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Baltimore Biscuits

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At a wedding in Baltimore decades ago, I had the most wonderful ham and biscuits, little biscuits that were incredible. I have great ham, now I just need to come up with the biscuits. It's for Christmas Eve so need to know soon. Thanks.

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  1. They are also known as beaten biscuits. They are basically just flour, water and lard. I have an ancient recipe card my MD born husband's great grandmother gave me 25 years ago. Here is the recipe. They key is to *really* beat them. Do not skimp on that part!

    4 cups all-purpose flour
    11/2 TBS lard
    1 tsp salt
    1 1/2 cups COLD water (more may be needed)

    Sift the salt and flour together. Cut in the lard. Add the water slowly to mixture until a dough is formed. If it appear too dry add more water, a scant tsp at time. If its too wet it will be way too sticky and wont beat well

    By hand, beat the dough with a floured heavy rolling pin or meat hammer on a well floured surface for 35 to 40 minutes until blistering occurs on surface of dough.

    Shape the dough into aprox 18 biscuits, and then prick the tops with a fork.

    Bake biscuits on cookie sheet for 25 to 28 minutes at 425 degrees.

    If you google beaten biscuits you will find variations on the theme-they are a true southern treat.

    6 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2

      Beat for 35 to 40 minutes? I cannot even imagine what that means. How about using a Food Processor?

      1. re: escondido123

        Nope. If you want the real thing that's what you gotta do. A FP will not give you the blister effect nor the unique texture found in a true beaten biscuit.

        Of course his great grand mother and his grandmother had a "girl" who did it. You served them with ham at all special occasions. His Aunts and sisters still make them but now really just for the big special events. Not for every sunday supper like when they were growing up.

        1. re: foodieX2

          I was going to post that the recipe sounds like it came from a time when people had "help." You confirmed it, Will have to consider another recipe because this small crowd would be happy with biscuits from the "can" so don't want to knock myself out over it.

          1. re: escondido123

            Do make them for yourself one day, especially after a really bad day. Very therapeutic AND you get to eat them once your aggressions out! LOL

            1. re: escondido123

              Before Baking Powder most Biscuits were beaten whether you had "help" or not.

        2. re: foodieX2

          Axe Handle works best. Though there are contraptions called Biscuit Brakes that do the beating also.

        3. Try Angel Biscuits. Here's the recipe I use. A real hit at Thanksgiving.

          Extra Ligh Angel Biscuits

          This makes a tender, cake like, non-flaky, delicious biscuit that has a slight yeast flavor. Serve with butter and jam. These are the lightest biscuits that I have ever had.

          The secret of this recipe is to create a substitute for Southern soft-wheat flour (which is similar to cake flour). This is done by combining all-purpose flour with cornstarch. Most Southern biscuits use Southern soft-wheat flour, which is usually not available in the rest of the U.S.

          Makes a dozen 2-1/2 inch biscuits.

          Ingredients:

          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 or buttermilk (I make homemade yogurt so I use that)
          Nonstick cooking spray
          2 Tablespoons butter, melted

          Directions:

          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.