Can you freeze flour? For many people, storing flour in the freezer is an effective means of preserving the quality and extending the shelf life of flour. If you want to become one of them, read on!
Flour is a pantry staple in many homes. All-purpose flour is still the go-to for many home cooks, but specialty flours such as gluten-free, whole-wheat, bread, and cake flours are gaining in popularity. Some of these flours have a shorter shelf life than all-purpose flour and will go rancid within months. Another concern for many households, especially in warmer climates, is the possibility for the flour to become infested with bugs.
All types of flour can be stored in the freezer. Typically, all-purpose flour will remain good on the shelf for up to 2 years after milling if unopened. The package should be stamped with a best-by date.
Once opened, all-purpose flour should be used within approximately one year. Whole wheat and specialty flours typically have shorter shelf lives, up to a few months when stored properly. The less-processed flours, such as whole wheat, contain more unsaturated oils which can turn rancid quickly.
All varieties of flour should be stored in clean, air-tight containers in a cool, dry location. Storing flour in the refrigerator or freezer can extend the shelf life of the product, up to about one year. Especially for specialty flours, which are more expensive and sometimes less frequently used, freezer storage is a good option. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze flour:
Image used under Creative Commons from Rebecca Siegel
How to Freeze Flour?
Freezing flour will kill any organisms or eggs that may be present in the product. Freezing times ranging from two weeks to six months are often recommended in warmer climates, where the bugs are most likely to hatch and infest the flour. Freezing flour will also keep it safe from bugs that could invade it if stored in a cabinet. If pests are a problem in your area, storing flour and other dry goods in the freezer may help prevent an infestation.
Before freezing flour, it should be tightly wrapped in a moisture-proof product, such as plastic freezer bags. Flour should never be frozen in its original paper packaging unless special care is taken to ensure the paper cannot get wet. Moisture will cause the flour to spoil.
An air-tight container should be used, for optimal storage. Flour can be frozen in large or small batches, depending on need. Because flour contains little to no moisture, it will not harden in the freezer, so you will be able to remove small quantities from a larger bag easily. Freezing will not affect the taste or texture of the flour.
How to Defrost Frozen Flour?
Generally speaking, once removed from the freezer, flour should be allowed to come to room temperature before using. Failure to allow it to come to room temperature could affect the texture of your food.
For example, using flour that is too cool may result in sticky bread dough, not appropriate for kneading. This, in turn, would require more flour, which affects the ultimate flavor and texture of the resulting bread. However, some cooks like to use chilled flour for pasty products such as pie crust, saying it results in a flakier texture.
Flour can still spoil in the freezer, and before using you should check your flour for freshness. A sour or rancid odor is a sign your flour is not still good to use. If the texture, odor, or flavor does not seem right, the flour should be discarded.
When it comes to freezing flour, the whole process is surprisingly quick and straightforward. But as long as you know the proper steps on how can you freeze flour, you can extend the shelf life of this cooking staple! So go ahead, freeze your excess flour to avoid waste.