The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What those strands in my rye flour?

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nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

What those strands in my rye flour?

Hi,


I've never seen those strands in my flour. Are they harmless or a sign of a parassite in action? Should i drop the flour?


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Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You might want to sift the flour before using or make more vollkornbrot.  I would use it up before buying more.  Store in a very cool or frozen place.  :)

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

I think is not added proteins, I saw this in my organic whole wheat/rye flour and these are just straight flours.


EDIT: now I have understood ... I have to re-sync my brain on english language, so that I can understand a simple joke!

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

I also saw this in some of my "whole" flours. What's that? Mildew? 

noonesperfect's picture
noonesperfect

That looks like bug activity.  There are quite a number of threads (pardon the pun) on this site regarding how to deal with flour that has bugs.  Many people simply freeze the flour to kill off the bugs and their eggs, and then sift the flour before using to remove the evidence.


I buy cheap flour from Costco, so I would throw away anything I was uncomfortable with.  I'm too lazy to freeze and sift the stuff.


 


brad

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

what remains if I sift whole rye flour? ;(

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

As to how much remains.  The threads look like the webs of tiny moth like bugs.  Frozen flour sometimes attracts moisture as you sift, gumming up the works.  You could sift first then freeze or put each flour into an airtight container and sift as needed.  Throw the little critters outside to the birds and not in your indoor trash can where they can crawl out. 


They are very prominent this time of year.  I put phermone moth traps out before Christmas and catch a few sneaking into the house.  They can not only fly in but come in with flour, dried pet food, bird seed, noodles and cereal and spread if there are too many open packages not stored in air tight containers.  Also when you clean out the cupboard, don't forget to inspect the edges of shelves and use a vacuum on holes for adjustable shelves and all the cracks.  They tend to crawl out of packages and go upwards looking for nooks and crannies to hide while they wrap themselves in cocoons.  They then come out, mate, and lay eggs.  If you see anything bigger than a tiny fruit fly flying about your rooms this time of year in the northern latitudes, it is sure sign to go check the cupboards.  Just gently rolling the packages will dust and reveal these threads of activity if something is going on.  Dust piles on the shelves is also a sign of invasion. 


Mini

ehanner's picture
ehanner

When I see these threads, I take it as a sign that it is time to replace my flours. I'm pretty sure the heat of baking would eliminate any unwanted bugs that have hatched in the flour but we know whole grain flours have a short life.I have also removed the top inch or so of flour and upon not finding any further evidence of threads, forged ahead with the days bake.


I make a point of putting all the fresh ground flours I get and any other whole ground flours in the freezer for a couple weeks. I usually remove a 1 gallon Zip Lock bag full of the flour I need and let it warm up on the counter overnight.


There are a lot of living things around us. Some we see, some we don't. I have read that there more living organisms in each of our gut than there are people on the Earth. Think of them as flavor enhancers:>))


Eric

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

well, I tightly sifted it and I discovered  I had to drop 1/10 of the weight (and maybe half of the taste) in bran, my beloved bran!


In any case to be sure I made a biggish rye bread, consuming 2/3 of the packet of the flour.

DownStateBaker's picture
DownStateBaker

That seems to be evidence that the flour has been at room temperature for a while. If it's a whole flour than all the flavor oils have probably gone rancid. Keep whole flours at refrigerated temps to add to their shelf life. IMHO whole flours get a stale flavor well before their exp. date so I keep them in the fridge. If I know I am not going to be using it for a very long time or that I want to use it every now and then over a long period of time I keep it in the freezer.


Tom Georgalas

serifm's picture
serifm

What you are seeing is the result of infestation in your flour by Indian meal moths. The larvae spin the webs that you are seeing. Thiese moths are small [about 1/4" or less] grey creatures which can be seel fluttering around your kitchen. The larvae are cream colored worms/caterpillars.  While they won't hurt you if you eat them I personally find it not appetizing in spite of the fact that they probably add a bit of protein to your bread. I would throw out the flour, examine all other flours and baked goods containing flour. They get into spaghetti, crackers, all sorts of mixes, etc. I recommend the pheromome bait traps, though a thorough clearing out of your pantry is probably essential. We have had problems with these, and it really pays to keep on top ot it!


 


Sally


 

celestica's picture
celestica

These are moth strands...we used to call them weevils when we were growing up.


If you want to save the flour, freeze it then sift, it will be fine.


Clear out all your cupboards of anything they could eat, it is surely contaminated.  Freeze what you want to keep (depending upon your bug tolerance) and throw out the rest.


They can come to your house from the bulk bin of any store....agree with the previous post, keep on top of it.  Clear, freeze, and stay away from the bulk bin for awhile.


Good luck,


Celeste.


 


 


 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I dropped all of it.
I'm accustomed to keep everything in closed cellophane bags and all packets separated.
I hope it's enough and that those bugs won't spread in my kitchen ;(

serifm's picture
serifm

Unfortunately, they can and will eat holes in cellophane as well as cardboard and almost any packaging material except for glass, metal and hard plastic.


 


Sally


 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I'm really frightened, I can't stand this kind of nightmare ;(


I inspected carefully all that was in the same room and I didn't find anything strange, but if there are eggs... I don't want to think of it.


Time will tell. Keep the fingers crossed for me.

serifm's picture
serifm

No need to be frightened. They don't bite. It's just sort of yucky. This may be limited to nothing but the rye flour, but you really should inspect the items in your pantry, too.


 


Sally


 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

For future reference you can put bay leaves in with your flour and grains to keep these little visitors away.


Jeff

roguerider73's picture
roguerider73

I've been a reader of this site for several months and just love it. I'm learning so much from everyone, thank you. Now I can add something I have learned.


I had a huge outbreak of these moths, ending with opening every boxed or bagged item I had in the cupboards and found the webs in just about everything. Really gross I have to say. I was told by a local Pest Control expert that I would have to throw out all the food and hang moth balls in the cabinets. I couldn't afford to through out food and there was no way I was going to hang moth balls in the kitchen and contaminate all the food. So I went to a local lumber supply store and bought an Incense Cedar Closet liner kit. It had about 20 Incense Cedar boards that were 3 to 4 feet long. I cut these up into 12 in. lengths and put 2 in each cupboard and 1 in each drawer in the house. Total cost about $20. Within 2 weeks the moths were gone and it's been almost a year since the infestation.


Once in a while I will open a cupboard that I haven't used in a few days and a faint smell of cedar is present. A lovely smell when compared to moth balls and a whole lot healthier.


Good luck and happy baking!


Justin