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All-purpose flour (Recipe: sweet potato latkes) {vegetarian}

Updated December 2011.


For the most part, I don't believe in "one size fits all," because I am a size and shape that one size never seems to fit.

And while in my pantry I have half a dozen types of flour -- surprising, given that I'm a notorious bake-o-phobe -- the one I reach for more often than not is "one size fits all," also known as all-purpose flour.

All-purpose flour is a blend of hard (high-protein) and soft (higher carbohydrate, lower protein) wheats, with the bran (outside coating that protects the wheat berry) and germ (the embryo of a new wheat seedling) removed. All-purpose flour has a medium protein content of 9-12 percent, compared to whole-wheat (14 percent), or cake flour (5-8 percent). The King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour I use contains 11.7 percent protein. 


On its own or in combination with whole wheat or white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour works for most any baked goods, and the high starch content makes it an ideal thickener for sauces, stews, and coatings. I like the clean taste of unbleached flour; bleaching makes the flour whiter in color, but I'd rather have my bread taste good than shine in the dark.

All-purpose flour keeps indefinitely in a cool, dry place, stored in an airtight container. I never store flour in the freezer, because the temperature of my frost-free freezer fluctuates.

And, because I don't bake often, I buy flour in five-pound bags, decant it into one-gallon glass jars, and replenish frequently. One piece of advice: be sure to include a piece of the bag, or label your jars. Once decanted, one flour looks much like another.


Sweet potato latkes (potato pancakes)

From the pantry, you'll need: onions, eggs, all-purpose flour, thyme, kosher salt.

A variation on the traditional potato pancake, sweet potato latkes are best made right before you plan to eat them, but it's possible to make them a day ahead and reheat in the oven at 400°F for 10 minutes. Serves 6-8 (makes 12-15 large potato pancakes).


3 cups peeled, grated (by hand) or shredded (by food processor) orange sweet potatoes, approximately 2 very large potatoes
1/3 cup grated or shredded onion
2 medium eggs
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sliced scallions, including green tops
1/2 tsp thyme
1-1/2 Tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Peanut oil for frying


Preheat a large frying pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add the potato, onion, salt, flour, scallions, thyme, parsley, and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Fill the frying pan with oil to a depth of 1/4 inch, and let the oil heat for a minute or two. Drop the batter in large spoonfuls into the oil, a few at a time. Cook until brown on both sides. Remove to a plate covered with paper towels and drain thoroughly. Serve with warm applesauce and/or sour cream.

NOTE: If you use a food processor to shred the potatoes and onion, you may need to return the finished mixture to the processor and chop (with metal blade) for 6-8 pulses until a good texture is achieved. Even with the extra step, when you're doubling or tripling this recipe it beats the old method of grating down to your knuckles on a hand grater.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Easy whole wheat pizza dough
Sweet potato pie
Sweet potato bread
Spice cake
Lemon-currant jonnycake biscotti

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Gluten-free potato pancakes, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Apple latkes, from Smitten Kitchen
Purple potato latkes, from eCurry
Butternut squash latkes, from Elana's Pantry
Oven-baked latkes, from Baking Bites

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I had a pack of that in my pantry and when I move, I had to throw almost a full pack away :( Well, I don't bake but still keep a pack in case I need some "coating" for deep-frying stuff sometimes.

Ah yes. Right now I'm trying to remember which cannister contains all-purpose flour, and which cannister contains self-rising cake flour. I guess I'll have the answer when my cake ends up like a hockey puck, or my gravy expands three-fold!

I bet it´s very useful and all, but mostly I adore that logo

I burst out laughing with your first sentence!! I go through an alarming amount of AP flour even as I am trying to reduce my use of it. Those latkes sound sweet!

That is something I always have around, Lydia - really important in my pantry!

Potato pancakes? Yum!

Paz ;-)))

Sweet potato pancakes -- excellent idea. Keep getting sweet potatoes in my CSA box and need new ideas to cope!

I am devoted to King Arthur. I love their flours and baking products. I'm currently digging Barley Flakes, which can be used the same way old fashioned oats can be used.

My family had a Hannukah party this past weekend and I made sweet potato pancakes as well as regular potato pancakes and zucchini pancakes (with an Asian flair - rice flour and scallions).
I added mashed bananas to the grated sweet potatoes, along with grated onions, egg, a bit of whole wheat flour and S+P as well. They were delicious!
Happy Hannukah tonight to those who observe.

Oooooooooooooooh! I've got all the ingredients! I've been planning to roast the sweet potatoes, but I may have to shift gears.

If not, will the recipe work as written with plain ol' russets?

I love sweet potatoes! I've often wondered why I don't see them on restaurant menus more often. I guess they're more like "home food." They're so delicious.

And thanks for the explanation of all-purpose flour. I'm just now getting into baking in a little more depth, and suddenly realizing that all those terms for flour actually mean something. They're not just willy-nilly names.

Your recipe was so delectable sounding that my boyfriend just emailed it to me. I think that was his not so subtle way of asking me to make him these for dinner.

Thank you for the great recipe. I look forward to trying it out soon.

Tigerfish, flour is wonderfully inexpensive, so if you ever do decide you want to bake something, you can buy a very small bag and start again. It's hard to know what to take to a new kitchen.

TW, forgetting to label the flour is something you only do once, like rubbing your eyes after you cut a jalapeno. For me, it's critical, because most of my baking ends up like hockey pucks. Fortunately the Drop In & Decorate cookies are the one thing I've learned to bake -- with this all-purpose flour.

Lobstersquad, he is cute, isn't he?

Nupur, for someone who doesn't bake, I go through a lot of flour, too. We never ate sweet potato latkes when I was growing up, but I do love them now.

Patricia, it's a staple for me, too. Have you tried white whole wheat flour? That's my new thing -- I love it.

Paz, I have to tell you -- these are really addictive!!!

Christine, when I was growing up, sweet potatoes were always things that came with marshmallows on top, and that was always too sweet for me. So it's only recently that I've become a fan of them again.

Sharon, Asian zucchini latkes? I'm hooked -- what a brilliant idea! And I haven't tried the King Arthur barley flakes yet, but I'm intrigued.

Jerry, absolutely yes -- delicious with plain russets, though I use sage as the seasoning when I make them.

Hanne, I agree about sweet potatoes. I think they are so delicious. We used to get the best sweet potato fries at a little barbecue stand here in Rhode Island, but I don't often see them on restaurant menus. I love sweet potatoes with black beans in stew, too.

Erin, these are so easy that your boyfriend could make them -- for you! Enjoy!

Oooh, those sweet potato latkes sound good!
I have 2 kinds of flour: all-purpose (I think) and whole wheat (I think).
Whatever...it works for me!

I was just thinking that sweet potato latkes would be a fun thing to make this weekend...and now I don't have to invent a recipe!

I've never had sweet potato latkes,sounds great. And thank goodness they now sell King Arthur in the grocery store. Love it.

Katie, my life was so uncomplicated until white whole wheat flour came along. Now, if I don't label the flour jars, I can't tell the difference between all-purpose and white whole wheat and cake flour and bread flour....

Jennifer, glad to help! I've also made latkes with mixed sweet potatoes and russets -- those are delicious, too.

Sher, not only does my little grocery store sell King Arthur all-purpose; they're also getting into selling some of the organic and specialty flours. I was surprised, and delighted, the first time I saw so many products on the shelf.

Hi Lydia,
Just a quick comment that I nominated you for the Best Food Blog - Theme. All the best!

p.s: I've heard so much about King Aurthur flours.

Lydia, I love Hanukkah because of all the potato pancakes! I have yet to try sweet potato pancakes though because I'm too caught up on regular potato pancakes :) Sorry again about the mistake earlier!

happy chanukah!!!

Nora, I'm honored. Thank you so much.

Hillary, how about half-and-half latkes? Half sweet potato, half russet -- they're beautiful and delicious.

Stacy, thanks -- Chanukah is my favorite holiday. Happy holiday to you, too.

Sweet potatoes seem to appear very very often on our table. Not long ago I started doing half and half hashbrowns and just love them.
I am delighted that the Kroger carries so many of the King Arthur flours!

MyKitchen, the half and half hash browns sound great -- I'll have to try that. My little local grocery store is carrying a better selection of King Arthur Flour products, too, and also Bob's Red Mill, which sells an amazing range of grains. Hooray for whichever distributor is bringing these things to the smaller groceries.

I stocked up on sweet potatoes the other day and am determined to do more than eat them simply steamed and sprinkled with salt (so good!). But this recipe sounds so delicious I'm half afraid to make it, LOL. ;)

Susan, consider yourself warned -- these are exceedingly good, and addictive....

I love all purpose flour. I only need one type of flour and done, I can make any kind of cooks. Latkes is my favorite side dish. I love it shredded with hands because they turn into long cut size. Thanks for this great recipe.

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