Flour storage


Lee_C

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I bought a new container for my plain (all purpose) flour but was wondering if I should leave the flour in the bag and put the bag in the container (which is what I've been doing) or just pour the flour out of the bag. The reason I ask is because I didn't realize flour can go rancid. I've got my remaining flour with expiry date october 2020 and a new bag expires Jan 2021. If I pour them both into the same container, I'll end up with expired flour mixed with unexpired flour.

What do you recommend?
20200213_171832.jpg
 
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retired baker

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I bought a new container for my plain (all purpose) flour but was wondering if I should leave the flour in the bag and put the bag in the container (which is what I've been doing) or just pour the flour out of the bag. The reason I ask is because I didn't realize flour can go rancid. I've got my remaining flour with expiry date october 2020 and a new bag expires Jan 2021. If I pour them both into the same container, I'll end up with expired flour mixed with unexpired flour.

What do you recommend?
View attachment 2770
I had a 100 lb bag in the back end of my van to help with traction in the snow, come summer it was rancid, very bitter taste. First in, first out, fifo. When it goes bad you really know it, dreadfully bitter.
 

MixUp

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I bought a new container for my plain (all purpose) flour but was wondering if I should leave the flour in the bag and put the bag in the container (which is what I've been doing) or just pour the flour out of the bag. The reason I ask is because I didn't realize flour can go rancid. I've got my remaining flour with expiry date october 2020 and a new bag expires Jan 2021. If I pour them both into the same container, I'll end up with expired flour mixed with unexpired flour.

What do you recommend?
View attachment 2770
Would you pour your new milk into the same pitcher as your old milk? White flour has had a lot of the perishable components extracted, so it has a relatively long shelf life, but it's still fresh produce same as any other produce picked from plants on a farm. It goes bad just like corn, cabbage, and tomatoes. You don't want to mix them together if you want it to stay fresher longer, unless you plan on using both up by the time it matters, in which case you should be fine either way.

Whole wheat on the other hand, ignore what the bag says. You have days, maybe weeks after the milling date before it goes rancid. It may not be dangerous, but it's not very tasty. Whole wheat contains the germ which is mostly oil (and is most of where wheat's flavor and nutrients are). Just like any food oil, if you leave it out once exposed to oxygen, it's going to turn rancid!
 

Lee_C

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I had a 100 lb bag in the back end of my van to help with traction in the snow, come summer it was rancid, very bitter taste. First in, first out, fifo. When it goes bad you really know it, dreadfully bitter.
Hah, great use of flour, I like it. :D


Would you pour your new milk into the same pitcher as your old milk? White flour has had a lot of the perishable components extracted, so it has a relatively long shelf life, but it's still fresh produce same as any other produce picked from plants on a farm. It goes bad just like corn, cabbage, and tomatoes. You don't want to mix them together if you want it to stay fresher longer, unless you plan on using both up by the time it matters, in which case you should be fine either way.

Whole wheat on the other hand, ignore what the bag says. You have days, maybe weeks after the milling date before it goes rancid. It may not be dangerous, but it's not very tasty. Whole wheat contains the germ which is mostly oil (and is most of where wheat's flavor and nutrients are). Just like any food oil, if you leave it out once exposed to oxygen, it's going to turn rancid!
Very good points! Ok, I've poured my old flour into a small glass container. and date labelled it. And emptied my new flour into the new large container and put a date label on it. 1.5kg fills it just over halfway. I possibly won't use enough flour before the latest best before date to justify buying more right now and filling it to the top.
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retired baker

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Hah, great use of flour, I like it. :D




Very good points! Ok, I've poured my old flour into a small glass container. and date labelled it. And emptied my new flour into the new large container and put a date label on it. 1.5kg fills it just over halfway. I possibly won't use enough flour before the latest best before date to justify buying more right now and filling it to the top.
View attachment 2771
Nice scale , I need a digital to deal with all the metric recipes I find.
I'm converting to metric...inch by inch.
 

Lee_C

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Nice scale , I need a digital to deal with all the metric recipes I find.
I'm converting to metric...inch by inch.
Haha, inch by inch. I'm the same, I still prefer thinking in inches to centimetres.

Yeah, the scales are awesome, they also display the room temperature which can be quite useful.

These are the scales I have.

https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Digital-Multifunction-Removable-Temperature/dp/B00UIVIXVO/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2LSL9FIJVH5P8&keywords=etekcity+kitchen+scale&qid=1581804367&sprefix=Etekcity+kitc,aps,299&sr=8-5
 
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MixUp

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I've been going through and converting recipes to a new format like I'm making a cookbook, and putting everything in average metric and imperial weights. Even things like cinnamon and yeast. It makes life so much easier not dealing with volumetric measuring for anything. It takes a lot of time looking up weights by ingredient though. And you need two scales. A high res scale for the small powders that usually only goes up to a pound, so it's for ingredient bowls only, and then the more standard scale for for mixer bowls and flour and the like.

It's like a long term mise en place overkill. But it's lovely when it all works!
 

retired baker

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Haha, inch by inch. I'm the same, I still prefer thinking in inches to centimetres.

Yeah, the scales are awesome, they also display the room temperature which can be quite useful.

These are the scales I have.

https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Digital-Multifunction-Removable-Temperature/dp/B00UIVIXVO/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2LSL9FIJVH5P8&keywords=etekcity+kitchen+scale&qid=1581804367&sprefix=Etekcity+kitc,aps,299&sr=8-5
Wow $20, I'm on it. And you get a bowl to boot. !
I have an old cast iron balance beam scale leftover from my bakery but its too big and heavy.
It goes down to 1/8th ounce but I usually don't bother weighing amounts that small, I revert to just a pinch.
The high end goes up to 7lb but I don't deal in amounts that big any more so I really don't need it.
I'll probably lean and paint it and sell it, new ones are $300.
20200215_184157 (1).jpg
 

MixUp

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They still sell new ones?! Wow! I have one of those around as well, though one or two weights wandered somewhere. I never use it, but it has a great deal of sentimental value.
 

Lee_C

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@ retired baker, yep, only $20, it's a good price and 2 year guarantee. :) Customer is excellent too. The one I bought developed some scratches on the screen and they just sent me a new one. Your cast iron scale looks amazing, a real classic piece of hardware built to last.


It makes life so much easier not dealing with volumetric measuring for anything. It takes a lot of time looking up weights by ingredient though.
I've been meaning to ask about volumetric measurement on this forum, perhaps you and retired baker can help me.

I always measure ingredients in grams and always look for recipes that specifically state grams.
But there are many youtube recipes from the US which I want to bake from that only give cup measurements which I struggle with. It wouldn't be a problem if I know a cup of flour is a specific amount of grams. The thing is, I keep seeing differing amounts. For example, one site will say a cup of flour is 125g, another site says its 128, another says it's 150g and so on. And I've seen this with other ingredients. So, why does there not appear to be a standard amount for cup measurements and how can I bake accurately if I don't know how much a cup, 1/2 a cup, 3/4 cup, 2 cups, actually is? :confused: I've got a set of metal cups that were given to me. Should I just not worry about grams and if something says 1 cup of flour, just go ahead and fill that cup?
 

MixUp

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@ retired baker, yep, only $20, it's a good price and 2 year guarantee. :) Customer is excellent too. The one I bought developed some scratches on the screen and they just sent me a new one. Your cast iron scale looks amazing, a real classic piece of hardware built to last.




I've been meaning to ask about volumetric measurement on this forum, perhaps you and retired baker can help me.

I always measure ingredients in grams and always look for recipes that specifically state grams.
But there are many youtube recipes from the US which I want to bake from that only give cup measurements which I struggle with. It wouldn't be a problem if I know a cup of flour is a specific amount of grams. The thing is, I keep seeing differing amounts. For example, one site will say a cup of flour is 125g, another site says its 128, another says it's 150g and so on. And I've seen this with other ingredients. So, why does there not appear to be a standard amount for cup measurements and how can I bake accurately if I don't know how much a cup, 1/2 a cup, 3/4 cup, 2 cups, actually is? :confused: I've got a set of metal cups that were given to me. Should I just not worry about grams and if something says 1 cup of flour, just go ahead and fill that cup?
That's actually a much more complicated question than it might seem! Volumetric is the world's worst measuring system for powders....the only reason it persisted so long is that accurate scales were expensive and impractical for home use until the modern digital age, and by then, volumetric had been a standard since forever it's hard to get rid of. It works fine for liquid since nothing changes about it. A liquid filling a specific amount of volume in a cup will be the same everywhere no matter the liquid. But for powder, it's a mess.

The reasons for differing weights depending on where you look it up are compound. In some cases it's just a matter of who measured, and/or how they measured. Usually it's an average. But did they scoop, then level, then weigh? Sift, then level, then weigh? Did they take good averages? What flour did they use, etc?

The last one gets into the more complicated one specifically with flour that doesn't apply as much to, say, corn starch, or baking soda. What wheat/flour did they weigh? The weight even if the measurements were taken post-sifting, etc. properly will vary by wheat species, crop year, and flour milling process/composition. A hard red spring wheat won't have the same mass as a soft white winter wheat, for example even if it fills the same volume, and a hard red spring wheat grown in Des Moines won't have the same mass as a hard red spring wheat grown in Syracuse the same year. And 1998's crop in Syracuse won't have the same mass as the water-logged 2019's crop from Syracuse, so the year matters as well. So then you try to translate that to a crop grown in Yorkshire, of a whole different crop species, and who knows what its relative mass is?

When it comes to flour, it gets worse! For all purpose flour, different brands have very different compositions. In the US, it's further split by regional brands and what people there tend to bake most. So up North, you'll see mostly Gold Medal, King Arthur, Pillsbury. Among those three, they are all different. KA uses mostly hard red spring wheat high in protein, and is unbleached. At near 12% protein it's almost a bread flour more than AP flour and has higher mass on the scale than most AP flours. For theirs, you really have to go by their published weight conversion. It won't compare to most other brands. Then there's normal AP of which Gold Medal and Pillsbury fall into. Usually it's a 40-70% blend of soft and hard wheat species, making it truly "all purpose." On the other extreme, in the South you have popular brands like White Lily. It's sold as all purpose, but it's almost all soft wheat and at its low, low protein actually puts it in cake flour land! I'm not sure how or why they even sell that as AP flour, but they do. Why? The most common baked thing in the South is going to be biscuits (the baking powder leavened bread rolls, not the UK meaning of "biscuits" that would be called cookies - though coincidentally that's another good use of such soft flours!)

So after all that...if you're looking at a recipe calling for "3 cups AP flour - sifted" from the US, you're going to have quite a time trying to figure out the actual mass of flour! Without knowing the brand of flour (the recipes never say), or at least the region of the author, it gets very confusing. Did they sift at all? How did they level their cup? What brand of flour did they use? You can't use the same brand, so it's a different mix, but even approximating the brand might help. But even if you approximate hard vs. soft etc, the local wheats are all different. Italian wheats are all hard, hard hard. Everything they use is "durum or harder", ground extremely fine. Even what they use for pastry is hard. Their wheat growing is mostly at high altitude. French flours are all soft. Even what they use for bread is on the soft end of wheat. US and UK tend to have more similar wheat conditions due to a similar growing climate in most areas, so it's actually a little more equivalent than trying to convert recipes from Italy or France - assuming the flour you're using uses UK-grown wheat. If any of the grain is from France or Scandinavia, who knows what the blend is. Even across North America, Canadian wheat tends to average harder and higher in protein than US grown wheat, while Mexican wheat tends to be soft, and low protein. Temperatures and rainfall are a huge factor.

So all that brings us to the fact that it's not actually possible to get a real direct conversion to weights from a volumetric recipe. And technically even identically matching the volume won't give you the same result with a different flour. The only way to really go about it is pick a brand of flour you usually stick with and find out their own weight by volume (even if you have to buy a US measuring cup to come up with your own average mass.) From there just do a direct conversion (eg. if you come up with your brand being about 110g per US cup, just start there and learn from a few recipes if you think you're using too much or too little flour, and adjust your numbers from there. It's imperfect, and trial and error stinks, but in reality, even if a recipe someone came up with in Alabama told yo to use 365g of flour, you'd have to experiment anyway. They flour they probably used is probably more like pastry flour, and your AP would perform very differently!
 
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Lee_C

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MixUp, that's a very comprehensively detailed reply, thank you for taking the time! I've learned a lot from reading what you said. You really know your stuff! :eek:

"The most common baked thing in the South is going to be biscuits (the baking powder leavened bread rolls, not the UK meaning of "biscuits" that would be called cookies - though coincidentally that's another good use of such soft flours!)" Interesting, it's weird to me thinking of bread rolls as called biscuits, given that a biscuit to me is something crispy that snaps and crumbles. Kind of like 'pants'. In the US, pants are trousers, and in the UK, pants are underpants. And chips in the US are what we call crisps, and chips in the UK are fries. :D

Fortunately I've been lucky enough to find recipes that use grams, and the US youtube recipe site I use a lot is joyofbaking, she uses cup measurements but always gives the weight in grams as well.

This is a photo of cups I have with weight measurements imprinted on. I guess those are just measurements for liquids, right?

20191223_023556.jpg
 

retired baker

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MixUp, that's a very comprehensively detailed reply, thank you for taking the time! I've learned a lot from reading what you said. You really know your stuff! :eek:

"The most common baked thing in the South is going to be biscuits (the baking powder leavened bread rolls, not the UK meaning of "biscuits" that would be called cookies - though coincidentally that's another good use of such soft flours!)" Interesting, it's weird to me thinking of bread rolls as called biscuits, given that a biscuit to me is something crispy that snaps and crumbles. Kind of like 'pants'. In the US, pants are trousers, and in the UK, pants are underpants. And chips in the US are what we call crisps, and chips in the UK are fries. :D

Fortunately I've been lucky enough to find recipes that use grams, and the US youtube recipe site I use a lot is joyofbaking, she uses cup measurements but always gives the weight in grams as well.

This is a photo of cups I have with weight measurements imprinted on. I guess those are just measurements for liquids, right?

View attachment 2774
With youtube I can find anything in weight measures, I don't use books with volume measures.
 
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MixUp

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MixUp, that's a very comprehensively detailed reply, thank you for taking the time! I've learned a lot from reading what you said. You really know your stuff! :eek:

"The most common baked thing in the South is going to be biscuits (the baking powder leavened bread rolls, not the UK meaning of "biscuits" that would be called cookies - though coincidentally that's another good use of such soft flours!)" Interesting, it's weird to me thinking of bread rolls as called biscuits, given that a biscuit to me is something crispy that snaps and crumbles. Kind of like 'pants'. In the US, pants are trousers, and in the UK, pants are underpants. And chips in the US are what we call crisps, and chips in the UK are fries. :D

Fortunately I've been lucky enough to find recipes that use grams, and the US youtube recipe site I use a lot is joyofbaking, she uses cup measurements but always gives the weight in grams as well.

This is a photo of cups I have with weight measurements imprinted on. I guess those are just measurements for liquids, right?

View attachment 2774

Colloquial language is a fun thing. I grew up with BBC and converse with a number of Brits and Aussies, so I have the unfortunate habit of dropping in an out of different colloquialisms without realizing it. It could be worse. Scottish could be involved. :eek:

Those measuring cups are interesting. I'm going to guess they're metric cups. Probably good for liquid volume and solid volume. But metric cups aren't the same as imperial cups. Speaking of colloquial anachronisms I guess people call them US cups rather than imperial these days :confused: You can get conversion values for metric cups to US cups, but if you're trying to use a US recipe measured only in volume, you'd make life a lot easier just importing or finding a specialty shop that has actual US cups! Still doesn't solve trying to actually use cups of any measure. Nothing is more infuriating than trying to level a powder in a little metal cup.
 

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