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Loveless Cafe Biscuits

I have tasted the best biscuits every at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville, TN and I want to make them myself. The problem is the recipe is a secret. I will tell you that they are salty, not sweet, and they are not flaky. Anyone have any clues about how to make them?

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    1. re: Antilope

      Found that one - and after watching many videos of the Loveless Cafe's Biscuit Lady making them, I am pretty sure it's not right. I'm fairly certain it's a buttermilk oil biscuit, not a yeast biscuit.

      1. re: momskitchen

        You're right - it's a proper baking-powder biscuit. No, I have no more idea than you do about the recipe, darn it (although it's a good ten years since I've tasted them!) but they are not a yeast biscuit at all. I don't even call those "biscuits."

        Okay, now I'm eating my words: someone 'waaaay down this thread has done some serious investigating and it appears that they may be a breed of "angel biscuit" after all. How this is done without getting that leathery quality on the tops we'll just have to find out.

        1. re: Antilope

          gotta try these just because I like the looks of ingredients and bet they're delicious

          1. re: Antilope

            think I'll make these for breakfast tomorrow morning with bacon gravy and hatched eggs. glad I tuned in to this post again tonight.

            1. re: iL Divo

              Alton Brown recommends using 3/4 all purpose flour and 1/4 cake flour as a substitute for soft southern flour in biscuits.

              1. re: Antilope

                ok, I can make cake flour by mixing in corn starch I think ?

                1. re: iL Divo

                  I just replace 2 tbsp of flour from each cup with corn starch.

                  1. re: iL Divo

                    Yes, you can dilute the gluten by adding pure starch. Cake flour is different from AP in that it has relatively less gluten (and is usually bromatted).

                    1. re: paulj

                      you two are brill!
                      thanks antilope&paulj

            2. I just watched the Throwdown episode for these biscuits. I strongly suspect that they have cornstarch and oil in them. Cornstarch to lighten and oil instead of solid fat because....uh, cheaper and easier? I haven't eaten there, but I also suspect that it's one of those situations where the experience is part of the charm, and if you duplicated them in your home, they would not taste as good.

              On a side note, there was an "in memory of" pic flashed at the end for the Loveless Biscuit Lady.

              1. Often imitated........Never duplicated ;)

                1. My friend just returned from a trip to Nashville. She brought me back a biscuit mix from Loveless Cafe, along with 2 jams/jellies. Once I make them I'll let you know how they are, although I'm sure they're not the same as the real thing seeing as it's a powdered mix that you just add buttermilk to. Although I guess that gives one hint, it is definitely a buttermilk biscuit :)

                  25 Replies
                  1. re: juliejulez

                    What are the ingredients in the mix, if I may ask?

                    1. re: sandylc

                      A bunch of junk ;)

                      Enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid). Partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil, corn syrup solids, salt, sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, sugar sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), mono & diglycerides.

                      1. re: juliejulez

                        Looks like a straight forward biscuit mix to me, except maybe for the sweeteners. The corn syrup solids are there for the glucose, which isn't that sweet, but helps keep baked goods moist. Self rising flour, commonly used in the South for biscuits, has most of that, except for the fat.

                        1. re: paulj

                          Yup, very common for mixes, but still junk :) I'll still enjoy them though!

                        2. re: juliejulez

                          Fascinating. So they are nationally famous for their biscuits, and yet this is the product that they are willing to put their name on. It does say on their website that the mix is not the same as their restaurant biscuit. When I watched the biscuit lady demo her recipe on TV, she had several "secret" dry ingredients and I didn't see any solid fats go in.

                          I think the experience at the restaurant must be what makes these particular biscuits so successful.

                          1. re: sandylc


                            on this video they don't show her adding any fat, solid or liquid. And when she adds the buttermilk the flour mix looks pretty fine and very white. Could one of her secret ingredients be coffee creamer?


                            Bobby's dough is quite yellow compared to hers (butter, unbleached flour?). Her dough is also fairly wet, though she rolls it in a lot of flour. Her biscuits touch each other in the pan.

                            The generous brushing with butter adds flavor, and crisp top. I've seen Popeye's cooks do the same. The judges described her biscuits as classic Southern.

                            I suspect it comes down to skill in handling the dough, adding just enough liquid, and kneading just the right amount.

                            1. re: paulj

                              Thanks for the link...yes, that's the one I saw yesterday. The small blue bowl looks like it could be oil...she pours it over the flour in a circular motion and I can't see white powder coming out of it like with the previous "secret ingredient". With the other small bowl (the first one) she sort of sprinkles the contents and you can see a powdered substance coming out.

                              Interesting speculation on the coffee creamer.....could be, could be....

                              The more I speculate, the less I want to try these famous Loveless biscuits. Bobby's biscuits won the throwdown, BTW.

                              1. re: sandylc

                                I missed the blue bowl. It could well be oil. My mom always used oil in her biscuits (believing the Wesson ads that it was better for you). Occasionally I'll take that route, especially if I want the added flavor of olive oil. Oil is supposed to make crust more mealy. It's less clear what difference it makes in biscuits, especially if you don't squeeze the solid fat into 'disks'.

                                  1. re: Antilope

                                    I think you have it here, for the most part. Switch in the self-rising flour and the other "secret" ingredient (probably extra baking powder or cornstarch) and you just might have the Loveless recipe.

                                    I think that oftentimes recipes are kept secret because they aren't as special as the public perceives them to be.

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  The popularity of the biscuits is not due, as you seem increasingly convinced, to the "experience," unless the experience can be defined as "eating insanely delicious biscuits."

                                  1. re: palmenta

                                    The "experience" ALWAYS contributes to the enjoyment of food - ?!?!

                                    As far as the biscuits themselves, "insanely delicious" is a matter of personal preference. On another thread, there is a great discussion about what the perfect biscuit is. Some people don't care as much for the extra white, bleached, airy biscuits and breads. Some people make it their goal to make them as white, fluffy, and airy as possible. Different tastes.

                                    1. re: sandylc

                                      All true, but you have consistently implied that the biscuits likely are not as good as some say, that the experience lends a false sense of their actual taste/quality, and that if one successfully replicated them at home, they would not taste as good.

                                      Go there before you issue such decrees. Your cynicism is unappetizing.

                                      1. re: palmenta

                                        <<<<<All true, but you have consistently implied that the biscuits likely are not as good as some say, that the experience lends a false sense of their actual taste/quality, and that if one successfully replicated them at home, they would not taste as good.

                                        Go there before you issue such decrees. Your cynicism is unappetizing>>>>>>

                                        Wow. I just read through all of my posts on this thread and don't see what you're so hopped up about.


                                2. re: paulj

                                  The one that I just saw was with Ellen degeneres. She said there was milk ,oil and gin.....I'm not sure about the gin......but there was a clear liquid,what it was could be anyone's guess.

                                3. re: sandylc

                                  I bought the mix, too. It's not like the ones they serve in the restaurant - they even admit that on the bag. Anyway, after many attempts and much research, I was able to duplicate them myself. Chowhound rules prohibit me from linking directly to my blog post, but if you go to my blog and search, you can find it. It's a biscuit recipe style called a "bridal biscuit' from the South.....because it had 3 kinds of leavening in them yeast, baking soda, and Southern soft wheat self-rising flour - it gave new brides extra insurance that their biscuits would come out light and airy. And they do!

                                    1. re: Antilope

                                      (((Antilope))) do you wake up every morning just to put a smile on my face?
                                      you succeeded again

                                    2. re: momskitchen

                                      Here's some info about Southern Soft wheat flour, Northern Flour, Cake flour, etc..

                                      1. re: momskitchen

                                        Similar recipes using yeast along with baking powder/soda and/or self rising flour also go by the name of angel biscuits
                                        The Serious Eats one (adapted from a Dupree book) calls for kneading the dough, which ends of giving the biscuits more of a bread roll quality.

                                        1. re: momskitchen

                                          Here’s a list of some flours and their protein contents, from the book Cookwise by Shirley O. Corriher:

                                          Cake flours (Swans Down, Softasilk):
                                          7.5 to 8.5% protein

                                          Bleached southern all-purpose (White Lily, Martha White, Gladiola, Red Band):
                                          7.5 to 9.5% protein

                                          National brand self-rising (Gold Medal, Pillsbury):
                                          9 to 10% protein

                                          National brand bleached all-purpose (Gold Medal, Pillsbury):
                                          10 to 12% protein

                                          Northern all-purpose (Robin Hood, Hecker’s):
                                          11 to 12% protein

                                          Northern unbleached all-purpose (King Arthur):
                                          11.7% protein

                                          Bread Flour:
                                          11.5 to 12.5% protein

                                          1. re: momskitchen

                                            Does the addition of yeast affect texture or flavor, or both? I've read in several places that the distinctive taste that we associate with yeast bread comes from the alcohol 'waste product' that the yeast produces along with CO2.

                                            In the book Kitchen as Laboratory, one of the essays is about making a reliable pizza dough by the addition of baking powder (preferably the encapsulated kind) to yeast dough.

                                            Recently I made a quick pizza crust by including a bit of yeast in a oil biscuit dough. I kneaded it a bit, and then let it sit about half an hour. I'd have let it sit longer if I had time. It was easy to pat out into a disk (not too elastic), and baked uniformly, even under the sauce. The texture was like a soft bread (soft, uniform bubbles, not crisp).

                                            The intersection of yeast and quick breads is an interesting one.

                                            1. re: momskitchen

                                              I adapted your recipe to my on hand ingredients and I cut the recipe in half. This made a tender, cake like, non-flaky, delicious biscuit that has a slight yeast flavor. I will be making these again.

                                              Loveless Cafe Copycat Biscuits

                                              Makes a dozen 2-1/2 inch biscuits.


                                              1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1/2 packet)
                                              4 Tablespoons lukewarm water (105ºF to 115ºF )
                                              2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
                                              1/3 cup corn starch
                                              1 Tablespoon baking powder
                                              2 Tablespoons white granulated sugar
                                              1 teaspoon table salt
                                              1/4 teaspoon baking soda
                                              1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter flavor Crisco)
                                              1 cup plain yogurt
                                              Nonstick cooking spray
                                              2 Tablespoons butter, melted


                                              Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water in a small bowl or cup. Set aside until the yeast looks foamy, about 10-minutes. Reserve until needed.

                                              Sift together, in a large bowl, flour, corn starch, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Mix well.

                                              Using your fingertips, cut in the shortening until the mixture pieces are about the size of peas.

                                              Stir the yogurt into the dissolved, foamy yeast. Mix well.

                                              Stir combined liquids into the flour mixture using a fork. Stir just until moistened.

                                              Knead the dough lightly to finish mixing, about six turns. Use a little additional flour or water to make dough workable, if necessary. Don't over mix.

                                              Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch in thickness. Cut out biscuits with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Gather up dough scraps, roll out, and cut into additional biscuits. Or just cut out square biscuits.

                                              Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

                                              Arrange the cut biscuits, with their sides touching, on the prepared baking sheet. Pack them together tightly, this causes them to rise higher. Cover with a damp paper towel.

                                              Let the biscuits rise in a warm place until they have doubled in bulk, at least 2 hours.

                                              Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

                                              Remove damp paper towel and bake the biscuits until they are lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.

                                              Brush the tops with the melted butter and serve hot.

                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                Dixie Biscuits

                                                3 pints flour
                                                2 eggs
                                                1 small cup yeast
                                                1 cup sweet mik
                                                2 Tablespoons lard
                                                1 teaspoon

                                                Mix up the bread at eleven o'clock and let it
                                                rise. At four o'clock roll out and cut into biscuits
                                                two sizes, putting the small one on top and let it
                                                rise till supper. Bake twenty minutes.

                                                Source: Archive.org - Blue Grass Cook Book, 1904, Page 3. (Not in copyright.)


                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                  Milk Biscuit

                                                  Take one pound of flour, one quarter of a pound of butter,
                                                  eight tablespoonfuls of yeast, and one half pint of new milk.
                                                  Melt the butter in the milk, put in the yeast and some salt,
                                                  and work into the stiff paste. When light, knead it well,
                                                  roll it out an inch thick, cut out with a tumbler, prick them
                                                  with a fork, and bake in a quick oven.
                                                  If butter is not abundant, you may take an eighth of a pound of lard, and the other butter.

                                                  Source: Archive.org - Dixie Cookery, 1867, page 48 (not in copyright).

                                      2. They probably use a soft wheat flour that is grown in the South, like Martha White or White Lily . If they are not flaky, maybe they use oil or melted butter instead of cold shortening.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Antilope

                                          don't know about the whole recipe but I know for a fact that they use White Lily self rising flour flour,I asked the manager about that and he agreed saying it was one of the secrets naturally he refused to give me any more hints,white lily gives you a biscuit recipe on the back of the bag,and by the way if your not privy to lily flour they will ship to you,you all know in the old days they used pork lard , I mean the real thing not the manufactured lard one buy's at the grocer.
                                          Let us know what your turn out was.

                                        2. There's also the "not all buttermilks are equal" part of the equation.

                                          You could be getting a lot of 'real' dairy fat in whole buttermilk (which is hard to find in some parts of the country) or a lot less in the so called low fat buttermilks.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: shallots

                                            'whole buttermilk' is something of an oxymoron. Traditional buttermilk is the cream after most of the butterfat has been removed by churning. Being sour is something of a byproduct of that processing. Whole milk (4% butterfat) can be cultured in the same way that reduced fat milk (1-2%) is, but the amount of fat that it adds is minor (10g per cup). There are some biscuit/scone recipes that use heavy cream (30%) as the fat source. Buttermilk may be as thick as cream, but that's due to the action of the bacteria on the milk proteins, not the fat.

                                            Irish soda bread, at its simplest, uses buttermilk, but no added fat.

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              I was thinking about the real thing, not from modern corportate processing, but after churning.
                                              (Some of us live where this sort of thing is possible, still.)

                                              1. re: shallots

                                                How much butter fat is left in buttermilk after churning?

                                                Here's a fuller discussion of what I was trying to say:

                                                Kates Home Made Butter buttermilk has 2g of fat per cup. My carton of Trader Joes Reduced Fat lists 4g.

                                                1. re: shallots

                                                  Paul's right. Real buttermilk is always very low in fat, as the fat in the milk has been turned into butter.

                                                  1. re: Becca Porter

                                                    High fat 'buttermilk' is called sour cream. :)

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      Ha. Yes, it is....hey, and that can be a great biscuit ingredient, too!

                                            2. My story about how I traveled 1,000 miles for a biscuit was mentioned in Jim Leff's Chowhound book.

                                              I live in Connecticut and back in 2003 saw the Loveless Cafe and all its biscuit glory featured on a TV show. I so wanted to try them! My husband (a purchasing director) asked if I wanted to go to his annual convention with him. Yee ha, nothing more exciting than sitting around with a bunch of bean counters... my initial reaction was eh, where was it? Nashville. NASHVILLE! HEY NOW. Why yes darling, I would love to go!

                                              The convention was at the Gaylord, the same hotel where we were staying, and we could easily get a shuttle to and from the airport, but I insisted we get a rental car. Afraid to tell him that my main reason for going was to eat a biscuit, I told my husband we might want to do some sightseeing not on public transport. (Which, when you think about it, was true.)

                                              I behaved the entire time at the convention, enjoyed the Grand Ole Opry and even had fun with the Garth Brooks impersonator. On our last day, I told my husband I had heard about this great little restaurant with delicious ham and biscuits so off we went to the Loveless Cafe for breakfast. The ham was good, but to me the biscuits were the star. Light, fluffy, tall. Delicious!

                                              For the next year, I tried and tried to make biscuits like the Loveless, to no avail. They weren't soft enough, they were too flaky, dry, hard, not quite right. I had just about given up when I saw "Tall, Fluffy Biscuits" advertised on the cover of the August 2004 Cook's Illustrated at the supermarket. I forked over what I considered to be an obscene $5.95 for that one recipe. And boy am I glad I did!

                                              These are wonderful biscuits — soft, fluffy, and delicious. Easy to make. Good with a chicken dinner with gravy, and the leftovers (if there are any) are a nice base for strawberry shortcake.

                                              Looking at this recipe you wouldn't think it would be like the Loveless Cafe's - the biscuits aren't rolled or cut. But while they may not be an exact match prep/ingredient wise, they are really close to my memory of those lovely Loveless ones.

                                              If you don't have the Aug. 2004 CI here is a link to the recipe for Mile-High Biscuits online. I'd be interested in what you think.


                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                Sounds like your dough is quite wet, since you scoop it with a spoon, and shape with well floured hands. And they are baked touching each other in a rimmed pan.

                                                This is the same method Shirley Corriher does with her Touch of Grace biscuits

                                                I made this style once. They were nice, but most of the time I prefer a heartier style, multigrain that does not aim for maximum lightness.

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  "..I prefer a heartier style, multigrain that does not aim for maximum lightness."

                                                  Same here. It can be an interesting challenge to make them as light and tall as possible, but I find that they lack substance and flavor.

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    The goal of the CI recipe isn't a "heartier multigrain" biscuit, it's light and fluffy like the Loveless Cafe biscuit.

                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                      Yes but the CI recipe doesn't do anything to address the use of Southern soft wheat flour. To make a lighter, more tender biscuit, they should use Southern soft wheat flour or a substitute like cake flour or all-purpose flour and cornstarch.

                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                        Try them Antilope and see what you think.

                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                          I will give them a try. They seem be a standard drop biscuit recipe I've tried in the past.

                                                          The recipe I posted above does make a very different biscuit than I have made before. Light, tender, cake like.

                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                            A key difference between CI's recipe and many other drop biscuit recipes, including Shirley Corriher's, is CI's includes both baking powder and baking soda. You might not think that makes a difference but it really does. CI, as it always does, goes to great lengths to explain why the joint leavening is very important.

                                                            Also, separating the biscuits at the very end to let out steam is important. My son's coming by for a visit today so I might make some chicken and biscuits for him. If so, I'll take pix.

                                                  2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                    Trish, your biscuits sound like the famous Cats' Head biscuit recipe.

                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                      Cat House uses AP flour plus cake flour. They also use butter plus veg shortening. I make them quite often and think that they are wonderful.

                                                      1. re: Mother of four

                                                        I'm not familiar with "Cat House"......?

                                                  3. Does anyone know if the biscuits are the same now at the Loveless since the biscuit lady passed away? Did she take the recipe/method with her?

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                      My understanding is that the recipe belongs to the restaurant, and has been used by several different biscuit bakers over the years. Of course I don't know for sure, but I'd guess there are some legal things any biscuit-making employee has to agree to in writing before being allowed access to the Sacred Text.

                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                        They don't taste the same to me.

                                                      2. My son indeed stopped by for lunch so I made the CI biscuits I linked to above, for him. One note: I had two important phone calls to deal with while I was rolling them in flour, so the biscuits weren't as even or as tall as they would have been if I had been paying more attention. Still, very delicious..


                                                        1. Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in the cuisinart with four tablespoons of cold butter.
                                                        2. After mixture is pulsed, stirred in a bowl with buttermilk.
                                                        3. Stirred quickly and gently until just combined.
                                                        4. Measured into 12 balls with a non-stick sprayed 1/4 cup measure. Then rolled gently in the flour.
                                                        5. Placed in a 9-inch round pan and brushed with melted butter.
                                                        6. After baking in hot oven - first at 500 degrees, then at 450, they're done and cool for a minute on the counter.
                                                        7. Broken apart onto a tea towel so the steam can escape.
                                                        8. Chicken and soft, tender, fluffy biscuits.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                          your faire looks delicious.

                                                          those look like the Cat Head biscuits that I saw and taped being made on CI or ATK.
                                                          love those two shows, learn so much from each of them.

                                                        2. think I'll agree that LC biscuits didn't seem a yeast dough biscuit.
                                                          they were so much fun to have at the LC with my husband but as stated here by some, the experience had a lot to do with it for me. I loved getting there after all those years I'd waited for us to visit Nashville.

                                                          1. last night I watched all 4 utube videos of BF & Carol Faye doing the biscuit throwdown.
                                                            I'd seen the original show back a couple of years ago bcuz I'd taped it knowing Carol Faye was going to be on. had not remembered the blue bowl and last night watching for it, on my phone, it was still hard to see what was in there or what Carol was doing with it.
                                                            I'm interested in knowing why the dry coffee cream came up as a possible ingredient as its not on the recipe list I was sent. interesting additive but not something I'd have ever thought of myself.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                              I was the one who speculated about the creamer. I was trying to think of a powdered fat substitute. The overlap between creamer ingredients and some of the ingredients in their mix also suggested the use of creamer. But was also mentioned that they don't use their mix at the cafe.

                                                              In the videos, was there any hint of a 1 hour rising/resting time (either before or after shaping), which the addition of yeast would require?

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                this will mostly be a repeat~
                                                                I saw the original throwdown and didn't remember the blue bowl-wanted to make sure I viewed that portion but again hard on my phone to see specifics.
                                                                about the rising if any-didn't watch that part closely.
                                                                they showed BF patting his dough while they showed CF rolling hers and making a comment that Bobby didn't roll his. my memory tells me there was no reference to rising. but again, I wasn't watching for that because having eaten the biscuits at the LC, never entered my mind they were yeast dough biscuits.

                                                            2. Here's a link to a biscuit recipe that uses a mixture of all purpose flour and rice flour to make very light biscuits: