In The Family
Why Does Southern Flour Make Better Biscuits?
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The real reason you can’t find a great biscuit north of the Mason-Dixon line.

It’s a secret known in Southern kitchens, around Southern-accented cooking sites, and even the pages of The Atlantic: The secret to making great biscuits isn’t how you cut your butter or mix your dough, but the flour you start with. That is, if you want ethereally fluffy biscuit pillows you’ll want to rest your cheek on, reach for the South’s first choice: a local brand called White Lily.

Unlike nationally distributed all-purpose flour brands like Pillsbury and King Arthur, White Lily flour is made exclusively from soft Southern wheat that’s naturally low in the proteins that react with water to form gluten. Less gluten in your flour means a softer, less chewy bread. That’d be a problem for your crusty loaf of sourdough, but it’s exactly what you want for a batch of buttery biscuits. If you can’t find White Lily flour near you, try baking a batch with low-protein cake or pastry flour. Or place an order online and stock up for a rainy day.

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Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz is a food and travel writer for The New York Times, Saveur, GQ, New York magazine’s Grub Street, and other outlets. He’s also the coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook with Helen You.