The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

AP Flour went bad (?)- Is it safe?

Ryeblossom's picture

AP Flour went bad (?)- Is it safe?

I've never had this problem before. I smelled something bitter when I made the dough today, but only when I made a sort of flat bread, I realised there was something wrong with the flour. The flat bread was ready sooner, so I tasted it, and it was bitter. Not many ingredients went into it, the yeast smelled fine, I know I added enough salt (and either way it didn't taste like the salt was missing), and then I tasted the flour. Bitter. Horribly bitter. It doesn't smell like it went rancid, but maybe that's what it is?

I already made a cake, but it tasted OK, I think all the sugar covered well for it. 

I just wanted to know if you think it's still safe, because of the cake. Those were 2 packages of 5lb AP flour, from the same batch. 


Chuck's picture

White flour usually keeps a long time. It doesn't tend to go rancid -like whole wheat flour does- because there are virtually no fats in it. Usually the biggest problem with storage of AP flour is not spoiling but "bugs". So I'm rather surprised and puzzled.

Did the flour sacks ever get damp (raining when you left the supermarket, or a broken pipe, or one of those sink sprayers momentarily getting "out of hand", or dishwater running out of the drainer and across the counter, or ...)?

As I can't figure out exactly what it is, and as it's never happened to me or anyone near me, I'm not too sure whether or not that flour is "okay". My gut feeling though is human tastebuds are highly evolved to give a "bitter" sensation as a warning: "don't eat that". If the bitter taste completely disappears when the bread is baked, my guess is the heat cured it and it's now okay. But if part of the bitter taste remains after baking, I'd be pretty wary of it.

(Throwing out several pounds of flour might cost you a handful dollars. But one medical emergency is likely to cost you several hundred dollars. There's no contest at all figuring out which tack is cheaper.)

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Return the remnants - even the empty packet or the receipt or nothing, just a letter - to the seller.

For the sake of goodwill they should refund you, with a bonus.

I once had this and sent a sample to Trading Standards (probably different in USA but there will be some equivalent body I'm sure) and a copy of the covering letter I sent to the retailer. There was no argument, I was refunded with extra.

Goodwill is very important to a seller.


bobkay1022's picture


Who was the flour from? What company? I had some bad flour from a major comapny but not like you mentioned. I did a few posts on it. I emailed the company with batch number and amount I lost. They responded quicky and sent me enough cupons to replenish the bags lost, Have had no probelms since

Hope that works for you. Good Luck

Have a nice holiday

 Mr. Bob

Ryeblossom's picture

It was cheap, so I'm not upset so much about that. It was upsetting to lose a big cake, dough x 2, and a vegetable bread that took a long time (different veg./colors). Such a shame. But it feels better to throw it out than fear of something unknown in the flour. 

I usually buy something better, and never before had problems with cheap dough. Very strange.