspoon.
A quick note: like when you make pie crust or other pastry, it’s important to keep your cold ingredients cold, so make sure to leave your butter and buttermilk in the fridge until it is time to add them in.
Step by Step: Making the Dough
First, get out your handy dandy food processor. Dump your dry ingredients into it (that’s 2 cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of baking powder, and a teaspoon of baking soda). Pulse a few times to combine.
Now, the butter. You will need 6 tablespoons of unsalted.
Cube it. You want the butter pieces to be 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick.
Sprinkle those butter bits over the dry ingredients.
Pulse the processor until the mix resembles coarse crumbs. This usually takes up to 20 or so pulses. Just pulse until there aren’t any big butter chunks and it looks roughly like the above photo.
Dump the mix into a large bowl.
Pour in the 7/8 of a cup of buttermilk. Originally, I wanted to do 3/4 of a cup, but found it just wasn’t enough to make the dough come together.
Mix with a sturdy spoon. It should form a slightly sticky dough.
Step by Step: Working the Dough
Now, we need to slightly work the dough. Notice I said only slightly – if you overwork it, it can become tough.
So, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, form into a ball, and knew the dough 10 times. Just 10.
Now, pat the dough out, until it forms a rectangle about 3/4 of an inch thick.
Fold both sides in by thirds, so that both folds overlap entirely.
Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold the sides in once again. After this step, I put a sheet of plastic wrap under the dough. Partly this is to help transfer the dough after it is fully cut out. Mostly it is because I forgot to cut out the template, so I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge while I took care of that.
Step by Step: Making the Direwolf
Flatten the dough out so that it is slightly larger than your template. I needed to flatten some more after this photo was taken.
Then, lay down the template and cut around it.
Remove the template and use a sharp knife to add details like the cross-hatch fur, and lines for the legs and tail.
Carefully transfer to a baking sheet.
Bake until golden brown, around 10-15 minutes.
Buttermilk Biscuit Direwolf Bread
Prep Time: 30 minutes; Bake Time: 10-15 minutes
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 7/8 cup buttermilk
- 1 pre-cut direwolf bread template
- Trace and cut out your direwolf bread template. I just traced one I found online.
- Start preheating the oven to 450 F.
- Put the flour (2 cups), salt (1 teaspoon), baking powder (1 tablespoon), and baking soda (1 teaspoon) into a food processor and pulse a couple times to combine.
- Take the unsalted butter (6 tablespoons) out of the fridge (it needs to be cold for the recipe to work properly), and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. Sprinkle the cubes over the dry ingredients in the food processor, and pulse until the mix resembles coarse crumbs. This takes around 20-30 pulses.
- Dump the butter/flour mix into a large bowl.
- Pour in buttermilk (7/8 of a cup) and mix with a sturdy spoon. The mixture should form a thick, slightly sticky dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead the dough 10 times. Not 10 minutes; 10 total times.
- Press the dough out until it is a 3/4-inch thick rectangle, then fold the two sides in thirds, so that they completely overlap. Turn the dough 90 degrees, and fold the sides in one more time. At this point, I put the dough on a piece of plastic wrap – this will help transfer to the baking sheet later.
- Press the dough back down into a rectangle slightly larger than your template.
- Lay your template on the dough and carefully cut out your direwolf. Excess dough can be combined and flattened again to make either another wolf or regular circular buttermilk biscuits.
- Remove the template and use a sharp knife to add details like the eye and the cross-hatched fur pattern.
- Transfer the direwolf biscuit (and any other biscuits made with leftover dough) to a baking sheet (make sure to remove the plastic wrap), and bake until golden brown. This takes about 10-15 minutes.
- Biscuits are best when served fresh and still warm.