Preserving Place: Biscuits + Jam Class
Preserving Place: Biscuits + Jam Class
This past week, I had the privilege of attending my first class at Preserving Place, a “farm to store” retail shop with a beautiful private event and kitchen space. Known for their variety of home food preservation supplies, Preserving Place offers house-made, small-batch jams and condiments, in addition to food and goods from local and regional artisans.
Outside of its retail offerings, the true gem of this rustic outpost is The Cooking School, a state-of-the-art kitchen frequented by some of Atlanta’s finest chefs and food instructors.
With a lineup of cooking, baking, and beverage classes, The Cooking School at Preserving Place provides both staunch epicureans and casual foodies alike the opportunity to create delicious, memorable culinary experiences.
Year-round courses include introductions to techniques ranging from canning to fermentation, as well as more focused classes, like a deep-dive into Southern side dishes. Seasonal classes are also popular, with a commitment to the incorporation of fresh, local ingredients. Upcoming fall classes on the menu include: Holiday Pie Making (11/12); Holiday Canning (11/15); and Pumpkin, Spice, and Everything Nice: Fall Cocktails (11/16).
Classes at Preserving Place are typically held on Tuesdays and Sundays, and last about 2-2.5 hours. Price point ranges depending on the type of course; expect to pay around $50-60 for your meal, wine, and professional instruction, with plenty of leftovers to boot.
Classes are intimate, typically consisting of an instructor, 5-7 students, and a guest appearance from Preserving Place owner and canning expert Martha McMillin. When the actual cooking or baking portion of a course is finished, attendees commune around a dark wooden table to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Wine is often in abundance, and conversation centers around family, friends, and food.
During my visit to Preserving Place, I attended the popular Biscuits + Jam class, a year-round offering led by acclaimed Atlanta pastry chef Sarah Dodge. With a resume consisting of stints at Ladybird, Little Tart, and Octopus Bar, Dodge now leads the helm of The Cooking School, both instructing classes and bringing in celebrated chefs to lead courses of their own.
As a classically-trained French pastry chef with a Southern edge, Dodge takes great pride in passing on the storied tradition of making the perfect biscuit. While the average Southerner might simply select the standard supermarket varieties, Dodge stresses that the right flour (All-Purpose White Lily), butter (French-style), and salt (kosher, not table) are essential in creating a superior end product.
While ingredients are like “picking the right paint colors,” correct preparation is key to ensuring the desired consistency, texture, and density of your biscuits. Dodge’s two major takeaways: don’t overmix your dough, and always put biscuits in the oven cold.
The end product of the course consisted of dozens of fluffy, filling biscuits, of both the classic buttermilk and chive & cheddar variety. The best part of the class was undoubtedly the excess product, perfect for the next day’s breakfast (but only reheated in the oven with a pat of butter, per Dodge’s instructions).
Want to make your own Southern-style biscuits? Check out Chef Dodge’s recipe below, complete with her preferred ingredients and a few tips.
Chef Dodge’s Basic Buttermilk Biscuits
Yields approximately 10-12 biscuits
8 oz cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes (use a French butter like Cabot, or an Irish butter like Kerrygold)
4.5 cups All Purpose White Lily Flour (all purpose flour doesn’t contain baking soda or powder, whereas self rising does)
2 tablespoons + 1/4 tsp baking powder (Dodge recommends Clabber Girl)
1 1/4 tsp salt (kosher)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2.5 cups cold buttermilk (don’t buy anything low-fat; buttermilk is not meant to be healthy!)
Whisk together dry ingredients (if adding modifications, like chive & cheddar, add at this stage)
Cut in butter
Fold in buttermilk
Lay out dough – do not roll!
Cut dough into biscuits – mason jars work well to do this
Bake at 425º for 10-12 minutes
Interested in trying your hand at a cooking class? Click here to learn more about Preserving Place and see a full list of upcoming classes.