Types of flour question

bbstxJune 24, 2012

I bought a 5 lb bag of White Lily flour because DD wanted to learn to make biscuits and I had read it was the best for biscuit making. What can I use it for other than biscuits?

DD made one batch. It is doubtful she will make any more. I do not make biscuits...another allergy. They definitely cause me to break out in fat.

Can I just use the White Lily like I would Gold Medal AP? FWIW, I'm not much of a baker, so I really don't need a variety of flours hanging out in my already-crowded kitchen.

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White Lily is a low-protein Southern all-purpose flour and works best where you don't want a lot of gluten development, so use it for quick breads, pastry, some kinds of cookies and cake. Is your White Lily also self-rising? Which means it has the salt and leavening also included in it.

Check out their web site for all kinds of recipes.


Here is a link that might be useful: White Lily Flour

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 5:23PM
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Thanks, GL, for link. It is not self-rising.

So, I gather from what you have said that it would not be appropriate for bread-making? ...not that I'm likely to bake any bread soon.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 5:41PM
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I'm assuming you purchased the Southern all-purpose milled from soft red wheat, which is what you want for biscuits, and you really wouldn't want to use it from making a yeast bread due to the low protein content. Stick to quick breads, pastry, or cakes and you'll find it a nice product.

I buy a bag of White Lily as a "treat" when we visit our daughter in Tennessee since you can't get it around here (central Kansas). Otherwise I mill soft white wheat for a wholegrain version.

You actually CAN use soft wheat flour for making bread, but you just won't get the high-rising loaves you are accustomed to. A wheat history lesson... Mennonite immigrants brought the first hard winter wheat variety (Turkey Red) to the United States in the early 1870s, introducing it in a three-county area in south central Kansas. It became the dominant hard red winter wheat in Kansas and much of the Great Plains bread basket and was the major hard winter variety in the 1920s. Prior to the introduction of hard winter wheat varieties in the 19th century, flour was milled from soft wheat. It wasn't until they developed mills that could easily mill hard wheat that it became the popular wheat variety. The techniques used for making bread from soft wheat are much different from the direct dough method we use today.

Enjoy your bag of Lily White Flour!


    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 8:46PM
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Thanks for the history lesson, GL. In the Deep South, where I grew up and still live, Daddy always grew soft red winter wheat. I think he said it durum. He told me it made "cake flour." That was probably the extent of his cooking knowledge.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Grainlady, do you have a blog or web site? Your posts are so knowledgeable and I would enjoy reading more. To me, flour is a sack of Gold Medal and that's as much as I know.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 9:02AM
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Thank you for your kind words, but no, there's no blog or web site. I just hang out here and a couple other message boards, and food science is a long-time study and hobby of mine that is necessary as a Foods Judge at County Fairs. I have to be able to tell people what went right, wrong, or how to improve their skills and their finished products.

Gold Medal All-Purpose flour is a mixture of hard and soft wheat. Hard wheat provides enough protein to make a fairly good loaf of bread, and soft wheat so you can make a fairly good quick bread - but it's not the optimal choice for much of anything other than soft dinner rolls. There are better flour choices for yeast and naturally-leavened bread, pizza crust, bagels, hard rolls, etc., and better choices when you don't want a lot of gluten development - pastry, cookies, quick breads, cakes....

It wasn't until the advent of the bread machine in the 1980's that things like "high-gluten bread flour" and "vital wheat gluten" were even heard of for home use. All we had was all-purpose and an occasional find of whole wheat flour or rye flour (usually sold by hippies in a dark little whole foods or health food store - LOL). So we can thank that industry for giving us a broader choice of flour products.

Today I work from a variety of over 30 different grains/seeds/beans for milling into flour and incorporating in our diet.

I grew up in the middle of wheat fields, so it's not surprising your dad knew what his wheat would be used for.

Yes, soft red wheat is used in cake flour and also suited for cookies and some pastries, but it's a completely different variety of wheat from durum wheat.

Most of the durum wheat produced in the United States is grown in North Dakota (76%), and some in Montana, South Dakota, and Minnesota and it's primary use is in pasta/spaghetti/macaroni but it's also used to make puffed breakfast cereals and wheat germ. The bran and germ are removed and the endosperm is coarsely milled into semolina flour, which we use most often for making pasta, although I have a few favorite recipes where I add it to yeast breads, but I mill my own using whole grain durum.

When you mill your own flour and you forget which variety of wheat (hard or soft) you milled, all you have to do is rub it between your fingers. Hard wheat flour is fairly gritty while soft wheat feels more like talcum powder.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 10:40AM
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