The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storing flour

  • Pin It
Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Storing flour

I currently use dedicated vacuum bags from the FoodSaver system to store flours.

But it can be a disincentive to go to all the trouble of cutting off the top and struggling to re-insert a bulky bag of flour just to take out a handful to coat the board. I'm not lazy but have arthritis which makes that kind of thing awkward.

Yet the integrity of my raw ingredients is important to me :-)

I sometimes worry alternately that the FoodSaver's airtightness is too good; or not enough!

Is there a set of jars, canisters etc that does the job just as well, please - or even better?

Ideally with space for labels, presumably with just the right amount of seal.

Above all, accessible and easy to use.

I don't mind buying the best; but obviously it'd be better if five or six such storage items didn't cost the earth.

TIA for any suggestions, brand names, sites - for storage best practice.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Mark,

What kind of flour, how much flour and for how long do you want to store it?

Jeff

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, Jeff.

Half a dozen 2 to 5 lbs bags (KAF, Bob's Red Mill etc) bread flour.

For weeks or months not years.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Bread flour (aka white flour) will store well under most conditions.  Like many things, cool and dry is best.  Avoid high heat and humidity and you will be fine.  Flour bugs are always a concern so make certain that your container is relatively airtight.  Glass jars work just fine.  Bugs often come in with the flour so keeping them "in" if they hatch is as much of a concern as keeping them out.

Whole wheat flour is another story as it has a much shorter shelf life than white flour.

Jeff

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Jeff,

Thanks so much!

What I'm hoping that someone here will suggest is an actual product, brand, website address with a specific name of container, please. For the various types (white/bread and whole) of bread flour: I'm finding vacuum-sealded bags a nuisance.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

At home I use empty glass one gallon jars with screw on lids.  I find that this works well as they are easy to fill, easy to see how much is in the jar and easy to empty.  I cannot help with any specific product as I simply do not know.

Jeff

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Anyone else able to recommend a specific brand of storage for bread flour, please?

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Donkey_hot

That looks like a good product for the purpose.

Is air-tightness important?

I know that my FoodSaver bags are 100% sealed.

Assuming I use flour often, is vacuum vital?

Donkey_hot's picture
Donkey_hot

I wouldn't worry about vacuum...

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Donkey_hot,

I wouldn't worry about vacuum...

No? I guess you see crocks, hoppers and jars of flour on shelves everywhere!

Doesn't vacuum prolong flour's life, though?

Or can it actually be counter-productive even?

bob13's picture
bob13

I use a Sterilite* 6 qt plastic containers for my flour storage.  It fits nicely in the spare fridge I keep my flour in, snap lid is air tight, keep bugs in/out if there are any.  They are stackable and when I arrange the shelves in the fridge make a nice tidy storage system.  Clear so I can see my inventory, and food safe per them, but I keep flour in the bag inside the container anyway.  My everyday flour is taken out a day or two before I need it to warm to room temp, but since I like to buy local organic ground flour it does not store well out of the fridge (no preservatives or additives in it).  Hope this helps.  Amazon around $26 for 12 boxes.  

 

 

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, bob13.

They're very reasonably-priced here on Amazon (is that the one you use?)

And just the right height at 4¾" for a 4" 5 lb (KAF) bag; though it'd have to be on its side.

But don't always seem to stay in tact!

Is vacuuming flour overkill, though?

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I have several Sterlite containers that I use for a variety of storage needs, but for flour I prefer the Cambro RFS6PPSW2190 6-Quart Round Food-Storage Container with Lid, Set of 2. They hold a 5# bags* of flour with plenty of room. For 3# bags, I use the 4qt version.

Since they are graduated, they make fine proofing buckets, too.

Re vacuum packing: I don't think it's overkill if you want to do it, but it's not necessary.

cheers,

gary

* The references I've seen, including the Gold Medal flour bag, say 5# is roughly17 cups, or 4¼qts.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, Gary!

I have the Cambro proofing buckets :-)

Even the 1 quart seems to be big enough for a 5Lb, which is <10" x 6" x 4".

Though you're suggesting buying a larger one and storing more than one bag in it, aren't you?

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

5 lbs of flour have a volume of a little more than one gallon, 4¼ quarts. The 6 qt container will allow you to replenish once you get low, without overflowing the container. Believe me, a one quart container will not hold 5# of flour.

gary

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Your advice much appreciated, gary!

pongze's picture
pongze

Foodsaver makes plastic containers compatible with their systems.  No more cutting and resealing bags, just put the lid back on and vacuum.  You can find them on Amazon, although I got a set from Costco several years ago.  I haven't seen them there since, though.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Yes; thanks, pongee - I have the FS model with the hose.

But is vacuuming actually necessary?

bob13's picture
bob13

I really do not know if vacuuming is necessary or not.  Mine is never around all that long.  With all respect to we bakers, if anyone is concerned that their supplies are too old, IMO, they need to do two things.  First-throw out the old and buy new.  Second-buy in quantities that will be used in a reasonable length of time.  Why take a chance with our time and ingredients to make a wonderful home made product with anything less than the best we can get?  The "old ways" did not have the storage we have today, nor did they have the preservative methods we have, hence "sour dough" and hardtack came to be.  

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks bob13!

I particularly like your point that the old ways didn't have vacuum sealing.

There's also a third thing we should do: bake more bread!

bonnibakes's picture
bonnibakes

Because I live in a warm, humid climate (Florida) I frequently vacuum seal flour in half gallon glass canning jars. Your Food Saver has a round attachment that vacuum seals "wide mouth" jars. The beauty is that the lids can be reused many times if you don't rip them off, but rather gently release the air lock by slowly lifting up a side with a thin blade. Ace Hardware frequently has specials where you can order a case on line and pick it up at their store, thereby avoiding expensive shipping costs. This works for any size "wide mouth" canning jar.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

bonnibakes, for your suggestion.

I'd use the FoodSaver (in this new mode: I have already been vacuum-sealing (their) bags) if I thought vacuums were really necessary.

I'm beginning to think only air-tighness counts?

Your help appreciated!