by Buck Reed
Stories from a Culinary Student
by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Program at CTC
Well, my culinary arts class has officially moved on to breakfast. From quick breads to bacon, our class has been covering the most important meal of the day quite thoroughly. This has resulted in many a dinner becoming breakfast as well; and, of course, the eggs are still inescapable!
Today, I want to highlight an easy breakfast dish that I have learned about: Biscuits & Gravy.
Let me start with the gravy. Before you pop that can of gravy from the store (which makes my culinary teacher cry), keep in mind that making gravy is ridiculously easy. Even I thought that the perfect, non-lumpy gravy was unattainable (as I usually thickened soups with flour, resulting in less than appetizing lumps). But then our breakfast unit enlightened me. A gravy is relatively easy and made up of three parts: fat (usually butter), flour, and milk. All variables can be changed (and seasonings such as garlic salt and pepper are a fantastic way to flavor gravy), but it really boils down to three steps: melting the butter, adding in the flour, and adding the milk once the flour and butter have combined.
Biscuits are also easy to make. The secret? One is buttermilk: the reaction of baking soda and buttermilk (consisting of one cup of milk with one tablespoon of an acid such as lemon juice) cause the biscuits to rise dramatically. Another secret is rolling: don’t use a rolling pin. Kneading lightly by hand and lightly smooshing the dough down is the secret to the perfect flaky layers of a biscuit. Finally, shape: though it may sound controversial, do not use a round biscuit cutter. It flattens the biscuit so that flaky layers are unattainable and rolling leftover dough back into a ball wastes dough and time. Instead, shape your dough in a rectangle and—here comes the controversial part—cut into squares! It saves both time and dough. For extra sheen and flavor, brush with butter or honey butter for the perfect biscuit. No Pillsbury dough boy needed here.
3 tbsp. butter (Other fat sources can be used for flavor; this could include turkey fat or beef fat)
3 tbsp. flour (preferably white) 2
c. whole or 2% milk
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic salt (add based on preference)
Note: Sausage can be added to this recipe.
Warm saucepan on medium heat. Add butter, and allow to melt (but not completely melted). Add flour and whisk together.
Allow mixture to cook 2-3 minutes (doing so allows for the flour to cook out). Add milk and whisk until smooth (mixture should be thick). Add salt and pepper and serve!
(With credit to The Butcher’s Wife at https://thebutcherswife.blog/easy-white-country-gravy/)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp. Baking soda
½ tsp. Salt
¼ c. shortening (usually butter) (make sure shortening is cold and kept cold)
¾ c. buttermilk (milk w/ ¾ tbsp. lemon juice)
2 tbsp. butter, melted (optional, for brushing on) (honey can be added for honey butter)
*For garlic herb biscuits:
Add in 1 c. shredded cheddar, 1 ¼ tsp. Garlic powder, 1 ¼ tsp. Dried parsley flakes, and 1 ½ tsp. Onion powder
Preheat oven 450 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Cut in shortening and mix until shortening is pea-sized (a food processor can be used to accomplish this). Drizzle in buttermilk and stir with a fork. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Form the dough into a rectangle. Cut into squares, and line biscuits on the pan shoulder to shoulder. Brush with butter (if desired).
Put into the oven and allow to bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
Take the pan out and allow to cool. Serve.
(With credit to the Taste of Home Cookbook)
-Knife or crumb scraper
-Liquid/solid measuring tools