The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

All-purpose nightmare

Cooky's picture

All-purpose nightmare

Boy howdy, did I just have a horrible experience with all-purpose flour. I'm not sure I just got a bad sack or if the flour was simply wrong for bread, or if I should have done something completely different.


The grocery where I made my last shopping run did not carry King Arthur bread flour, my default choice, so I picked up 5-lbs of White Lily AP. Tried to use it with Floyd's daily-bread recipe and it was a disaster. The poolish never developed more than teensy little air bubbles, and the dough absolutely refused to rise more than a little bit, even after 24 hours and a number of folds. The dough ended up as too stiff and too sticky at the same time, if you can picture that.


I soldiered on and shaped baguettes, baked them on the stone, and got almost no oven spring. They didn't even turn a good shade of brown, even though I left them in so long the crusts came out like iron.


I did everything the same I usually do with fine results -- from mixing to steaming up the oven. But what I ended up with is awful. This is the first batch that has turned out so badly I can't feed it to anyone but the birds -- if they'll take it.


Anybody else have this problem with White Lily? Or with AP in general? Most of the recipes I see here call for AP, or at least say it shouldn't make a big difference. There was no date on the flour, although it did seem so lumpy I had to sift it (which I rarely do when making bread). I just can't figure out what went so hideously wrong here.





Susan's picture

I'm up past midnight baking a loaf of rye--silly me!  
Cooky, someone else will probably give you a more definitive answer, but I think White Lily flour is very soft flour, almost like cake flour.   I'm so sorry you had a failure, it tends to take the wind out of your sails, doesn't it?  I once baked 13 bricks in a row at altitude.  Sheesh!  
Use the White Lily flour to make biscuits.
SD Susan

titus's picture


If you used AP Lily, it is likely that the protein content was too low for bread (8%).

Here's a link that you might find helpful:

JMonkey's picture

For what it's worth, KAF All-Purpose flour is higher in protein than just about every other AP flour out there. It's almost bread flour. White Lily, on the other hand, really shouldn't be called AP flour, since it's made entirely from soft wheats. Really, White Lily is pastry flour.

Cooky's picture

I appreciate the education. For some reason, I had it in my head that all AP flour had roughly the same protein content.


Guess now I'll  try out one of the yummy biscuit recipes on this site with rest of the White Lily -- instead of hurling it into the compost pile.



"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

sadears's picture

Was it bleached flour?  My starter was better with unbleached AP than bleached.  I'm beginning to think my issue and possibly yours is due to bleached flour.  My bleached flour starter rises almost double then it goes flat.  Maybe that's your problem, too?



luv2bake's picture

Thanks for the  tips about White Lily. I use it all the time, as I

live in the South. Maybe that explains why I've had some flops

in the kitchen.