Malted Buttermilk Biscuits for Linda


Sarah Linden is the name of the main character in AMC’s drama The Killing. Her colleagues call her Linden, because they are police officers and that’s how they roll. But for the first few episodes I misunderstood what they were saying and thought her first name was Linda. When he realized this, Bryan had a good laugh at my expense. I still call her Linda.

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Linda (played by the totally amazingly awesome Mireille Enos) is a tough nut to crack. Despite being kind of a shitty (though loving!) mom, a terrible partner (her poor fiancé!), and a loose cannon of a cop (what rules?!) she somehow manages to elicit an unusual amount of empathy from me. I love her. Love. I love her smarts. I love her sense of justice. I love her silence and her rage. I love her Fair Isle sweaters and somber parkas. I love her constant gum chewing. I love her ponytail.

I also worry about her. She doesn’t take care of herself. In fact, I think Linda has been uncomfortable for so long (both physically and emotionally) that it has become her normal. Consequently, I spend a surprising amount of time thinking about making Linda a nice home-cooked meal. Throughout the series we mostly see her eat out of vending machines, though I suspect there are days when she doesn’t eat much at all. She needs a break. She needs nourishment. She needs biscuits.


I would like to make her these malted buttermilk biscuits which, like Linda, happen to come from Seattle via The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. They are easy and delicious. A very crisp crust gives way to a tender interior with a subtle malt flavor. They should be made, and made often. Maybe you’ll serve them with some homemade orange marmalade. Maybe you’ll eat them while watching The Killing? Maybe they’ll write me and these biscuits into the third season of The Killing?


This is the second recipe I have loved from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. It is a fantastic book and worth checking out if you’re a home baker.

Malted Buttermilk Biscuits (from the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook)

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8oz) unsalted butter, frozen for 15 minutes- plus some additional melted butter for brushing tops
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter over the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to distribute the butter throughout the flour.

In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and barley malt. Stir to blend thoroughly. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour-butter mixture, stirring with the rubber spatula just until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Lightly and quickly knead the dough

to finish incorporating all of the ingredients. Then gently press the dough together into a flattened ball.

Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 1-inch thickness. Cut out biscuits using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (remember not to twist! punch straight down and up). You can reroll scraps once, remaining gentle with the dough.

Place the biscuits about 1-inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with a flaky sea salt (like Maldon).

Bake until golden and cooked through, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.


58 comments to “Malted Buttermilk Biscuits for Linda”

  1. butterlover- it depends, I got 10-12 as written. Depending on size of cutter, thickness of dough, etc it could vary.

  2. Oh this post is everything. I watch “The Killing” mostly for Lind(a)en–no one makes chewing gum and never sleeping and a low ponytail look more appealing. And malt biscuits? Gimme a break I’m in love.

  3. Thanks for the post Tim! I haven’t got around to watching The Killing, but I HAVE got around to making the biscuits!(I wonder what that says about my priorities!)

  4. Just finished first season of The Killing. Got the Linden name but thought that Mitch was Midge. Told my husband that (an avid fly fisherman) that Midge would be a GREAT name for a new puppy and my friend (who brought the first season we watched together in two days) was like WTF? Who is Midge?? Whatever :) still think Midge is a great name for a fishing dog!! The biscuits look awesome!

  5. Hi Tim, have You seen the danish Version (“Komissarin Lund”)? I loved it and I felt similar as you about Sara Lund – she was getting more and more fragile and driven by her silent determination throughout the story.
    I do not know the US remake, but after your post I may feel like baking some cookies and give Linda a chance :)

  6. My husband and I watched both seasons of The Killing a few weeks ago. We didn’t sleep much. We just kept staying up way too late unable to turn off Netflix. So good! And Linden is amazing. And you’re right, she needs your biscuits.

  7. Jane George says:

    May 11th, 2013 at 11:01 am

    The Killing is the Bomb! Love Linden and her attitude.

  8. I watched the season premiere this week and immediately thought of this post. Linda still needs some TLC and biscuits.