Sweet Tea and Tacos

In Pursuit of the Perfect Biscuit

March 25, 2024 Sweet Tea and Tacos Season 1 Episode 9
In Pursuit of the Perfect Biscuit
Sweet Tea and Tacos
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Sweet Tea and Tacos
In Pursuit of the Perfect Biscuit
Mar 25, 2024 Season 1 Episode 9
Sweet Tea and Tacos

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Who knew that the comforting embrace of a warm, buttery biscuit could carry the weight of family history and the power to soothe the soul? Devon recounts her transformation from a skeptic to a staunch advocate of self-rising flour in biscuit-making, a journey flavored with treasured family recipes and her mother's pioneer mix. As we swap stories, you'll find yourself nestled in the heart of a conversation that's all about the quest for that perfect biscuit—crispy like Jen's grandfather preferred, or fluffy and layered as per our own personal quests. It's not just about recipes; it's about the memories that rise with every batch, and the trial and error that leads to your very own scratch-made slice of heaven.

Gather around our kitchen table as we reveal the ritual of baking biscuits that emerged from the days of pandemic uncertainty, turning into a cherished Sunday tradition. Whether it's slathering them with jams and honey or crowning them with sausage gravy, we share the comforts of our favorite toppings and the stories they tell. But it's not all about looking back; we also discuss the practicalities of biscuit size, the craft behind the ideal cut, and even the secret weapon of a cast iron griddle. Devon, our special guest, brings her own flavor to this episode, making it a rich tapestry of tips, techniques, and the warmth only a well-baked biscuit can bring. Join us for this cozy foray into the world of biscuits, and let's continue to bake up new traditions together.

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Who knew that the comforting embrace of a warm, buttery biscuit could carry the weight of family history and the power to soothe the soul? Devon recounts her transformation from a skeptic to a staunch advocate of self-rising flour in biscuit-making, a journey flavored with treasured family recipes and her mother's pioneer mix. As we swap stories, you'll find yourself nestled in the heart of a conversation that's all about the quest for that perfect biscuit—crispy like Jen's grandfather preferred, or fluffy and layered as per our own personal quests. It's not just about recipes; it's about the memories that rise with every batch, and the trial and error that leads to your very own scratch-made slice of heaven.

Gather around our kitchen table as we reveal the ritual of baking biscuits that emerged from the days of pandemic uncertainty, turning into a cherished Sunday tradition. Whether it's slathering them with jams and honey or crowning them with sausage gravy, we share the comforts of our favorite toppings and the stories they tell. But it's not all about looking back; we also discuss the practicalities of biscuit size, the craft behind the ideal cut, and even the secret weapon of a cast iron griddle. Devon, our special guest, brings her own flavor to this episode, making it a rich tapestry of tips, techniques, and the warmth only a well-baked biscuit can bring. Join us for this cozy foray into the world of biscuits, and let's continue to bake up new traditions together.

Support the Show.

Dave:

And welcome to Sweet Tea and Tacos. I'm Dave.

Jen:

And I'm Jen.

Dave:

And today we're talking about biscuits. And so to talk about biscuits, we brought our friend Devon, who's well known for her biscuits. Welcome, devon.

Devon:

Thanks for having me.

Dave:

So, Jen, would you like to start? Sure Okay.

Jen:

Well, so Devon, welcome. And so I want to start with sort of backstory. I know a little bit about where you grew up because I have some relatives that also live there. So tell us about, like, how you grew up. Did your mom make biscuits? How did she do it? Was it a special occasion thing, Was it every day? And then kind of how you got into making biscuits.

Devon:

Well, my mom did make biscuits, but she used the pioneer mix. Okay, and I feel like my entire life that's what she used. Yeah, she kept children at home and so she made biscuits every single morning. Wow, and those kids were treated to delicious little biscuits, awesome. So that's just a clear, clear memory that I have. I didn't really eat them in the mornings, but there were always some left when I came back from school and she would have buttered them in the morning and then you know that deliciousness that is a cold biscuit with melted butter in it.

Devon:

That's really what I remember about that, but I thought canned biscuits were the best things in the world. You know how, if, if your mom does something, then you kind of go to the Polaroid, I like to peel them and all and I still like canned biscuit. I'm not saying anything wrong about that.

Devon:

There's some good ones out on the market. Yeah, but when I was out on my own I like to make everything scratch and that. So when I started thinking about biscuits, like I think, I avoided it for a little while and then we just sort of dabble and try and you know, as we all do. But I wanted to get my recipe Right. I think I did use pioneer some or like a biscuit. We just like pioneer better than biscuit and they're fine. You know I'm not yeah that's a good quick alternative.

Devon:

I don't want to have to go to the store to buy a product to put something on the table, right, I want the basic ingredients at home. We're kind of the same way, yeah yeah, so that's really where that came from. It took a while for me to relent to use self rising flour in my biscuits because I didn't want a different product. But then I tried sunflower and I was like this was made for biscuits, like it really. I may still play with that some more, but so got you Well so.

Dave:

Jennifer had kind of attacked biscuits one time. They said I'm gonna have biscuits.

Jen:

Yeah, this was probably, like I don't know, seven or eight years ago, maybe.

Dave:

And kind of got a method and a funny story with the biscuits from her family and they were kind of like the pop it. We call them pop a biscuits. Now there's a story there.

Jen:

Well, yeah, so he, I don't know my grandparents, they just I guess they were sort of foodies, you know. I mean before anybody knew about being a foodie. But they were real particular about some of their things that they liked. But my grandfather, he did not want any kind of middle in his biscuit at all, like he wanted top and a bottom, like a flat crispy A flat and a yeah, and I have no problem making those.

Dave:

For some reason I have not been able to make fluffy biscuits.

Jen:

And so I've got a recipe that you know is the family recipe for that. But then when I started making them I wanted to see if I could get them, you know, fluffy and all those delicious layers. So yeah, but it's progressed and I've kind of revisited things during all this quarantine you know, and I mean I feel like I had gotten a little rusty.

Devon:

And it does take consistency, yeah, Because sometimes even as much as I make them, sometimes I'm like what happened there?

Jen:

I don't know and the weather, you know, can affect things and as you, mentioned quarantine, just availability of product.

Devon:

A different flour yeah, Even if it's another self-righteous, the same type that you've been using. It's different, right.

Devon:

It's the milk differently and everything Right. But I was going to say that your grandfather liked crispy. I feel like I grew up with a lot of drop-biss Drop biscuits, okay. At other homes, yeah, mom always rolled hers out. So whenever we would take on I don't know, to church for a Sunday school thing or something, people would oo and ah because they were so pretty and that's all I knew, because they were used to drop biscuits and I think drop biscuits are harder to make than a rolled out. That's just me, yeah. I don't know if it's because that stickiness that happens when you try to Right, I don't know.

Jen:

I don't know. Yeah, yeah, that's interesting, and I guess I always sort of think of drop biscuits more, and maybe I just haven't had that many, but I just think of them almost like a scone. You know, they do have that crumbly top texture.

Devon:

I think I'm like a dinner roll, like maybe they call it a biscuit but they served it with a meal at the evening. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I don't know where that's coming from.

Dave:

That might be a false memory, but so how did you come up with the recipe that you're using now?

Devon:

Well, probably like I do most recipes, I researched like, look through all cookbooks. So how do they? What do they call a biscuit, what you know? Just sort of what's the common thread? What do I? What out of that do I like, what do I not want to use? And then then I played. So, like I said, I use long. Probably at first I would use a plain flour and try to add my other, and I just never worked on that long enough to get it just right. Then, when I started using self-rising sunflower specifically it's a saltier flour I think I don't know that little bit, yeah, and I always use unsalted butter, okay.

Devon:

So I know that there's a balance there Gotcha. Yeah, then years ago and I couldn't tell you what year Southern Living did. You know they'll in the back of the magazine. They have like the tips that you know right.

Devon:

Yeah, and some pastry chef mentioned grating butter. And that's when everything clicked. Yeah, because I would avoid making biscuits because I didn't want to cue butter, and you get out my pastry blender and it would get all you know, I do it. Yes, yeah, I mean it, just that was a mental block that kept me from doing it. Once I started grating butter, I never hesitate to make it.

Jen:

Yeah, I've been doing that recently too. I mean, I knew about that technique, but I think I saw one of your videos on Facebook that you did and it reminded me and I was like, oh yeah, that's good, that's good, and so it does. It makes a world of difference. Now I used to do them like when David was talking about those years ago. I did them in the food processor and it's a good method. But there's just something about kind of doing it by hand and I don't know it all coming together and you kind of watching that process.

Devon:

You can tell the delicate changes in texture. I love my food processor but again that was standing my way because I'm like, oh, I've got to clean that and dough out of it. Well, this way, yeah, it's a bowl and a work surface, right, right, Even when I make them and my mom did used to do this I put a paper towel down and and I put flour it and I pat out my biscuits on that paper towel.

Devon:

That way my counter-dots don't get dirty they were you know, whatever Cause, if I get out my mat, my rolling, I sound really lazy when I talk about my biscuits but that's sort of my method, like how little cleanup will I require?

Jen:

Well, they can get pretty messy.

Dave:

Yeah, well, that's the hardest part about cleaning for me. I mean, cooking is like it's great Like we cooked the other night and it's like we used every single pot. We had.

Devon:

Do you feel like sometime? We had this last week, my son's birthday, and he requested, you know whatever different foods. Yeah, and I was excited cooking and I was getting, and then I just started doing all these things. You know at the end like, oh, we'll do this too, why this? Yeah, and then you sit down to dinner and think, boy, what if I do? Look at that, but it's like a high, oh man.

Dave:

What.

Devon:

It's so funny.

Dave:

What we always said in our dream house, in our dream kitchen, we're gonna have two dishwashers.

Devon:

Oh, absolutely Good plan. Maybe it'll happen one day.

Dave:

So what is it about biscuits? I mean what you know? We kind of we're doing a lot of research for different episodes and we were doing some stuff. We had a cornbread one coming and we've been researching and it was interesting. They talked about how most people had biscuits like for a special occasion, like a Sunday, like a church biscuit you mentioned. So where does that terminology for you, where did that come?

Devon:

from Church biscuit, literally when COVID happened and the first week I made biscuits. I don't make biscuits every Sunday. I'm not a big breakfast eater and we are getting out to the church. It's like grab a granola bar, yeah. But that first week it's like we have. Usually. I would make them on Saturdays if we didn't have anywhere to go, but that week I thought I'm here, I wanna make biscuits and they are a very therapeutic thing for me to make, just getting my hands on that dough. And so I made them that first week and just took a picture because we're making a point Right, we're documenting, you know, like this is happening. This is different, but we're gonna have our biscuits with church. It just sort of was a and then it just because really people were interested in it. I just kept doing it, yeah, and so Well, and I'm sure your family enjoyed it.

Dave:

Oh yes, Well, I know, I actually felt a little jealous. Yesterday I came home and I saw they had made biscuits without me Because I was down at the church. Yeah, for the first time. For the first time.

Jen:

I know it was kind of nice. You know we had, I mean, devin, just this isn't a side, but she goes to church with us, but our, our live stream would be at 1030. So you know, you had time to get up, put on a pot of coffee, make biscuits, believe it, and then get the kids up. You know, and it wasn't this kind of rush, harem scare. I'm trying to, like you say, get out the door. So there were definitely some advantages I did make shelter Straighter though Did you.

Devon:

We didn't go until 11 o'clock yesterday. So, I had a little, but I didn't document it because, like no, we went to church. I was trying to figure out a way to like, take y'all the staff so it was like I don't even know where everybody is. I'm going to figure it out and I'll bring some, but so what do you guys have on biscuits?

Dave:

What do you just butter?

Devon:

I love a good French butter, or like a carry goat, like a grass bed. Yeah, just a rich salty.

Dave:

There's a good big carry golden.

Devon:

I love that stuff. Kroger does their private selection, does a French salted that they had consistently at a time before I started buying it, but carry gold's the winner, so really that's all I need, but various jams. Reese wants honey on his, there you go, always honey. I love molasses, okay, but that's sticky and you have Maddie likes it like a strawberry preserve. We just whatever we've got. Yeah, if I'm really sweet, I'll have some bacon with it. I like sausage, but I'm very ticky about my sausage and yeah, that has to be crispy.

Devon:

Then in crispy no patty, yeah, I like that, but usually we just maybe if we have breakfast for supper we'll have egg sandwiches on biscuits sometimes that sounds good.

Jen:

Yeah, yeah, years ago, when I was really into making them, I did sausage gravy with them.

Devon:

Yes.

Jen:

And I'm telling you, there's not much that's better.

Devon:

It is delicious and when Reese, my 15 year old son, decided he liked that, it gave me all the wind in my sails to make it. It's like I make this. Who's going to eat? You know, he used to call it sauce. Sauce you can't make. You can't make any sauce for the biscuits. Oh, that's great.

Dave:

And that's what I was going to. One of Jennifer's things, too, is biscuits and gravy.

Devon:

And it's hard to find yeah.

Dave:

It really is.

Devon:

I don't trust it at restaurants unless they are known for like homemade, like they didn't open a packet and make gravy.

Dave:

So nothing, all right. The size of biscuits.

Devon:

Okay.

Dave:

So you have a specific biscuit size that you prefer.

Devon:

I and I'm about to order new biscuit cutters because the other day I realized I'm missing the size I like why haven't I just gotten myself a new cut? Yeah, because I've had that stacking set, I think, from William Sonoma for years. Yeah, we have that. I like probably about a two inch round, maybe I've got the. I guess it's a one inch, mm-hmm, and I like that. Well, maybe it's one and a half because it's a little, it's not just a bite. Well, I guess it could be a bite and that's cute and I do like that. That would be neat for like you know a party.

Jen:

Yes, Like a party.

Devon:

Let them go a little further, because they're just a little child of different things, right, but the one I have been using is probably more like a three to four inch. Wow, I haven't measured it and they're much bigger than I like.

Jen:

That's more like a cat head biscuit.

Devon:

Yeah, it kind of is, but I think they rise puffier and prettier too if they're a little bit smaller.

Dave:

Yeah, cause when I make the small ones.

Devon:

They're so pretty.

Dave:

Really nice, they just yeah, and you brush the top of them with anything, or you just okay, I just go in, maybe after yeah, but usually not Gotcha.

Jen:

So yeah, okay, Well, cool, well, and here's the question. So what do you bake them in, or?

Devon:

on Cast iron. Okay, so I have a cast iron griddle, so it's a rectangular, the one that flips smooth on one side the grill pan on the other. Yeah, yeah, and I use cause it is so thick and it holds a lot of biscuits, a skillet's fine, but it won't fit the whole batch Right, right. So that's what I use, but I do the when we were talking about fluffy. The technique that I use to make them fluffy is very specific.

Jen:

Okay, yeah.

Devon:

And it's hard to describe audibly. You'd get a it's kind of an envelope fold Like with pastry. So that's my air quotes needing. You know, you don't need a biscuit. The less you touch it the better, yeah, but so when you plop the dough on the paper towel, lightly flour and there's folded on itself probably four times, yeah, but you just sort of know when it's there. But that, and you can tell the first time that worked was like okay, yeah, I can grate my butter and I can fold them. There we go, that's it. Yeah, it was exciting.

Dave:

Yeah, it was the first time she did it in the quarantine. These are beautiful. I don't want to eat money, but we did yeah.

Jen:

Of course, and they were wonderful. Well, I knew they reminded me of you know, the store bought biscuits with all those layers. Just the fact that I had done it myself, I was like, wow, this is neat, you know. I mean, it's that that technique of lamination they call it you know, and it's the same thing with, like croissants or any kind of pastry.

Dave:

I think it elevates our biscuits oh absolutely those layers and just it looks beautiful. And then, of course, all the butter.

Jen:

Well, and I have to say I think my grandfather would have eaten those, because they're not doughy, they're just.

Dave:

They aren't doughy, they're just fluffy and delicious. What you do is it's not just this kind of Peel off the top and bottom and give it to them.

Jen:

Yeah.

Devon:

Somebody else can get the that delicious.

Dave:

Well, cool. Thank you for telling us about your biscuits and we hope you will be. Listeners will be motivated to try biscuits, you know, and you can. Eventually, maybe I'll be able to make a biscuit with layers, but right now I'm like I'm leaving it to her.

Devon:

She makes it, I mean my children used the video that I made and put on my blog to make biscuits for me on Mother's Day successfully.

Dave:

That was so cool, I was so proud.

Devon:

I thought oh, I did, okay yeah absolutely. They did a good so you can make.

Dave:

Yeah, tell us real quick about your blog and where people can find you.

Devon:

Well, the blog is called Cast Iron Magnolia, so it's just wwwcastironmagnoliacom, and it's just a blog I've been puttering at over the years Recipes at first, then there's interludes with some life stuff and then, more food at the end and I may actually start offering items to sell. No, we'll do that soon, but so I'm trying to put more on it and be more intentional with it.

Dave:

Awesome, good, well, good, well. Thank you for coming, thank you for telling us about your biscuits and we hope you folks, listeners, have been motivated and hopefully we'll learn to make some biscuits and, if not, and maybe elevate your biscuit game. Maybe I can too. Anyway, well, thank you very much. This is Sweet Teen Tacos for this week. Leave us a review, leave us a comment, send us an email If you have a question or something you wanna talk about or if you have a biscuit comment. That's it, I'm Dave.

Jen:

And I'm Jim.

Dave:

And Devin.

Jen:

Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi. No-transcript.

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