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Jun 1, 2009 08:09 PM

Does flour go stale?

I made a layer cake this weekend using cake flour that is a year old. The cake tasted fine the first day but now has a stale taste. The recipe has a high egg/flour ratio, could it be the eggs sitting at room temp (in Seattle not very high) that have given it the stale taste?

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    1. Definitely it goes stale.

      1. Your flour bag is stamped with a "use by" date. That's a freshness time period.
        I always store my flour in the freezer until I'm ready to pour it into the canister. Once it's in the canister it doesn't last long enough to get stale.

        1. It's more likely the flour that gave the cake a stale flavor. Eggs should be fine at room temperature for several hours, and in fact, it's preferable to bake with room temperature rather than cold eggs. Try storing your flour in the freezer in a sealed ziploc bag to protect if from absorbing flavors. That way, if you aren't a frequent baker, it should keep longer than at room temperature.

          1. Technically speaking, the oil (from the germ) goes rancid. Shelf life depends on factors like the grinding temperature, storage temperature and type of flour (white flour has a longer shelf life than whole wheat). One year is pushing it for cake flour, especially if it was stored at room temperature.

            1 Reply
            1. re: carswell


              Ding, Ding, Ding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have a winnah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              Yep, it goes rancid over time, much like any grain product (including cereal and pasta and of course seeds and nuts do as well ) or any product containing oil.

              I've got a cup left of a pound or so of off flour I;ve been trying to use up, but it's rancid nature beams thru in almost any application.

              Heat tends to have the most affect. Then air, meaning store your flour in glass sealed containers ,as plastic, no matter the composition, is porous in some nature, meaning it's breathable /air permeable for most part(not all of course) just via osmosis.

              Freezer helps extend its life(but with an undocumented affect to quality), but if you go thru that little flour, then I'd suggest buying in smaller portions.