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Flour for Pie--How long will an open bag that's been refrigerated last?

DaisyM Nov 19, 2012 05:57 AM

I have an open bag that has been stored within a sealed plastic bag for months. Can I use it? It is King Arthur.

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  1. t
    tzurriz RE: DaisyM Nov 19, 2012 06:06 AM

    It should be fine. I store my flour for months in sealed containers out of the fridge. I buy it in 50lb sacks and it takes me about 6 months to work through one.

    1. j
      janniecooks RE: DaisyM Nov 19, 2012 01:38 PM

      Just take a sniff--if the flour is off (rancid) your nose will know. (But I agree with tzurris - six months shouldn't be too long.)

      1. hotoynoodle RE: DaisyM Nov 19, 2012 01:39 PM

        "months" as in 6 or more like 36?

        flour can go rancid, but if it's been well-sealed and is less than 6 months old it should be fine. give it a whiff.

        btw, i store all flours in the freezer.

        8 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle
          FrankJBN RE: hotoynoodle Nov 19, 2012 02:00 PM

          I think something has to go wrong for flour to go rancid. I very seldom bake, flour lasts me forever, figuratively speaking, in my pantry unrefrigerated.

          1. re: FrankJBN
            John Francis RE: FrankJBN Nov 19, 2012 02:10 PM

            Likewise - but whole wheat flour can spoil.

            1. re: FrankJBN
              janniecooks RE: FrankJBN Nov 20, 2012 01:29 AM

              I don't know how long flour must sit in your pantry to be rancid, but I do know that it does go rancid. Not just whole wheat but bleached or unbleached white flour as well--in fact any flour, whether wheat or not. Flours definitely do not last "forever".

              I have tasted baked goods made by others with rancid flour and I can tell in the first bite, which all I can tolerate. Perhaps some folks' senses of taste and/or smell are less sensitive than others. In any event, rancid flour is good only for the trash bin, so I make a habit of sniffing my flour each time I use it. It would be humiliating to serve someone food made from rancid ingredients.

              1. re: janniecooks
                John Francis RE: janniecooks Nov 20, 2012 04:40 AM

                Maybe this is just about the choice of words, but for food to go rancid it has to contain fat or oil. The fatty acids in wheat germ are what can go rancid, but wheat germ has been removed from white flour - that's why it's white. "Without the germ, flour cannot become rancid," according to the Wikipedia article on flour. So if white flour does acquire an off taste, it has to be something else, doesn't it? I can't think what that might be, but maybe someone else here can say.

                1. re: John Francis
                  causeimhungry RE: John Francis Nov 20, 2012 05:26 AM

                  More like a stale taste to it.

                  1. re: causeimhungry
                    John Francis RE: causeimhungry Nov 20, 2012 09:57 AM

                    I just remembered. In Ruth Reichl's TV series, one program was with a baker of bread. They were doing baguettes, and he said he always uses old flour - didn't say how old, but it must have been significant or there'd have been no reason to say it.

                    1. re: John Francis
                      hotoynoodle RE: John Francis Nov 20, 2012 12:40 PM

                      "old" in a professional kitchen context has a whole different meaning than a 5-year-old bag of king arthur.

                      also this:


                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                        John Francis RE: hotoynoodle Nov 21, 2012 03:25 AM

                        What does "old flour" mean in a professional kitchen context? Details, please.

                        The Internet is full of contradictory information on all subjects, Who is Peter Johnson and what makes him an expert on everything to do with food storage? What use is an article that says, "Shelf life of flour depends on the kind of flour and there are many kinds of it. I won’t get into much detail here"? We need the detail, and we need it from a source we have reason to trust. Facts, not folklore.

                        Sorry if this comes across as rather sharp, but seriously, we're talking about whether to throw away a foodstuff that however old, may be perfectly good.

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