The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole wheat flour freshness

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sybram's picture
sybram

Whole wheat flour freshness

I've read recently on TFL that whole wheat flour goes rancid quickly after opening.  Because of this I am a little suspicious of whats left of my year old 50# bag of ww.  I dipped out a cup full and gave it the sniff test.  Honest to Pete, I don't smell anything untoward--in fact, really no smell at all.  Absolutely no off or rancid smell.  The flour has been in a plastic, air tight tub in my pantry, probably never over 75º.  Please advise.


Syb

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

It's most likely still good...not that fresh but still good to bad the nice fresh wheaty smell is gone.  I would use it up right away. 

sybram's picture
sybram

Thanks Sylvia.  I'm working on it.  I won't have a chance to bake before next Wednesday, but I'm planning to do the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf that Dolf shared.


Oh heck, I got my credits wrong.  I'm making Dolf's Multigrain Oatmeal Sandwich Bread and Jmonkey's Buttermilk Bread w/Biga.  There's so many of you great bakers, it makes my head spin.


Syb

sewcial's picture
sewcial

Syb, From what I've learned here, the wheat can lose a bit of its nutritional value, but will be still better than white flour as long as it smells fresh. As long as you are in a good climate and it was stored well, it is probably fine. If in doubt, you could add a little of gluten to be sure of a good rise. I did find that helpful once when I had some wheat grains that were a few years old.


I have a funny story about old flour, though.


When I was about 14 (mid 1950s), my brothers and 2 friends went on a week long canoe trip where one disaster after another caused them to be very hungry boys (so hungry they even tried to eat a crow one day). On the day they were to arrive home, I wanted to bake bread. My mother told me I should make whole wheat since there was a bag of wh. wht flour in the back of the cupboard that needed to be used before it got any older. Well, we lived in Florida, did not have air conditioning so the humidity was great. On top of that my mother has always had sinus problems and a very poor sense of smell. As soon as I opened that bag, I nearly gagged from the musty odor. I didn't want to use it, but she insisted it was fine and we should not waste food. All during the mixing, rising, baking I smelled that musty moldy odor and I determined I would not take a bite of that bread. I finally convinced my mother that it would not be fit to eat and she agreed I could throw it away.


About that time, the 4 dirty boys burst in the door, whooped loudly at the sight of freshly baked bread. I didn't say a word and both loaves disappeared within a half hour. To this day I don't know if they realize they ate musty flour, but they thought it was a king's feast. That's what I call hungry!


 


Catherine

sybram's picture
sybram

I love your story.  It sounds so much like my household.  I have four sons, and they love home made bread (or anything else, for that matter).  They're all grown now, and have given me twenty-two grands.  I'm going to try to concentrate on whole grains for a while.

sewcial's picture
sewcial

Congrats!  We had 4 children and now have 9 grands with the 10th due soon. They all love my bread when they visit and, when possible I take supplies along to bake at their houses. Wish they lived locally.


P.s. on the story. None of the boys got sick and all 4 are still alive.


Catherine