Self Rising Flour: What is it Good For?

Once I thought: not much. And even until very recently I made my biscuits by blending canned baking powder with White Lily all purpose flour, which is the same stuff just without the pre-blended pop. My assumption has always been that it’s safer to use canned leavening as you never know how long your bag of self-rising flour has been on the shelf (after several months the baking powder starts to lose its potency).

That turned out to be Yankee thinking. The few times I bought White Lily in Chicago I was disappointed. But when you’re that far north of Mason-Dixon line what can you expect? Here in Louisville you don’t have that problem. The stuff moves off the shelves at a very brisk clip so you’re practically guaranteed a fresh bag. The one exception to the rule is the little 2-pound bags, which I made the mistake of buying just after I arrived here. No real Southerner would ever one of those. I deserved what I got.

Does it make a difference? Yes it does. Or at least it does in my biscuits. The reason is the blending. A flour mill can blend baking powder into flour more evenly than a home baker every could. And as I’ve written before back when I was talking about high-ratio cake, a strong, even rise depends on even distribution of ingredients. So if your recipe calls for self-rising flour, I recommend using it provided you can find it fresh. It’s not just hype, it really does work.

3 thoughts on “Self Rising Flour: What is it Good For?”

  1. I am getting on in years, so a strong, even rise is exactly what I aspire to, Joe.
    Surely a Northerner such as myself can replicate this even blending with good ol’ Yankee Know-How? An automatic paint stirrer perhaps?

    1. A food processor is my thought. But I suppose you could always order a little of the real thing through Amazon or some such thing!

      – Joe

  2. This former New England Yankee uses a whisk. But mom, and grandma, and probably all prior generations find that to be weird. Why whisk when a fork always worked just fine. But no self-rising flour for our biscuits… Our secret ingredient is Bakewell Cream!

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