It should come as no surprise that working in the Freshly kitchen can be challenging. Our chefs are tasked with not only developing recipes that meet nutritional standards and tickle the taste buds, but they need to ensure that the dishes maintain their quality after a few trips around the microwave.
After only three months on the job, Culinary Product Developer Joshua Mason faced a pretty daunting task. He had to create a Chicken and Biscuits recipe that delivered on all fronts - comforting taste, microwave-ability, and nutrition. The extra wrinkle? Making Freshly’s first gluten-free biscuit.
Obviously, Joshua delivered because you can find the Southern staple Chicken 'n' Drop Biscuits on our menu right now! But the recipe development took much longer than you’d think…
Hi Joshua! We’re so excited to chat! What was your reaction when you received the assignment to create Chicken and Biscuits for the Freshly menu?
Initially, I was excited! Then it dawned on me: “How are we going to make this biscuit happen with our equipment in the facility?” Traditionally, biscuits are rolled out and cut out, but that was not possible.
Did you have any idea where to start?
We were already in development for our empanada dough, so I was certain that making the gluten-free biscuit was possible. But how could I make it taste like the biscuits I remember my grandmother making as a kid?
Your grandmother sounds like she holds the secrets for great baking. Describe her PERFECT biscuit.
The perfect biscuit is warm, buttery, and has flaky layers. It was important to achieve a biscuit with buttery flavor and light crumb texture.
We can all picture that perfectly. Now while you were developing the biscuit, you must have had some tough days. Can you recount your most frustrating day?
My most frustrating day in development was early on when I realized the way I was originally approaching the biscuit would not work. I was only left with a dense flaky rock. So I had to better understand our gluten-free flour and change my approach. That’s how we got to the drop biscuit technique!
Love when ideas come from struggles! How many iterations did you end up going through?
I went through about 20 different iterations.
Sheesh! That’s a lot! What was the best, most rewarding day of the biscuit development?
My most rewarding day was after conversing with Sam Lopane. (Sam is a Manager in the Recipe and Development team, focusing on Science and Technology.) He presented a formula for a drop biscuit. So I began working on it and making some tweaks to fit the overall flavor profile of the meal and stay within the Freshly nutritional parameters. We were successful! Our cream drop biscuit was a delicious, cheesy, light biscuit. It reminded me of Pao de Queijo, Brazilian cheese bread.
Okay, now it’s time for our speed round. Are you ready?
Give us your three kitchen tool must-haves.
Rubber spatula, knife, and tongs.
Name two ingredients you rely on the most. You can't say salt or pepper. Go!
Olive oil and citrus juice!
What dish reminds you of home?
Fried fish, braised collard greens with smoked turkey, and some macaroni and cheese.
Give us three words to describe yourself in your home kitchen.
Relaxed, methodical, fun-loving.
Fill in the blank. Home cooks need to stop ________.
Rinsing your chicken in the sink instead of patting it dry with a paper towel.
You have to cook dinner blindfolded. What are you making?
Broiled crab cakes with sautéed asparagus and shaved parmesan.
The Chicken 'n' Drop Biscuits are on the Freshly menu and available for order now through March 13, 2022. Add them to your order today!