We’ve been asking ourselves an incredibly important question in the kitchen at J.J. Hapgood lately, “what makes a perfect breakfast sandwich?” The answers have varied from “the bacon must be crisp,” to “it needs to be topped with fresh greens,” or “over-easy eggs, the yoke can’t be too runny, but just runny enough.” After we’ve created hundreds, perhaps even thousands of breakfast sandwiches since we opened, we’ve collectively come to agree on one element in our quest to create the perfect sandwich: it’s all about the biscuit.
With this in mind, we’ve been perfecting how our homemade buttermilk biscuits are made each day. We start with local flour from the Nitty Gritty Grain Company of Vermont. This is a small, family-owned certified organic farming operation that produces some of the most delicious, and sustainably-produced grains. We then add unsalted Cabot butter. The trick is to grate the butter when it’s frozen into the flour and gently toss it together creating the ideal crumbly texture.
Buttermilk is often our preferred choice for the liquid in our biscuits, mainly because it’s consistent and not too fussy. We love Jersey Girl Dairy Buttermilk from Lisa Kaiman in Chester, Vermont. But we’ve also played around with yogurt and really have enjoyed Gamble Gardens Creamery Skyr, an Icelandic-style yogurt that is truly amazing.
The key—after many, many hours of practice—is not handling the dough too much. We fold in the buttermilk or yogurt gently to create layers that rise when baking. Our philosophy is that a biscuit really can’t have too many layers, the more the better.
Rolling out the dough is easy to do with an old cherry rolling pin handmade by Juliette’s grandfather. He had made one for everyone in her family and it has become the workhorse of the J.J. Hapgood kitchen today.
Once the dough is rolled out, the biscuits are cut to be at least 1-inch tall—which amounts to a thick but fluffy biscuit. They are baked in the top half of our oven, allowing them to cook evenly.
The result? Total biscuit bliss. The proof? Well, our customers love them! As the temperatures warm up in Vermont, we’ll soon be tossing in fresh herbs from our garden, such as chives and dill. Sandwiched in between these beautiful biscuits are locally farmed eggs (and yes, not too runny, but just runny enough), locally cured bacon (crispy), or Vermont Smoke & Cure Sausage, Vermont Cheddar cheese and garden fresh spinach. That’s what makes our breakfast sandwiches outstanding.
For a limited time (April 24 – May 22), you can enjoy our breakfast sandwiches with a $1.00 off coupon. Check out the coupon on our Facebook page, in the local papers or mention the ad next time you stop in.