Why Southerners Love White Lily Flour

It’s probably the not-so-secret ingredient in your grandmother's famous biscuits.

White Lily Flour

Courtesy of White Lily

Do you ever wonder why biscuits taste so much better in the South? Not only are they filled with more love and butter (or shortening), but more often than not they're also made with White Lily flour. While there are plenty of flour varieties to choose from, White Lily reigns above all else for Southern bakers and is the crème de la crème when it comes to the flour we use for any biscuit recipe .

Since 1883, when White Lily was founded in Knoxville, Tennessee, this distinctly Southern brand has been a staple for both professional bakers and home cooks. Step into any grocery store across the South, and you’ll likely find the iconic, extra tall (because the flour weighs less per cup), white bags on the baking aisle. In 2007, when the brand’s flour production moved up North, Southern bakers made such an uproar over the change that The New York Times even covered it.

What’s so special about White Lily Flour?

Unlike other flours, White Lily is milled from the purest part of 100% soft red winter wheat, once grown primarily in Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas, and has a lower protein and gluten content. While some brands have 11.7% protein, White Lily has 9%, which means less gluten forms when the flour interacts with liquid. Typically when baking sourdough or french baguettes, you’ll want a higher-protein flour, but when making delicate pastries (especially pillowy biscuits and flaky pie crusts), a low-protein, low-gluten flour results in a lighter, fluffier baked good with a greater rise. White Lily is also more finely sifted than other flours—its packaging even advertises it as “pre-sifted".

If you start asking around, any Southern chef, Southern Living Test Kitchen pro, or biscuit-making family member will swear by White Lily flour. Generations of bakers have claimed it as the secret to the perfect, flaky biscuit. Still not convinced? Check out the brand’s community Facebook group supported by 225.3K avid White Lily fans and bakers.

As an avid baker myself, I always keep my pantry stocked with a bag or two of White Lily. My go-to picks are the Enriched Bleached All-Purpose Flour and Enriched Bleached Self-Rising Flour.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles