Beaten Biscuits 3

A Hometown Recipe

I was born on Maryland soil. As were my father, my mother, my grandparents and all of my great grandparents. That’s as far back as I know for certain, but my father’s side arrived on the eastern shore of Maryland around 1700. My children were born on Maryland soil as well; however, it was a baggie of dirt from my brother’s yard that I tossed under the delivery room table in Newark, Delaware. You do what you have to do.

One of my earliest food memories was a biscuit my grandmother made. They’re called Beaten Biscuits, and they are a food that used to be well-known on the eastern shore of Maryland where my family is from. I always thought that Beaten Biscuits were exclusively a Maryland thing, but someone recently showed me an article about beaten biscuits in Tennessee. They looked a little different. Regardless, I will not go as far as to say that knowledge of Maryland Beaten Biscuits is a litmus test for determining ones Maryland lineage, but I have found it be a pretty accurate indicator myself.

Beaten Biscuits

Putting aside my children’s sketchy claim to Maryland, it is the one recipe that I insist they master. The name might seem kind of curious, but the dough is actually beaten. My grandmother used an axe handle, but when I started making the biscuits, I just grabbed for a veal pounder. Whatever you use, you have to be prepared to pound the dough for 30 minutes.

Beaten Biscuits

In addition to the pounding device, you will need:

● 4 cups of all-purpose flour

● 1 teaspoon of salt

● 1.5 tablespoons of lard

● 1 to 2 cups of cold water

Sift the flour and the salt.

Cut the lard into the flour. A pastry blender comes in handy here.

Slowly pour in the water and mix/blend until you form a dough.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and make sure that it is dry enough to work. Make sure you have a super sturdy surface that can take a pretty good pounding and get to work.

Pound for 30 minutes. If you have other folks around, take turns with the pounding. It makes the process easier. I have a buddy that in his family they have handed down the specific table that they use to pound the biscuits on.

Hand roll into a big snake of dough, and then pinch off ping pong ball sized pieces of dough. Give these a quick roll into a small ball.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or jelly roll pan.

Now, this is an important step in the tradition, you need to prick the top with a fork. The idea is to mark the biscuits rather than a step to make them taste better. The marks you place in the top need to be your own unique pattern.

Bake in a hot oven around 400 degrees for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until they get just slightly brown.

* These are not your typical biscuits. They’re not going to be light, fluffy, and flaky; they are going to be dense, chewy biscuits. Sure, they’re not everyone’s idea of a perfect biscuit, but they’re an authentic, regional tradition and a fun baking experience to share with those you love.

Eric Signature

3 thoughts on “Beaten Biscuits

  • Karen Pritchett

    Oh, my goodness! I remember my first Maryland Beaten Biscuit experience many years ago in Crisfield, MD with a wonderful older Lady who made them for me. It was my first, but not my last, trip to Crisfield for their National Hard Crab Derby and Fair and I loved both the fair and the biscuits! This brings back such great memories. Now, I’m going to try my hand at these wonderful creations after too many years.
    Thanks for bringing back such pleasing memories!

    • Steph at Kitchen & Company Post author

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you for sharing your love for beaten biscuits! We’re delighted that our recipe brings back happy memories for you. We wish you pleasant baking and hope you’ll share the tradition with someone you love!
      Steph at Kitchen & Company

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