Baking Basic 101 Series: How to Properly Store Flour

Last week, we spent some time understanding flour. What it is, varieties and uses. This week is somewhat a continuation of that topic and as important as understanding the basics of flour. Keep your flour properly stored and save money in a long run. The way we store the flour also affects the texture of the flour and hence affects the end bake goods. This is not going to be a lengthy discussion but still worth the read, I believe this merits a separate discussion on its own.

How do you store your flour? I would like to know because for so many years that I had been using flour, some of the information I found out on how to properly store flour while doing my researched surprised me. Flour is one of the most common key ingredients in baking, it has become a staple in the bakers or home cook kitchen. With the prices of grocery going up now, the last thing we want is to waste what we have in our kitchen. Flour has become in-demand even more during the pandemic, and a lot of people bought more than what they can usually use based on their average usage. So the question is, how do we store flour? Is there a right and wrong way of doing so? This is the question that we will answer in today’s posts. I am sharing with you today what I found out that could be helpful to us in maintaining the quality of the flour and how this could help us save money in the long run.

While I had been baking for awhile now, Sometimes, I still feel like a beginner. There is always so much to learn to refresh my memory or just to brush up my skills. I’ve decided to share with you my baking learning journey, and I hope this will benefit you as much as it helped me. I had been meaning to create more baking basics series but I had always been side track with recipe and travel post. I’ll be documenting things that I had learned and will share with you my experiences in baking, baking basics is not just my journey, it is our journey to making ourselves a better baker, especially if you cannot afford to go to a culinary school for whatever reason. I started on my own, learned everything on my own by reading and researching, by watching videos and by listening to advice and feedback. I feel it’s time to give back and share what I’ve learned.

Today’s Lesson: How to Store Flour Properly

What is Flour?

Yes, it is the often times the main ingredients in baking, but what is it really? Flour is a powder ground from grains (usually wheat). These are those edible seeds from cereal plants. Flour is made up of the following components:

  • Bran: the outside coating (the husk) that acts as protection as it grows. This adds texture, color and fiber to the flour.
  • Germ is where growth begins. Flour that retains germ during the milling process will contain more vitamins, minerals and fiber. Talk about whole wheat flour.
  • Endosperm this is the starchy center of the grain which contains carbohydrates, protein and small amount of natural oil
  • Gluten is a protein found in wheat. It gives strength, elasticity and chewy texture for breads.

The Problem with Leaving the Flour in Paper Bag

Flour usually comes in paper bag, at least for what I have seen so far. There is nothing wrong with paper bag while it is still in the store for selling as this is not meant for long term. As soon as you buy the flour and open it, leaving it in paper bag is not recommended. This is one thing that I a guilty for doing especially when I buy a 10kg of flour. Once the paper bag is opened, this becomes open to moisture, air and pests. Paper bags are not meant for long term storage once the flour has been opened. So what should you do once you open the bag of flour?

3 Key Things to Keep in Mind When Storing flour

Store Flour in a Cool/Cold Place

The oil in the flour can go rancid if the flour is not stored properly. To prevent the flour from going bad means keeping the natural oil in the product as cool as possible. How do we do this?

The best place to store flour is in the freezer, that is IF you have space which I assume most of us don’t. The freezer cold temperature will help prevent or delay the oil in the flour from getting rancid, plus it can also kill pests and bugs in the flour (if any). I know.. it seems the best place to store flour is not the best option for most of us, unless you have an extra large or dedicated freezer just for flour (lucky you!). So what is the next best thing to freezer option?

You guess it right, just a step lower .. it’s the refrigerator. It is not as cold as the freezer but it is cold enough to prevent oil in the flour to go rancid earlier than its expiry date. Still no space to store your flour?

The last option which is probably going to work to most people is just to store it in a cool dry place, away from the sun or stove. Transfer the flour in an air-tight container to prevent moisture affecting the flour.

Store Flour in Dark Place

Why dark place? Light is one of flour enemy when it comes to storage. When I say light I mean exposure to heat, like sunlight or stove over heat. Again, if you do not have space in the freezer or refrigerator, transfer the flour in a large stone wear/ceramic container that blocks light and store the container in a cool place in your house.

Store Flour in an Air-tight Container

This is a simple but key thing to remember. Use an air-tight container to store the flour to avoid/lessen the oxygen coming inside the container. Less air, slower spoilage. You can also use ziplock bag, make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing, or use a vacuum bags and sealer.

Unless you are running a baking business, it may be a good idea to buy flour in a reasonable amount based on your consumption. This way you can be assure that you are using a fresh/good quality flour all the time and you do not have to worry how to store a large amount of flour.

Bottom Line

Store your flour properly to maintain the quality of the flour and save money in the long run. Keep it in a cool,dark place and store it in an air-tight container. If you are transferring the flour in a container, make sure to mark it with the expiry date for future reference.

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