Flour is a household kitchen essential. The majority of families will have a bag of flour stored in the back of their cupboard, even if they do not use it to bake or cook often. It is a useful cooking ingredient to have, especially when you are baking cookies or need to thicken up a sauce.
Although flour does have a good shelf life, the longer a bag has been opened when it is not properly sealed, the quicker it can become rancid. If you do not use flour often and find yourself throwing away half-used bags, there may be a solution to your problem.
Have you ever considered freezing flour?
While to some people this may be unheard of, did you know that freezing flour is a great thing to do? For certain flours, such as wheat flour it is often recommended! This is because it will significantly prolong its shelf life.
In this article, we will be discussing how to safely freeze flour and the factors you should consider before freezing it. We will also be discussing the best way to defrost flour too.
How To Freeze Flour?
Freezing flour is a fairly simple process. The most important thing to remember is to store your flour in an airtight container. If the flour is not frozen correctly and is exposed to moisture from the freezer, this can cause your flour to go rancid due to its small fat content.
To freeze the flour, you will need to take it out of the packaging you purchased it in. Usually, flour comes in a paper bag which is useless to freeze because the packaging is not waterproof. We would recommend pouring the flour into a container with a lid that can be securely shut. Alternatively, you can buy a bag that can be fully sealed.
As flour is not a liquid, you do not need to worry about separating it into smaller amounts. You can freeze the contents of the whole bag together if you wish to. We would recommend taking as much air out of the container as possible before freezing to help preserve the flour.
Freezing the flour will extend the shelf life significantly, but we would still recommend keeping a note on the container of the date you froze the flour. The amount of time the flour can remain in the freezer before it can no longer be used will vary depending on the type of flour you have purchased.
How To Defrost Flour?
Defrosting flour is surprisingly an easy task. As flour is frozen when it is solid, you do not have to worry about it clumping together and forming one chunk of flour. You will still be able to scoop out the required amount you need.
While you can defrost all of the flour at once, we would recommend only defrosting the amount of flour you need at one given time. This will ensure that your flour is lasting for as long as possible.
When you have taken your flour out of the freezer, you will want it to reach room temperature before you use it. If you use very cold or frozen flour in a recipe it can affect your cooking times drastically. This is particularly true for baked goods such as cakes, cookies, or bread. Whatever you cook may not cook correctly if you do not allow your flour enough time to defrost.
If you are cooking food that requires you to use chilled flour, however, you will not need to wait for the flour to reach room temperature.
Flour is safe to use when it is still cold and will not make you ill. Though it can affect your cooking times and bakes goods rising. This is why it is best to wait for it to reach room temperature before using.
Things To Consider Before Freezing Flour
While freezing and defrosting flour is a fairly simple task, there are some things that you should consider before doing this.
As mentioned above, moisture can cause the flour to turn rancid quickly. Given this, you will want to make sure that your flour is completely sealed and free of moisture before freezing. This will help to prolong its shelf life date.
Type of flour
The type of flour that you are freezing is important to remember. The type of flour will greatly affect how long the flour can be frozen. Here is a rough guide of how long different types of flour can be left in the freezer before they are no longer safe to consume:
- All-purpose flour - 2 years
- Whole wheat flour - 1 year
- Oat flour - 6 months
- Barley flour - 4 months
Although this is not a full list and there are many other types of flours you can freeze, you can see that the freezing times do differ. The more fat that the flour contains, the quicker it will turn rancid.
While freezing is a great way of slowing down the deterioration process of flour, it will still inevitably happen. This is why we would always recommend writing the dates that you froze the flour clearly on the packaging before freezing.
Unfortunately, some pests can work their way into flour. While this is not something that is a nice thought, freezing the flour can help to prevent this issue.
By storing the flour in the freezer, it is safe from any potential pests. In addition to this, if there are pests present in the flour when you purchase it, it will kill any eggs or bugs. We would not recommend using flour that you think is contaminated, however.
We hope that this article has helped you to learn the best way to freeze and defrost flour. As you can see it is so easy and simple to do.
If freezing flour is something that you have not previously considered doing, we would highly recommend it. Not only does it prolong the shelf life of your flour, but it will also help to prevent moisture and pests from affecting it too.