So, flour you say. What is flour? It is one of the most used ingredients by both home cooks and professional chefs around the world. It is a powder that can be made out of corn, rice, ground wheat, or seeds.
Conventional flours that most of us eat every day are made from wheat kernels or wheat berries along with other ingredients like germ, endosperm, and bran. Flour can be used in many baked goods including bread.
Many people believe that this pantry staple does not have an expiration date. And that is not true. Flour’s shelf life is not eternal so it needs to be stored properly. The question arises whether can you freeze flour like many other culinary ingredients.
The short answer is “yes” but there is a little more to say about freezing flour and storing it in general.
Freezing flour is not a complicated or strict process in terms of safety like perhaps freezing chicken, but you need to know some important facts about it.
Can You Freeze? Let’s Find Out!
Yes, you can freeze the flour. But besides the answer to the question of whether you can freeze flour, you must also know a little more information about storing flour and the flour itself to properly do what you need to do.
First, there are a few types of flour and that is very important in terms of freezing flour and storing it in general. There is whole-grain flour that includes oat, rice, spelt, whole wheat flour, and whole buckwheat flour.
Nowadays gluten-free flour is becoming popular and they include cornmeal, buckwheat, and almond flour. And there is classical white flour, which includes bread flour, all-purpose flour, and self-rising flour.
All of these types of flour have different shelf lives and that is very important to know when talking about flour storage. Whole grain flour has more natural oils and, because of that, it is more prone to spoilage (more precisely, it can get rancid). On the other hand, white flour can last longer.
At room temperature, whole grain flour will last for about 3-6 months, and whole grain flour for about 1-3 months. It can easily be concluded that these facts play an important role in the decision on how you will store flour.
There are also other important factors to consider, like the climate and the time in which you want to keep your flour in the storage place.
Now that you know you can freeze flour among some other storage methods, let’s find out what are the most important ones.
3 Ways To Store Flour
There are 3 best ways to store your flour that I will reveal to you and, yes, one of them is the method of freezing the flour.
1. In A Dark Room
If you have a bigger storage space or some kind of dry place where you can keep flour, preventing it from exposure to light, then it is a good thing to do.
But, it is important to know how to store that flour properly. The best option is to store flour in an airtight storage container and, in that way, you will prevent the flour from light exposure which can cause oxidation and an increase in heat.
One more thing that you can do is to place oxygen absorbers in the sealed containers and, that way, you will extend the shelf life of flour. You can also use bay leaves in the flour container to help deter bugs.
2. In The Refrigerator
If you want to extend the shelf life of your flour a little bit, then it is a good thing to store it in the refrigerator. To do that it is best to use an airtight container such as a glass jar, airtight plastic bag, or a plastic container.
The reason for this is to prevent an increase in moisture content. If you want your flour to stay in the fridge for a longer time, then it is best to put white flour in the fridge because it can last there up to 1 year.
On the other hand, the time you leave whole grain flour in the fridge is half of that for white flour, and that is half a year. This isn’t surprising since white flour is more processed and it contains fewer natural oils that can make flour go bad.
3. In The Freezer
And finally, here is an option that answers the question of whether you can freeze flour and how can you freeze flour. If you live in a warmer climate and want to store flour long-term, freezing it could be an ideal option for you.
Before you store flour in the freezer, it is best to put it in an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag. You just have to make sure that you press out all the air or as much air as you can.
It is best to use a vacuum seal bag in this case. You must never freeze flour in the original packaging or ordinary paper bags.
Storing your flour in the freezer will also prevent rancidity and kill all pests in about 4 days of storage. White flour can be in the freezer for up to 2 years and whole grain flour for about 1 year.
Generally speaking, when it comes to food storage, a freezer is an ideal option for long-term storage of any type of food, including flour.
So, if you have some excess flour or a large amount of flour and you want to extend the shelf life of flour, and above that have a large chest freezer, this option of freezing your flour could be ideal.
How To Defrost Frozen Flour?
When you have discovered the answer to the question of whether can you freeze flour and how to do it, you may have decided to freeze your flour for some time. And there will be a moment in which you will need to get out the bag of flour from the freezer for usage.
But before you use your cold flour for culinary purposes, you will need to thaw it properly. According to the USDA, the best defrosting method is to put flour (or any other food) in the refrigerator immediately from the freezer. It will take about 24 hours to thaw in the refrigerator with no side effects.
There is also an option to thaw it at room temperature for about 4 hours if you are in a hurry and you have to use that flour quickly. But before baking, you will have to mix it with other ingredients.
Is There A Way To Tell If Flour Has Gone Bad?
Yes, there is a way to tell if your flour has gone bad. The best way to determine that is to smell it. Fresh flour smells neutral. On the other hand, flour that has gone bad smells off. That means it can be stale, musty, or sour.
Also, if it has come in contact with moisture or water, mold or big clumps may appear. Natural oils within the flour can cause its rancidity. The same signs of spoilage apply to pancake mix or any other food with flour-like consistency.
But there is also a problem with a pest infestation caused by weevils. Weevils are pests in the flour. So, you need to be extra careful because these things that can lead to flour spoilage.
So now you know that you actually can freeze flour and you know how to properly do it without any consequences. Besides answering whether can you freeze flour, I also tried my best to answer some other important questions related to storing flour in general.
So, with this knowledge and with the listed equipment you need, I am sure that you will be able to properly freeze or store your flour, while at the same time ensuring it remains fresh and ready to cook new bakery treats.