Mix: In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients (1 3/4 cups flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1 tbsp sugar). Then, grate 1/2 cup of cold or frozen butter right into the flour mixture, tossing it in the flour mixture as you grate it. Next, using a large-holed box grater grate 1 cup of cheddar and toss once again with the rest of the ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients: Now drizzle in 3/4 cup of buttermilk while stirring the dough with a fork. Then continuing to mix and press the dough with a fork keep mixing it until it comes into a shaggy dough.
You can use hands to do this but using a fork prevents the butter from warming and making the biscuits dense and heavy.
Make a dough: You can continue in the bowl or on a counter. Press the dough to a 1 inch thick disk. Make envelop style folds three times by folding the right side towards the middle, then the left side towards the middle adding dry crumbs in between each fold, rotating the dough 90° and repeating the folds. This layering method will help to create all the beautiful flaky layers. If working on a counter, bench scraper comes really handy in this step.
Make the folds: If you worked in a bowl before this step, now transfer the dough to a counter and pat it it into 1 inch thick rectangle (about 7"x5"). Cut the rectangle into 6 rectangles, by making one firm cut in a downward motion without moving the knife back and forth (or it will impede the layer formation around the edges). Then, trim a thin border around the outside edge - this will create flaky layers on the outer edges (I typically skip this step though).
Chill: Transfer the biscuit rectangles to a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for about 10 - 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425F with the baking rack in the middle.
Bake: Brush the cheddar biscuit tops with buttermilk or cream and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the outside is lightly golden. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and serve warm.
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