I was recently lucky enough to be invited to attend “Biscuit Bootcamp” at Brentwood’s Holler & Dash. I mean, let’s be honest, I invited myself and I was lucky enough they said yes!
My sweet friend, Evin Krehbiel (of Evin Photography) and I met up with Holler & Dash’s Culinary Director, Chef Brandon Frohne for a lesson in buttermilk biscuit making and well, a lot of laughs.
We dove right in talking about ingredients, technique, and misconceptions. I threw on one of Brandon’s aprons (which btw his favorite super stylish aprons are from Hedley and Bennett) and he put me to work as sous chef.
While he wouldn’t share the exact Holler & Dash secret recipe with me (and honestly is changes between each Holler & Dash location depending on cooking conditions) I did get the professional tips and tricks of the trade that will make my at home version that much better.
First, ingredients are important and there is a science to creating that perfect fluffy, flakey biscuit. Chef Brandon insists on starting with a low protein flour. Lily White Flour is a great one you can find at any grocery store (having 8% protein). He doesn’t like to use self-rising flour because he likes to be able to alter the amount of leavening agent and recommends a double acting baking powder like Clabber Girl. A small amount of salt and sugar are gently mixed with the dry ingredients keeping everything cool and not over worked.
Next is the addition of grated FROZEN butter. Now here is where I was a little surprised. Chef Brandon did not us a pastry cutter nor did he squeeze the butter between his fingers to incorporate it into the flour mixture (like my grandmother taught me). He barely mixed the butter into the flour mixture with his hands until it was just incorporated.
Next comes fat free buttermilk (0% fat) into a center well made in the flour/butter mixture. He very quickly incorporated the wet into the dry by hand and then dumped it onto a very lightly floured surface.
Look at that dough! Very crumbly, just barely incorporated, leaving the butter inside still very COLD. This is key.
Now’s the time to work quickly—Chef Brandon says to arrange the dough into a rectangle (like a piece of paper) and to roll it out using light long sweeping motions alternating vertically and horizontally.
Then fold the dough down over itself once and then again like, Chef Brandon says, “a love letter.”
Repeat rolling and folding up to 5 times (working quickly) before cutting biscuits.
If you’ve been to Holler & Dash, you know their biscuits are HUGE, using a 3 1/2 inch cutter. It’s important to have a sharp cutter (plastic or metal) and to press straight down when cutting the dough —being careful not to twist or shake the cutter as to not close off the air pockets on the sides of the biscuits.
Place the biscuits on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet with the biscuits “kissing.” They will lean on each other during baking and help one another rise. Aren’t biscuits so poetic.
Place in a very hot oven—around 450 degrees and go ahead and melt some butter, ok a lot of butter, to slather on the top of each warm biscuit.
After all our hard work a CHEERS of buttered biscuit tops was in order. Oh and a little strawberry shortcake. I mean …
All in all, I learned A LOT and maybe more importantly laughed a lot. Thank you to Chef Brandon Frohne and the team at Holler & Dash for letting me make a mess of your kitchen and confirming my unwavering love for making and eating biscuits.
Photography by Evin Photography.