The difference is the protein the flour contains and this affects the final product.
Southern biscuits contain soft Southern wheat - see White Lily, below:
It's the variety of wheat grown and used in the South that makes their tender biscuits.
In the North or West, you either have to get Southern flour (White Lily, etc) or doctor the
flour you have to make it lighter. Either use cake flour for biscuits or add 2 Tbsp of cornstarch
per cup to regular flour to make a substitute for Southern flour. This makes a real difference.
Here’s a list of some flours and their protein contents, from the book Cookwise by Shirley O. Corriher:
Cake flours (Swans Down, Softasilk):
7.5 to 8.5% protein
Bleached southern all-purpose (White Lily, Martha White, Gladiola, Red Band):
7.5 to 9.5% protein
National brand self-rising (Gold Medal, Pillsbury):
9 to 10% protein
National brand bleached all-purpose (Gold Medal, Pillsbury):
10 to 12% protein
Northern all-purpose (Robin Hood, Hecker’s):
11 to 12% protein
Northern unbleached all-purpose (King Arthur):
11.5 to 12.5% protein
<message edited by Antilope on Mon, 12/24/12 7:57 PM>