About Beaten Biscuits
Elizabeth Ellicott Lea, Domestic Cookery,
Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers (Baltimore, 1869)
|Jane Grant Gilmore Howard, Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen (Philadelphia, 1881)|
Maude A. Bomberger, Colonial Recipes From
Old Virginia and Maryland Manors (NY and DC, 1907)
Mrs. William Medders, The Eastern Shore Cook Book, of Maryland Recipes (DE, 1919)
· Compiled from signed and tested recipes by the Epworth League of the Still Pond, Maryland, Methodist Episcopal Church.
Frederick Philip Stieff, Eat, Drink & Be Merry in Maryland (JHU Press, 1932; 1998 edition)
Easton Memorial Hospital Junior Auxiliary,
A Cook’s Tour of the Eastern Shore (Cambridge, MD, 1959)
Helen Avalynne Tawes, My Favorite Maryland Recipes (Tidewater Publishers, MD, 1964)
If you want to make these biscuits in the historic manner, use a really good stone-ground pastry flour made with soft, yellow wheat. This type of wheat is what was grown in Maryland in the early nineteenth-century, and produces a soft and crumbly biscuit that lasts longer than ones made with modern all-purpose flour which is made from gluten-rich red, hard wheat.
(The earliest known published recipes for a beaten biscuit.)
Source: The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph, 1824
Put a little salt, one egg beaten, and four ounces of butter, in a quart of flour; make it into a paste with new milk, beat it for half an hour with a pestle, roll the paste thin, and cut it into round cakes; bake them on a griddle and be careful not to burn them.
Modern Recipe Adaptation
4 Cups Whole Grain Pastry Flour + More for the Board
1 ½ Teaspoons Salt
4 Ounces/1 Stick Salted Butter, Cut into Pieces the Size of Peas
1 Large Egg
2. Add the chopped butter to the flour and use your fingers to work it into the flour until it is distributed evenly.
3. In a small bowl, beat the egg until foamy. Add it to the flour/butter mixture.
4. Add just enough of the milk to make a dough that is smooth and not sticky.
5. Lightly flour a board and place the dough on the board. Knead the dough enough to make sure it is not sticky at all.
6. Now for the fun part: Take a rolling pin and beat the dough for 30 minutes. Turn and fold the dough often to make sure it gets beaten evenly. You will know it has been beaten enough when air bubbles come to the surface of the dough and pop or blister, and the dough will feel soft and squishy.
7. Roll the dough out and cut into circles, or pull off 1.5 ounce pieces and roll into a circle. Dock the top of each biscuit with a fork to prevent scorching during baking.
- Grease a griddle with lard, shortening, or butter. Cook the biscuits in the fat until they bottoms turn golden. Turn and repeat.
- Or, you can bake the biscuits at 375º F. until lightly golden brown and cooked throughout, about 20 minutes.
|Fold the dough in between beatings, every few minutes.|
|Notice how soft the dough looks after it has been beaten for about 20 minutes.|
|Notice the blistered air pockets on the dough after it has been beaten for 30 minutes.|
|Cutting into the dough reveals lots of air pockets!|
|Dock each ball of dough with a fork to prevent scorching on the top.|
|Maryland Beaten Biscuit Ready to Eat!|