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Maryland Beaten Biscuits
Servings: Makes 18 (golf ball size) biscuits
What are Beaten Biscuits?
Maryland Beaten Biscuits originated in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore in the days of the Plantations and Manors. Probably due to the lack of leavening, this method of making bread and setting it to rise was apparently the only way possible. This could have been the outgrowth of the Indian method of beating corn for making food items. The biscuits consist of lard, flour, salt, and water. Prior to cooking the biscuits, they have to be beaten in some manner. Originally the ingredients were mixed together by hand, and the dough then placed on a smooth wooden block or stump. A servant of the manor would beat the dough with a special ax used only for this purpose. This beating process served to trap air inside the dough. Each biscuit was, and still is shaped by hand, kneaded by the fingers to make the biscuit smooth on all sides.
Source: Orrell's Maryland Beaten Biscuits
Orrell's Maryland Beaten Biscuits
P.O. Box 7
Wye Mills, Maryland 21679
4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tablespoons lard
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups cold water
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C).
Sift the salt and flour together (and baking powder, if using). Cut in the lard or vegetable shortening. Add the water slowly to mixture until a dough is formed.
By hand, beat the dough with a heavy rolling pin on a floured countertop for 35 to 40 minutes until blistering occurs on surface of dough.
Shape the dough into balls, and prick the tops with a fork.
Bake biscuits on cookie sheet for 25 to 28 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 C).
Serve biscuits warm with butter, or butter and jam at breakfast. They are also great with a slice of tomato and a piece of ham for lunch.
Let me give you a tip when mixing these biscuits. Less is more with the water. Too much water results in a sticky dough and is too hard to work with, so I stay close to the 1 and 1/2 cups of water.
Makes 18 (golf ball size) biscuits.
Submitted By: John Grunden
Date: September 1, 2003