So, what are Maryland Beaten Biscuits?
Beaten Biscuits originated in the southern United States during the colonial period. There are slightly different versions of the recipe based on the region, but the principle is the same; prepare an unleavened biscuit dough, beat it with a blunt object until it pops, form it, and bake it until just barely brown. The Maryland variety is distinct in its spherical shape and water based dough. Once a household staple around the state, and particularly on the Eastern Shore, they have gone by the wayside due to the large amount of manual labor involved in their production.
For a more detailed history of the beaten biscuit as well as the Orrell’s Maryland Beaten Biscuit company visit our history page.
You beat them to get the air out, right?
No! This is a very common misconception that you will find sprinkled throughout the literature and lore, but it is in fact, for the opposite reason. Beaten Biscuits are not leavened (i.e. – no yeast, baking powder, baking soda, etc.) so you beat them in order to incorporate the air that a leavening agent would normally add. In fact, a sign that the dough has been beaten long enough is that you can hear the air bubbles that have formed begin to pop.
Do you sell Maryland beaten biscuits?
Unfortunately, we do not sell Maryland beaten biscuits at this time. After 80 years and 4 generations, the financial viability of the business grew to be unsustainable and we had to close. While we know this is the right decision for the time being, we have hopes that we may be able to bring our passion for beaten biscuits back to the world in some form in the years to come. If we do decide to sell biscuits to the public again this site will be the place we will let you know.
Where can I buy Maryland beaten biscuits?
We were the last company that made Maryland beaten biscuits commercially that were sold to grocery stores and through the mail. However, you can still find a few folks who have taken up the art of biscuit making as a cottage industry. If you search around the internet you can find them selling small quantities at farmers markets in several places around Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
What is this I heard about a documentary
We are so glad you heard! In the fall of 2020 we decided to embark on a journey to create a documentary film telling the story of the biscuits as well as the people who love them.
We need to your help to make this project a success. View our announcement post to find out how you can be a part.
Can you send me your recipe for Maryland beaten biscuits?
Some things are still a secret. Our recipe was handed down through our family for many generations. From family word of mouth we know that our family recipe goes back to the Stewarts who lived on Anderton Farm outside of Oxford in Talbot County, MD in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, and probably goes back much further than that. In the interest of maintaining this tradition, we do not give out the family recipe. There are plenty of recipes floating around the internet which we can tell you will make a perfectly acceptable biscuit. As important as the recipe is the process that you use, and we can tell you that the longer you beat, the better they will be.