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Oct 4, 2002 10:18 AM

Beaten Biscuits

  • p

This biscuit is very labor intensive. I'm talking HARD labor! I used to make them to go with paper thin slices of country ham. You beat the dough with a rolling pin for up to half an hour. I used a rubberized slege hammer one time. I understand they can be made in a food processor.
Has anyone made them using both methods? I don't know if I have the stamina to do it the old way anymore. If the food processor works well, I'd try it. They're wonderful little biscuits and keep a very long time.

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  1. Beaten biscuits are my favorite thing in the world. I have spent 3 years trying to come up with a means of making beaten biscuits that I won't regret the next day.

    I'm amazed you've gotten them to work with a rolling pin, was it marble? I've usually had to use the side of an axehead (per my grandmother) and two people.

    I tried the food processor method and while it's not bad, it's not really a beaten biscuit. Too tough and not light enough.

    There is a rolling pressing machine that will make beaten biscuit, and periodically they appear on ebay (and one of these days I'm going to buy one). This machine is what they use in Annapolis at the only restaurant I've ever been to that had decent beaten biscuits (and who's name I've since forgotten). It looks like a clothes wringer, and there's a picture of one in John Shields Chesapeake bay cookbook.

    regardless, I have the stamina problem too (despite being a drummer, I just don't have the arm strength), but I find that if I can convince someone else to help we can usually muscle through it (much to the chagrin of our downstairs neighbors).

    Let me know if you find a solution.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ben f

      i recently finished the glossary portion of a cookbook and was fascinated by the descriptions of beaten biscuits i found in my research. it talked about two kinds of beaten biscuits, every day beaten biscuits, in which the dough got taken out to a wood stump and beaten about 300 times by hand with a wooden stick, or sunday beaten biscuits when the dough was beaten 500 times with a stick to create a lighter, fluffier biscuit.

      oh, would that i could be there when you made some! i just can't imagine the work involved!

      1. re: ben f

        Yes, the rolling pin was marble. It eventualy broke! I've seen recipies that talk about using a mallet, but I don't know what kind. The rubber sledge-like hammer worked pretty well. The idea of having friends chip in with the pounding is terrific. Unfortunately, I have downstairs neighbors too. It makes quite a racket.

        1. re: ben f
          Pat Goldberg

          Would a pasta machine work?

          1. re: Pat Goldberg

            I don't think so. The two wheels of a beaten biscuit machine are grooved, and run together like two cogs - albeit cogs with rounded rather than squared grooves.

            Still it'd be worth trying.

        2. hi. never tried these type of biscuits. can you explain the difference bet. regular biscuits and what the beating of the dough does to the final product. thanks.

          1. Haven't done it myself, but I have seen a reference (in Joy of Cooking?) to repeatedly putting the dough through a meat grinder, using the disc with the largest holes. Probably still takes quite a bit of effort, but doesn't disturb the neighbors.

            1. To quote scripture: "spare the rod, spoil the biscuit."

              1. How about a brief rundown for those of us who don't come from the Beaten Biscuit Culture and don't know what the heck you're talking about.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sharuf

                  Sorry to leave you hanging. I'm not a member of the "Beaten Biscuit Society" either. I just like 'em.

                  They're a southern specialty often served with country ham. They're not fluffy like most biscuits. In fact, I've had them turn out like what I think hardtack must be like. You bake them until they're barely tan, not brown. They come out sort of hard and crisp, but light. (At least my best effort was like that). I'm really not an expert. To split them open you should use a fork, the way one opens an English muffin.

                  It's a very old timey thing. Witness the recipes that will say to beat the dough on a stump with the flat of an axe. I'm beginning to think putting the dough through a meat grinder might be worth of try.