Why Most of America Is Terrible at Making Biscuits
There’s a scientific reason no one outside of the South can make light and fluffy biscuits, Amanda Mull wrote in November. The secret to success, she showed, is White Lily flour—which is difficult to find north of Richmond, Virginia.
I’m not buying hard-to-get White Lily flour as the magic bullet for good biscuits. My mother in Kentucky made biscuits from scratch almost every morning for my father and she used plain old Gold Medal self-rising flour, shortening (usually Crisco), and milk, not buttermilk. The secret is in knowing the feel of the dough. Work the biscuit dough too long and you get hockey pucks. The only skills in making biscuits are the patience to keep trying and the practice of learning to work the dough quickly and know when it’s time. Come to California and I’ll make some southern-style biscuits for you out of organic butter and whatever flour is in my pantry, usually bread flour.
When my sister moved from Toronto to Winnipeg (10 years before I did), my mother would ship her care packages monthly. It started out as just a few packages of St-Hubert gravy envelopes, then she added a few more items my sister couldn’t find in Winnipeg. Before you knew it, my sister was getting boxes full of gravy mixes, special honey, and several loaves of malt bread. I used to laugh until I moved here and couldn’t find a few things I used all the time, like premade pizza dough that the stores with bakeries in them always had fresh. I used to buy several and toss a few in the freezer. None to be found in Winnipeg.