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Thread: Does flour go stale??

  1. #1
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    Question Does flour go stale??

    I'm sorry if this has been posted in the past but I'm a little perplexed. In all my years of baking and cooking I've never come up with this issue but when I baked bread yesterday and the bread came out fine but had a kind of stale taste to it. I thought I read somewhere that flour, especially unbleached whole grain (like whole wheat) flour can turn if it's been stored too long.

    For yesterday's baking I used flour from a bag of King Arthur Flour: Traditional Whole Wheat Flour that is probably at least a year old. I've stored the flour in a zip bag in the cupboard and it looks and smells ok in the bag. In addition I used baking soda from a (unopened) box that was probably at least as old as the flour. Again, it didn't look or smell funny or off to me but... you never know.

    In closing, if flour goes stale (1) how long should I expect flour to "last" before I should get new? (2) Is the shelf life different for different types of flour (bleached, whole wheat, unbleached, rye, etc.)? (3) How do you store your flour? I've seen people store theirs in the freezer in a zip bag (but I couldn't really do that because I don't have a stand-up or chest freezer).

    TIA for your help.
    Les
    Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deut. 31:6 (NIV)

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Whole wheat flour goes rancid. A lot of people recommend keeping it in the freezer for that reason. There is more information than you ever wanted to know about flour on this page:
    http://www.baking911.com/pantry/flour,grains.htm

    the section about storage is about halfway down, on the right.
    <)>>< Candace ><<)>

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Yes, flour goes stale, absolutely. Whole wheat flour stales faster than white, because of the added oils in it, ditto other nonwheat whole-grain flours.

    Flour should be stored in a "cool place" for short term convenience (I keep my immediate-use flours in large jars in the basement pantry, rather than upstairs in my kitchen pantry, as the kitchen pantry is quite warm). In the long term, it should be kept in the freezer, particularly whole grain flours.

    Shelf life varies. I can't remember exactly, though some site or other (maybe Bob's Red Mill?) had a guide to how long whole grains last.

    I'm surprised you couldn't smell it in the jar, though. I can usually smell when a flour's gone as soon as I open the lid.
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  4. #4
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    Thank you for your qick response. I'll check out the link.
    Les
    Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deut. 31:6 (NIV)

    Reflections on life and spirituality can be found at https://revles.wordpress.com

    Visit my new ministry site: St. John's Episcopal church, Suffolk VA.

  5. #5
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    Thanks CompasRose - I'm surprised that I didn't smell it either but now that I'm "onto something" I'll check my stash (and probably toss a lot of flour because it's been a while).

    Les
    Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deut. 31:6 (NIV)

    Reflections on life and spirituality can be found at https://revles.wordpress.com

    Visit my new ministry site: St. John's Episcopal church, Suffolk VA.

  6. #6

    It depends...

    Refined flour such as all-purpose has had the oil removed, and will last much longer than whole wheat. I have had semolina that I only use for making pasta, in my freezer for several years & it still tastes fine. My WW has been in the cabinet for over a year & it too is fine. I found a chart online that may help you.

    http://www.hormel.com/templates/know...id=133&id=1039
    Dorothy aka Martha

    Somewhere over the rainbow...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CompassRose
    Yes, flour goes stale, absolutely. Whole wheat flour stales faster than white, because of the added oils in it, ditto other nonwheat whole-grain flours.

    Flour should be stored in a "cool place" for short term convenience (I keep my immediate-use flours in large jars in the basement pantry, rather than upstairs in my kitchen pantry, as the kitchen pantry is quite warm). In the long term, it should be kept in the freezer, particularly whole grain flours.

    Shelf life varies. I can't remember exactly, though some site or other (maybe Bob's Red Mill?) had a guide to how long whole grains last.

    I'm surprised you couldn't smell it in the jar, though. I can usually smell when a flour's gone as soon as I open the lid.
    I've not noticed mine go rancid but I have been suspect of the quality. I think the next time I am shopping for flour I will buy the small size Bob's. I've been pretty happy with their products.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

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