A Yurt, a Secret, and a Tupelo Honey Biscuit

The trip was magical. It was late in the summer of 2012. First we went to Bryson City – about an hour from Asheville – to stay in a yurt.


Why stay in a yurt? Why, because it is a yurt, of course. Actually, when we first started talking about a trip to Asheville, I sent M. a link to the yurt village as a joke. “I’ve always wanted to stay in a yurt!” he said, and I realized that is what we would do.

The yurt was beautiful and romantic and he surprised me with a ring, which we kept secret until now, for a variety of reasons. That was a big secret to keep! No matter. I’ll always know that we got engaged on the deck of a yurt, after a day of hiking, with a table full of snacks and (unintentionally) frozen leftover pizza, watching the sun set and the moon rise, and drinking “the toad” (aka Toad Hollow Risque Sparkling Wine).

Moon over Yurt

The rest of the trip went quite swimmingly, including a visit to the restaurant called Tupelo Honey. Although we ate many wonderful meals while in Asheville, nothing compared to the fresh biscuit, brought straight from the oven to the table before we had even ordered. It had a bit of a crisp outer layer, with a dusting of salt and pepper. Yes, pepper. It was soft and oh so flavorful inside. I was in heaven. No butter required. I only added a tiny bit of Tupelo Honey just to say I had.

Tupeolo Honey Biscuit

When I finally paused to raise my head from the biscuit I noticed that the woman sitting next to us was eating her lunch and HAD NOT TOUCHED HER BISCUIT. M. almost had to restrain me. I was not sure if I wanted to berate her for wasting the biscuit or just take it for myself. All I know is, the lack of biscuit appreciation was criminal.

After we got back to Nashville, he pinned a link to a biscuit recipe that purported to be a Tupelo Honey recipe. It was one of the first recipes I tried when I began this biscuit-blogging odyssey. It was good, but it was in no way shape or form a Tupelo Honey biscuit. The quest continues. Soon I’ll be moving into a new home with my M., his 12 year old son, and a kitchen that is new to me. We have many adventures and lots of biscuits ahead of us!


Biscuit Making Begins

Finally! All this talk of biscuits and none to be found in my own kitchen? Time to fix that. I’d been obsessively pinning biscuit recipes, scouring cookbooks, and looking through my grandmother’s old recipes and newspaper clippings, trying to find the best recipe. I had also read several posts from people who have lots of advice to give on how to make the very best biscuit. Eventually, I just had to bite the bullet and choose one.

fresh baked biscuit

Where did this biscuit recipe come from?

It originally came from a cookbook of recipes provided by Tupelo Honey Cafe, aka Biscuit Mecca. Here is a link to the Project Foodie post I found with the recipe.

Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook

Why choose this biscuit recipe?

Hello – Tupelo Honey! Also, there is lots of butter and buttermilk involved so it seemed like a no brainer. At the same time, I cannot believe that Tupelo Honey would share their actual biscuit recipe. I mean, isn’t the real one locked up somewhere?

Tupeolo Honey Biscuit

What is Persnickety about this biscuit recipe?

I was most fascinated by the idea of grating frozen butter – I had never heard of doing that before. I also found the choice of bread flour intriguing. Everything I’ve read says that when baking biscuits you want to use flour that is low in protein, like White Lily. Bread flour is actually higher in protein even than all purpose flour. But did I let that stop me? Of course not.

grated butter

Look at all that butter!

Was the biscuit recipe altered in any way?

The first time I made these, I stuck with the recipe. The second time, I used shortening instead of butter, which also meant that I could skip the grating part. Shortening does not get as hard as butter in the freezer so it is not necessary. It also would have been impossible!

biscuit baking

I like to pull out all my ingredients when I bake.

So how were the biscuits?

The first time I set the biscuits several inches apart when baking. The outside was more crisp than I like. Rookie mistake. I learned that you should bake biscuits close together – actually touching – to keep them as moist on the sides the way I like them. But they still rose well and were flaky and had a good flavor.

baking biscuits

The second time I baked them right next to each other and was happier with those results. I still found them flaky, but a little too dense. I was looking for a more moist, fluffy biscuit.

second try biscuits

The third attempt was actually a variation on the first two. I had heard you could freeze biscuits uncooked and then just bake them directly from the freezer. It makes sense. I’ve bought commercial frozen biscuits before and that worked great. So I froze some from each batch and tried baking them later. I found that it worked ok. They did not seem to rise as much as the originals but were still pretty good. Makes me wonder, though, if the commercial biscuits have different ingredients.

Would you make them again?

Probably not. They were good but definitely not of Tupelo Honey quality. I realize that could be due to my inexperience, but need to try more recipes before I’ll know. The quest continues.