‘Round here, biscuits are serious business. No one knows that better than Carrie Morey. Her business, Callie’s Biscuits, which grew from her mother’s sought-after recipe, bakes thousands of mail-order biscuits a day from her bakery in Charleston, South Carolina.
When the Southern Living Test Kitchen started our quest to build the best biscuit guide in our May issue (now on newsstands!), we knew Carrie and her crew could teach us a thing or two hundred about a mixing bowl. So with a camo-print apron in hand, I traveled to Callie’s Biscuits headquarters for what Carrie dubbed Biscuit Boot Camp.
She wasn’t fooling around either. As soon as I arrived, I was issued a bandana and a checklist of 55 tasks to master in two weeks from rotating trays to packing pallets. Lucky for me, I wasn’t interviewing for a full-time position. But the Callie’s crew put me to the test with mixing, rolling, cutting, and placing some of the 2,300 biscuits we made that day. Not to mention rolling trays of biscuits into the freezer for shipping and sweeping up the kitchen before quittin’ time.Here’s what I learned:
- If you’re going to make biscuits, make some biscuits: The mixing process is infinitely easier when making more than just a dozen biscuits. Double, triple or quadruple your recipe and freeze whatever you aren’t going to eat immediately.
- Use your hands: This is one baked good that doesn’t benefit from a stand mixer. Combine the ingredients with your hands, and your biscuits will be tender, not tough. Carrie loves the nubs of cream cheese, or “treasures,” that are left behind in hand-mixed dough.
- Ingredients are key: Both Carrie and the Southern Living Test Kitchen agree: White Lily Self-Rising Flour is essential for biscuit making. And with so few ingredients, it’s a good idea to make them all count. Find quality buttermilk, butter, milk, or cream for the best biscuits.
- Texture matters: In the South, we know that humidity and heat can make the best of hair days and recipes fall apart through no fault of our own. Carrie says don’t be married to a recipe and feel out whether you need more or less flour. She looks for the texture of a “baby’s bottom” or a “down pillow.” With practice you’ll have your own softness level you know and love.
- Have fun with it: As Sam Elliott once said “Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you.” In other words, don’t let perfectionism overtake your process. Biscuits can sense fear. Enjoy the feeling of making something from scratch, and you’ll be surprised with the outcome.
Take a picture of your best biscuit combination whether it’s with orange blossom honey, homemade strawberry jam or a fried egg (our new favorite is ham on our Pickle Biscuits), and post it on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #SLBestBiscuit.
See our contest rules here.