Tara Torrence made biscuits for her friends and family before a local online mom group inspired her to start her own business.
ROXBOROUGH (WPVI) -- On today's edition of "The Dish," we're making something warm, fluffy and flaky, that feels like a hug when you're eating it. And you know it's good when the woman behind it is known as The Biscuit Lady.
Tara Torrence's Aunt Pattie was the original biscuit queen of the family, but Tara has now taken the reins.
She's taking us into the kitchen to show us how to make the buttery beauties that have fans lining up and wrapping around Ridge Avenue in Manayunk until they sell out.
"We don't use mixers," Torrence says. "Everything is done by hand. It's all from scratch."
She started making biscuits for her family and friends before a local online mom group inspired her to start her own business.
"When I was building this, I almost felt Aunt Pattie's presence with me," Torrence says. "Like, 'Go ahead, girl. You got this!'"
Tara started her business from her house.
"There was flour all over my kitchen and I found this place," she says, showing us around Lucky's Trading Company, a commercial space she shares with four other food concepts.
"I brought my product in and had the owner of Lucky's try it and he was like, 'Hands down, this is amazing, Best biscuit I ever had!' It just kind of took off from there," she says.
In just a few weeks, The Biscuit Lady is expanding as a standalone spot in Plymouth Meeting.
"We are known for our biscuits," she says. "They're not dry. They're nice and soft and fluffy."
The process of getting them just right was trial and error.
"I have made probably close to a million biscuits over the past year," she laughs. "No lie. The recipe was perfected right here in this kitchen."
Torrence now makes at least 10 different flavors and stacks them for breakfast sandwiches too.
She's working on a fried chicken sandwich for the new location, and also created something called "Holy Biscuits" out of sheer demand.
"It's actually biscuit dough that's fried," she explains. "When the oven can't do any more, the fryer can! This is our version of a donut."
Torrence was doing real estate before she became The Biscuit Lady.
She never went to culinary school, but her secret recipe reads like this: "Keep it simple. Keep it delicious. Keep it made from scratch. Keep the quality there."
The sign out front says the secret ingredients are love and butter.
Her recipe all starts with the dry mixture of five ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Then, you whisk. There are no mixers here.
"You're doing it all by hand to make sure that you keep that bounciness to the biscuit, that fluffiness," Torrence explains.
The trick to the butter is to shred it.
"This helps distribute the butter evenly throughout the baking process," Torrence says. "That way you get little pockets of butter in each biscuit so it's really yummy."
Now, you add the buttermilk.
"We mix everything with a wooden spoon," she says. "It just tends to be the best tool that we've found."
Again, the key is not to overmix. Once you take a few turns with the spoon, it's time to get your hands in and get to work incorporating the dough.
"This is where the magic happens," she explains. "You fold it all in."
Make sure you leave it a little flaky. Now, pat it down on a flat surface.
We made the 'I Love You Berry Much' biscuits, with fresh strawberries. Fold the berries in, layer by layer, and save some for the top.
Use a round cutter to make the shapes and place them on a baking sheet, nice and tight, like they're hugging.
Pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Torrence highly recommends eating them warm!
1. Combine all of your dry ingredients together in a bowl
2. Grate frozen butter into dry mix and then add buttermilk
3. Mix together gently and then transfer formed dough to a work surface
4. Flatten dough out, fold dough over a few times and after you have achieved about one inch to one and 1/2 inch dough thickness, it's time to cut your biscuits!
5. Take a biscuit cutter or a small cup (if biscuit cutter not available) and begin cutting your biscuits
6. Refold and cut again as needed.
7. Bake biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20-22 mins at 395 degrees