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Beaten biscuit

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Title: Beaten biscuit  
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Subject: List of American breads, Biscuit (bread), Soul food, Biscuit (disambiguation), Quick breads
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Beaten biscuit

Beaten biscuit
Alternative names Sea biscuits
Type Biscuit
Place of origin United States
Region or state Southern United States
Main ingredients Flour, salt, sugar, lard, cold water
  Media: Beaten biscuit

Beaten biscuits are a Southern food from the United States, dating from the 19th century. They differ from regular American soft-dough biscuits in that they are more like hardtack. In New England they are called "sea biscuits",[1] as they were staples aboard whaling ships.[2]


  • Characteristics and preparation 1
  • Uses 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Characteristics and preparation

The dough was originally made from flour, salt, sugar, lard, and cold water, and beaten with a hard object or against a hard surface. It is pricked with a fork prior to baking and cut smaller than a regular biscuit.[3] The prepared dough is baked at 325 °F (163 °C) for 20 minutes until tops are golden brown, but some bakers prefer a crisp, white biscuit that is baked with no browning.[4]

How long the biscuits are beaten varies from one recipe to the next, from "at least 15 minutes"[1] to "30 to 45 minutes."[3] The beating these biscuits undergo is severe: they are banged with a "rolling pin, hammer, or side of an axe";[1] or they are "pounded with a blunt instrument...[even] a tire iron will do...Granny used to beat 'em with a musket";[5] one book "instructs the cook to 'use boys to do it'"—that is, beat the biscuits vigorously "at least 200 times."[6] Besides ensuring the proper texture for the biscuit, "this beating also serves to vent the cook's weekly accumulation of pent-up frustrations."[5]


These biscuits were traditionally used in "ham biscuits", a traditional Southern canapé, where they are sliced horizontally and spread with butter, jelly, mustard and filled with pieces of country ham, or sopped up with gravy or syrup.[5][6] They are sometimes considered "Sunday biscuits" and can be stored for several months in an airtight container.[5] Beaten biscuits were once so popular that special machines, called biscuits brakes, were manufactured to knead the dough in home kitchens.[5] A biscuit brake typically consists of a pair of steel rollers geared together and operated by a crank, mounted on a small table with a marble top and cast iron legs.

Due to the amount of work required to make them, beaten biscuits are no longer popular.[7] Ham biscuits are still widely found in the United States but are made with standard biscuits or dinner rolls.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ Biscuit bliss By James Villas page 14
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^
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