Each part of the country has its own take on the beaten biscuit with a slightly different way of beating the dough or a tweak to the recipe. But the characteristic that makes the Maryland beaten biscuit unique is its shape. Maryland beaten biscuits have a small spherical shape that has led more than one person to call them “golf balls”.
The biscuits are “made out” by forming a smooth sheet of dough then squeezing it out into the iconic round shape. But you probably didn’t know that this shape does more than just make the biscuits look appealing.
In the 1970’s Dick Orrell, son of Ruth Orrell, attempted to devise a way have the biscuits mechanically formed. He took the problem to several of his aeronautical engineer friends who provided possible solutions, but to no avail. No matter what they tried, the final product did not have the smooth appearance or thin flaky crust with a doughy center that was needed for a proper biscuit. The only way to achieve a perfect biscuit was to make it out by hand. So, for more than 80 years the Orrell’s Maryland Beaten Biscuit Company employed a team of women who formed every one of the millions of biscuits by hand with care.
Here are some pictures of the “biscuit ladies” through the years.