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White Lily Self-Rising Flour

Ora Oct 10, 2008 09:17 AM

I finally got around to actually cooking a recipe from the Silver Spoon cookbook. I made the apple cake as I pre-testing possible Thanksgiving dishes early for a change this year. So the recipe calls for self-rising flour. I was excited to crack open a 5 lb bag of While Lily Flour that I purchased in VA at a Walmart recent (I'm in NYC). Well the recipe worked fine, in fact the cake look excatly like the picture in the book pretty much. I was proud of myself--until I tasted the cake. I tasted the batter and I detected a slight " off" taste, but I couldn't put my finger on it. The finished cake tasted distinctly "salty"--something like a salty biscuit flavor. It was terrible, but this slightly annoying off/salty flavor. I attribute the flavor to the flour--it has a relatively high salt content based on the package--which I read after the fact of course. We've concluded that we'll never use self-rising flour again in a sweet-ish baked good. But now I hesitate to use my formerly prized White Lily Self-rising flour for anything. Sadly, that Wal-Mart in VA didn't stock the regular White Lily.

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  1. w
    willownt RE: Ora Oct 10, 2008 11:58 AM

    I am not sure what your question is (or if it's more of a warning?), but White Lily has a guarantee. You should write or call them and complain.

    1 Reply
    1. re: willownt
      Ora RE: willownt Oct 10, 2008 07:40 PM

      An observation.

    2. paulj RE: Ora Oct 10, 2008 12:13 PM

      Have you tried it in biscuits?

      What is the main difference between White Lily and a generic AP? Lower gluten, as in a blend of AP and cake flour?

      1. todao RE: Ora Oct 10, 2008 01:56 PM

        White Lily Self-Rising Flour contains 14% sodium ... some of that is salt.
        Most AP flour (at least the AP that I use) is 0% sodium of any variety(which means, if there is any at all, it's less than .05 grams)
        Their eb site:
        includes a statement "White Lily Self-Rising flour is blended with leavening and salt and is ideal for making light, flaky biscuits and pastries. You can also use self-rising flour for pancakes, muffins, waffles, coffee cakes and quick loaves." Operative word, "salt".
        Ain't no mention of any other variety of cake than "coffee cake". Not that I'd want that much sodium in my coffee cake.

        1 Reply
        1. re: todao
          paulj RE: todao Oct 10, 2008 02:01 PM

          Part of that sodium is in the baking soda - the rising part - but some is salt. So the use of salt in the rest of the recipe should be restrained.

        2. Will Owen RE: Ora Oct 10, 2008 06:33 PM

          I would fault the cookbook - I don't do many cakes, but I can't imagine using SR flour for anything other than a coffeecake, or perhaps a cottage pudding. You need plenty of shortening in there to soften the alkaline harshness.

          I wouldn't complain to White Lily - I'd complain to the cookbook writer(s).

          4 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen
            Ora RE: Will Owen Oct 10, 2008 07:43 PM

            I am thinking that since the Silver Spoon was an Italian translation, self-rising flour might taste different in Italy? Not sure. I've noticed the use of self-rising flour in a number of sweet recipes in European cookbooks--nedless to say I will use AP flour when this comes up. I do plan to try the White Lily with biscuits--but someting tells me I don't like the flavor of self-rising flour. I don't think there is anything wrong with the product per se.

            1. re: Ora
              paulj RE: Ora Oct 10, 2008 08:53 PM

              The wiki article for flour gives these typical proportions for self rising flour:
              * 100 g flour
              * 3 g baking powder
              * 1 g or less salt (or a pinch to ½ teaspoon salt)
              So it is quite likely that the European/UK version has lower salt than the American White Lily. I think that upper limit of 1/2 tsp is per cup of flour.

              Did the OP's cake recipe call for any extra salt?

              1. re: paulj
                Ora RE: paulj Oct 11, 2008 07:41 AM


            2. re: Will Owen
              weem RE: Will Owen Oct 13, 2008 12:01 AM

              It's nothing fancy, and it's more savory than sweet, but I use a completely simple recipe for beer bread that is just beer, self-rising flour and sugar. (And butter to coat the pan and spread on top when it's baked.) Haven't tried the White Lily brand. Is it possible the original poster simply bought a bad batch?

            3. jinet12 RE: Ora Oct 10, 2008 08:45 PM

              Well I use White Self Rising Flour all of the time as a coating for my chicken pieces after they have soaked in Buttermik and Hot sauce overnight...I spice up the self rising flour with garlic, salt, pepper, and a bit of cayeene, and shake it in a paper bag, then let the pieces dry out for about 20 minutes, then I pan fry it in an iron pan...not covering....It's always delicious...The flour can also be used for biscuits....Sorry that you recipe did not work out, but there are many delicious uses for self rising flour...

              1 Reply
              1. re: jinet12
                Ora RE: jinet12 Oct 11, 2008 07:43 AM

                Interesting. Perhaps it works best in savory recipes??

              2. Candy RE: Ora Oct 11, 2008 07:56 AM

                i use White Lily but NEVER use self rising. I prefer to add my own leavening and control the amount of salt going into what ever I am baking.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Candy
                  Ora RE: Candy Oct 12, 2008 07:28 PM

                  Yes, I've always baked that way as well, but Silver Spoon Apple Cake called for self rising flour, so I tried it. Didn't love it at all. What on earth am I going to do with that huge bag of flour...

                  1. re: Ora
                    Candy RE: Ora Oct 12, 2008 08:21 PM

                    throw it way. No major loss

                    1. re: Ora
                      paulj RE: Ora Oct 12, 2008 09:09 PM

                      I've never used it myself, but I think you should at least try a batch of biscuits.

                      1. re: paulj
                        MMRuth RE: paulj Oct 13, 2008 03:58 AM

                        Definitely make biscuits.


                        I've made them a couple times now with the White Lily self-rising flour (also purchased in VA and hauled back to NYC). This is the recipe I used:


                        1. re: MMRuth
                          Ora RE: MMRuth Oct 13, 2008 09:44 AM

                          What the heck, I might was well try biscuits. I've got a 5lb bag of the stuff (less 2 3/4 cups that I used for the Apple Cake).

                          1. re: Ora
                            Hungry Celeste RE: Ora Oct 14, 2008 09:02 AM

                            I've made cakes with WL self-rising off and on through the years and have never noticed any odd flavors. Try a batch of biscuits or a simple coffeecake and see if you still don't like the taste.

                  2. n
                    Nancy Berry RE: Ora Oct 13, 2008 11:32 AM

                    Alas, White Lily Flour was bought by Smuckers recently and they changed it. According to an article in The New York Times, baked goods made with this new flour are inferior to those made with the legendary old flour that was milled in Tennessee. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/18/din... So White Lily is no longer the standard when it comes to Southern self-rising flour. It's a real shame.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Nancy Berry
                      MMRuth RE: Nancy Berry Oct 13, 2008 11:42 AM

                      The one I bought in VA was milled in TN, so Ora might want to check that. There are a couple of interesting threads on the General Topics board about the switch.

                      1. re: Nancy Berry
                        Will Owen RE: Nancy Berry Oct 13, 2008 03:24 PM

                        I think it is still milled in Tennessee, but in Memphis instead of Knoxville, and using flour grown just any old where instead of strictly regional. This proves to me once and for all that this "terroir" business is not in fact a bunch of hooey, but something we ignore to our disadvantage. Smuckers just killed the pup, as far as I'm concerned, and is on my s***list forever.

                        1. re: Will Owen
                          Nancy Berry RE: Will Owen Oct 14, 2008 08:59 AM

                          It is no longer milled in Tennessee. According to the White Lily website, it's milled in Ohio.

                          1. re: Nancy Berry
                            paulj RE: Nancy Berry Oct 14, 2008 10:04 AM

                            The choice of wheat varieties is probably more important than milling location. Since wheat can be shipped by rail long distances (e.g. prairie states to the coast for overseas shipment), there's is no guarantee that flour milled in Tennessee comes from wheat grown in Tennessee.

                            I suppose at one time Lily did use locally grown wheat, or at least a blend that suited local tastes (softer than AP?). I wonder if the increase in corn acreage (as discussed in HFCS threads) has been at the expense of wheat in states like Tennessee.

                            1. re: Nancy Berry
                              Will Owen RE: Nancy Berry Oct 14, 2008 01:20 PM

                              Okay - last time I checked in with the ongoing White Lily saga, the word was that they were moving it to Memphis. What really matters is that they abandoned that fine old mill in Knoxville. That done, they could mill the stuff in China for all I care.

                        2. Ora RE: Ora Oct 31, 2008 05:51 PM

                          This is to follow up on my initial message. So, I made biscuits with the White Lily Self Rising flour, however I added 1/2 AP flour to my own concoted recipe as follows:
                          My Biscuits
                          Preheat oven to 450 deg.
                          Grease 9 inch pan with Veg Oil
                          1 cup WL self rising flour
                          1 cup AP flour
                          1/2 tbsp baking spoon
                          Cut in: 1/4 -- 1/3 stick butter
                          Mix in 1/2 Cup heavy cream & 1/4 Milk
                          Pat/roll out on a floured board
                          Use 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter
                          arrange biscuits in pan so that they are touching
                          Bake for 15 min or so until golden brown.
                          Makes 7-8 biscuits

                          These were delicious and the AP flour cut the strong flavor of the self rising flour. hey leftover freeze well too (not many!!)!

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