Bread flour, made from hard, high-protein wheat, boasts a higher gluten strength and protein content than all-purpose flour. With a protein content ranging from 12% to 14%, bread flour is a staple ingredient in various recipes, from cookies and cakes to, of course, bread. Bread itself was even used as currency by ancient Egyptians! Fun fact for the day.
So, how can you ensure the freshness and longevity of this essential ingredient? We have the best practices for storing bread flour right here for you!
How To Store Bread Flour
To keep bread flour (in fact, any kind of flour) fresh and at its best, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark pantry. Light exposure can lead to oxidation and increased heat, which may affect the flour’s quality. Ceramic or stoneware containers also work well for storing bread flour.
Be sure to protect the flour from moisture, which tends to mess with the texture, making it lumpy and hard to sift and use.
You can also store any flour in the refrigerator, as long as it is in a sealed container, so moisture does not get in. This may help increase the longevity of your flour, especially if you live in a warm and humid climate.
Can You Freeze Bread Flour?
If you have extra space in your freezer, it can be a perfect spot to keep flour fresh and rancidity-free! This is a great trick if you want to buy flour in bulk and keep it for an extended period of time. Plus, a few days in the freezer will kill any flour bugs and their eggs!
To freeze bread flour, it’s best to place it in an airtight, freezer-safe container or bag and make sure no moisture can get in. Be sure to label the container with the type of flour and date of freezing so you know when to use it. You can keep it there for up to 2 years, provided no moisture gets in. When thawed, bread flour should be used within a couple of weeks for best results.
How To Defrost Bread Flour
If you have frozen flour stored for an extended period, thaw it in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours to restore it to its original state without any adverse effects. Alternatively, you can let it thaw at room temperature for around 4 hours.
How Long Does Bread Flour Last?
The shelf life of store-bought bread flour will vary depending on where you decide to store it. In the pantry, it should be okay for 6-12 months. In the fridge, it should last one year; if frozen, it should last up to 2 years.
Hand-milled bread flour tends to have a slightly shorter shelf life and should really be kept in the fridge and used within a week.
How To Know When Bread Flour Is Rancid?
Figuring out if your bread flour is rancid can be done with a simple sniff test. Fresh flour typically has a neutral odor, while bad flour emits an off smell that can be described as stale, musty, or sour.
Discoloration is another warning sign to look out for, with any black or green mold spots showing if your flour has been exposed to water or moisture. If the flour appears yellow or gray, shows signs of mold growth, or has formed hard lumps due to moisture, time to throw it out.
Watch out for any insects or pests, such as weevils. They will look like little black dots in the flour. Gross fact: many flour bug eggs are present in the flour when you buy it at the supermarket and just hatch in your pantry! If you want to make sure that does not happen, freeze your flour for four days to kill anything before you use it.
Bread flour is better for bread as it contains a higher protein content, which promotes gluten formation and gives bread the desired bread rise. It also has better liquid absorption properties, allowing it to maintain its shape and rise vertically instead of spreading out.
Bread flour is the ultimate ally for your yeast-baked delights. Aside from bread, it makes a decent pizza crust, as well as scrolls and buns and donuts. You can try it with anything, really!
It is high in gluten, so it is unsuitable for gluten-sensitive individuals. Some brands are also processed with things like chlorine, so it is best to find a brand that is minimally processed.
The healthiest flours to make bread usually come from whole grains, such as rye, barley or spelt. Whole grain flours have more essential nutrients than white bread flour.