Self-rising flour is scarce: bottom shelf, dim cupboard, cracked cookbook. News in 1845, it now counts as quaint. And yet, it models a modern mindset. Self-rising flour must study self-actualization, meditation, levitation. How else does it propel its purpose-driven life?
Through baking powder. The chemical leavening agent is salted – along with salt – into each sack. Once, the self-sufficient cook scoffed at self-rising. She measured one cup of all-purpose flour, one teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt: self-made, self-rising flour.
Which, she learns, is wrong. Self-rising flour, at least the sort prized in the South, is milled from soft red winter wheat. The low-protein product makes quick work of quick bread and lifts biscuits to lofty heights. Lofty goals.
As cobbler season warms up, she cobbles together a substitute from cake flour and all-purpose flour. Her biscuits bake up light and lovely. Affording her one hot second of purpose, driven home.