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Oct 10, 2008 09:17 AM

White Lily Self-Rising Flour

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. 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. 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. 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

          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. 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

            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

              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?

            2. re: Will Owen

              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. 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

                Interesting. Perhaps it works best in savory recipes??