Are you a home baker that has recently started buying flour in bulk, or a bakery owner looking for ways to preserve the life of your flour? This blog is for you! Many customers have asked how best to preserve their organic flour and we’re here to answer with our best practices.
There are 3 main factors that can influence shelf life:
1) Access to oxygen
2) Warm temperatures (anything over 70 degrees Fahrenheit)
3) Sunlight which can degrade the nutrients after a long period of time
Humidity could be on this list as well, especially if you live in a particularly humid location. While humidity might not spoil your flour alone, it can certainly change its baking performance if the flour is able to absorb enough of the moisture in the air. This is especially important in southern states, or if your “cool” place is a basement.
First and most importantly, we reduce access to oxygen. We suggest that when you receive your flour, you immediately break it down into multiple Ziploc bags, or an airtight, food grade storage container. Now, we must give a disclaimer on the food grade, airtight containers – they are not all created equally! Many customers have purchased “airtight, food grade storage containers” off the internet and have had trouble preserving their flour. We have found that Ziploc bags work best and hold roughly five pounds of flour to a gallon bag. You can double bag them or put them in a Jumbo Ziploc for best results. If you go with a container look for a gasket seal if possible.
Now that you have separated your flour out and stored it in an airtight container, it’s time to tackle removing heat and sunlight. It is incredibly important to keep your flour in a clean, cool (70 degrees or less), dry location. It’s best to avoid direct sunlight, and hot spots in the kitchen like beside ovens, or on top of the refrigerator. Clean the area before storing your flour there and inspect it regularly (every 2 weeks or so) for unwanted activity.
Flour can also be refrigerated or frozen to further extend the shelf life, but be sure to pull it out 24 hours before using it so that it can come back to room temperature before baking with it. Cold flour could have an impact on your dough temperature and throw off your recipe.
It’s important to remember that our flours are 100% Certified Organic and therefore don’t contain any preservatives for years and years of stability. The shelf life of most of our flours are typically at least 100-180 days when stored as described here, but can be much longer when refrigerated or frozen (a year or more.)
With these tips, you will be on your way to preserving the life of your flour and enjoying your Lindley Mills, 100% Certified Organic flour for a long time to come!