The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

how do you tell if whole wheat flour is rancid?

audra36274's picture
audra36274

how do you tell if whole wheat flour is rancid?

Since whole wheat flour still contains the germ, and therefore oils, how do you tell if it is old? I don't trust my nose, if thats how you do it, my sinus'es are going nuts with all this pollen here. I have had this about a year. If I'm wrong, please let me know and I will proceed. I was going to do the sour dough starter that sourdoLady posted a few years back and I that is the only whole grain flour I have in the house. I equally don't trust my local market on such matters. Theirs could be older than mine! All ya'll doing all this sour dough has got me itching to give it a try. I have done it before, but with starter I bought from KA. Never on my own. But alas, I got ready to start and now I have this flour issue. HELP!

                                                                                                                                       Audra 

Susan's picture
Susan

Audra, if your flour has been in the refrigerator or freezer, tightly wrapped, you could give it a try. If it has been on the shelf, I'd just throw it out. You'd probably do better to wait and get some fresh flour to build your starter. Sorry to bring you down. Rancid flour smells and tastes very sharp, and like something you don't want to eat! If you have unbleached white flour, you can build a starter with that, too, you know. And it's not against the law to build more than one starter at time!

Susan

audra36274's picture
audra36274

It has been in the pantry, just in a canister, so away it goes. If I just use white flour, do I use the same starter formula, or would you suggest a different one. I liked hers, because it has those cool pictures, so I'd know if I was goofin' it up in some way. Thanks for the advise, and it didn't douse my spirits. I can do that all by myself! Today I guess I had too many irons in the fire. I had a biga going for potato rosemary bread,and a pata ferment for one of the hamburger bun experimentals for this weekend.  It was not my day. I almost used all the biga (it called for 7 oz.: I had to dig part of it back out and dust the flour back in the bowl ) in the bread, also I had it mixed up and had hand kneaded for the specified 10 minutes and thought the dough sure was a tuff one. Well I turned to get my oiled bowl and there sat the dang potatoes and rosemary on the counter. I hope that dough is a forgiving soul. I put it back in the stand mixer and beat the bejesus out of it for a few minutes, and kneaded it for a few more, and it looked more like it should. That was a few hours ago, and so far so good! Its a good thing I have a sence of humor! But we've eaten brix before! Thank you for your help.

                                                                  Audra

Susan's picture
Susan

Go ahead and start one with white flour, why not? If it works, great! If not, you haven't lost much. It's just easier, I suspect, with whole grain flours. Make sure you use bottled or filtered water, otherwise you're just causing yourself trouble.

Take a deep breath! 

Good luck, and let us know how it goes...

Susan

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Perhaps you could ask someone else to smell it !!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Ask it, no, Taste it, but be ready to spit, if it has an after taste or is bitter, tastes like chewing on old wood or starts to crawl, then pitch it.  Another tell tale sigh is oil spots on the paper bag.  If it tastes alright, then use it up fast.  You can always make a quick pancake out of it too if you're not sure.  Heating will bring out the flavor, good or bad.   
Sourdough-guy, I know you're laughing but I had to check through my cupboard when I returned here after 6 months.  There was a little crawling too. My old sourdough got a quick burial, container and all.   Mini Oven

audra36274's picture
audra36274

It seems to taste like flour I guess??! So I shall proceed. And what are you laughing at sourdoughguy? Am I missing something? Are you getting a good chuckle at my stupidity, or lack of experience? Have I just asked too many questions?  I'm sorry that I don't have your vast experience in sour dough. But I do make a Cajun chicken Alfredo that's TOO FINE, but man cannot live on heavy cream and parmesan cheese alone. I need to have a better understanding of bread. And here seems the perfect place to learn. Maybe I should from now on read and research more and keep my questions to my self. 

Susan's picture
Susan

Don't you dare keep your questions to yourself! That would be so selfish; how else do you think we all learn?!? We learn from others' boo-boos. And we ALL make 'em!

With tongue firmly in cheek,

Susan

audra36274's picture
audra36274

I was kinda bummed about that! Bread is not my best field, but if I could, I'd poke a Triple Chocolate Espresso cookie through the computer for you. They just come out of the oven. Nothin' like a caffine, sugar buzz about this time of day!

                                                                     Audra

Susan's picture
Susan

I'd eat it right up. In fact, how 'bout posting that recipe or a link to it!

Susan

audra36274's picture
audra36274

As I told the others, I posted it, and even I can't find it about 2 times out of 5. I have a lot to learn about computers! I put it in cookies, pies, and pastries. The only way I could find it was in recent post, and under my name. But sound like you are more computer minded than me so LOL. Cookin' up anything good this weekend?

                                                                           Audra

Susan's picture
Susan

Me, computer literate? Surely you jest! But, yes, Audra, I found it right away and immediately copied it to the Foods folder on my Mac. Thank you so much for thinking of me.

Actually, I'm taking a break today, and am in withdrawal already, and it's only 10 a.m. What to do? What to do?

Susan

browndog's picture
browndog

but I don't think so - speaking as someone whose rampant sense of humor has dug her knee-deep into trouble more than once before. Of course I can't speak for sour-dough guy, but my take was that his statement was just a comic aside, as in knock-knock,who's there, or how can you tell if there's an elephant in your refrigerator. Comedian-"so, how do you tell if your flour's rancid?" Straight guy-"I don't know, how DO you tell if..." The answer ought to be something to do with the germs it picked up off a toilet seat or something, I don't know. My impulse when I saw it was to add a post beneath it that started "so these two bags of flour went into a bar, and the white flour says to the wheat flour..." but I couldn't come up with a good punchline. Really your question is a very good one because rancid flour seems to be one of those things we're forever warned about but I bet very few of us could easily identify. Also, nothing seems to bring out the troops around here like a question- seems to be fundamental to the site. And I want your cookie recipe too!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sourdough-guy even apologised as he wrote it.  I mentioned that he was laughing only because I could see where he was coming from, and I'm sorry too.  No one is really mean on this site and he couldn't resist the "set up" of your question.  You must admit, look up (don't page just with your eyes) at the top of the page and re-read it. We are all just sharing and ever so often a little humor slips in.  You were not being laughed at.  Sorry about the mix up.   Mini Oven



The white flour says "Gosh, I hope I get lucky tonight."  and the whole wheat replies, " me too, nothing's happened in the last three months and I'm afraid I'll go rancid!"







Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

today!!  My name is Paddyscake and I'm a chocoholic. If you love dark chocolate..this is the cookie for you!

audra36274's picture
audra36274

They were too good to keep to myself! I'm glad there is a cookies, pies, and pasteries section here to lump those into as a loophole on this here bread web site. I wanted you all to have it. Enjoy my flour covered friends!

tigressbakes's picture
tigressbakes

What??!?...Where?!?!?! 

audra36274's picture
audra36274

I just typed in the recipe every one requested for the Triple Chocolat Espresso Cookies and where did it go? Log onto my name and track it if you want it. I will keep looking for it. I logged it in cookies, pies, and pasteries??>>>!!! Go figure. LOL>

 

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

Audra, I made a simliar recipe to yours on Friday as well, I use the recipe for Mudslide cookies from the CIA, I'll post it below.

They are very tasty! I made them for a niece who is a very good cook in her own right since it is her birthday she can have some foods made for her, I wish someone would do the same on my birthday :)

I'm going to pick up some good ice cream as I won't have time to make any, and try out your ice cream sandwich idea.

Mudslide Cookies
Flourless cooking spray for greasing
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon powdered instant coffee
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
7 large eggs
2 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line them with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside. Combine the instant coffee and boiling water to make a paste. Blend in the vanilla extract.

Melt the chopped unsweetened chocolate, chopped bittersweet chocolate and the butter in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave in 15- to 20-second intervals. Gently stir to blend. (I didn't have enough unsweetened so I had to substitute with cocoa and butter)

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs, sugar and coffee paste mixture on high speed until light in texture and thick, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture with the machine running on medium speed. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until just blended. Mix in the walnuts and chocolate chips until blended. Scrape down the bowl as needed during mixing to blend evenly.

Using a ¼-cup measure as a scoop, fill it with dough, level it, and drop the dough onto a prepared cookie sheet, leaving 3 to 4 inches between the cookies. In batches, bake until the cookies are cracked on top but still slightly moist, rotating the pans as necessary to bake evenly, 14 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the cookie sheet before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes a lot of large cookies.

audra36274's picture
audra36274

I have printed it out just now. Can't resist a good cookie! And it has lots of chocolate, your singing my song ! I had to type in my recipe. Is their a way to cut and paste from my documents to here without having to re-type everything we want to share?

       Audra

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

Oh yes, nearly 1 1/2 pounds of chocolate and expresso powder with vanilla strengthening the chocolate flavour too. Sort of like chocolate pate, in a cookie :> 

You can copy and paste from any document into the post editor here, though it seems to be best to first copy and paste into notepad (or something basic like it) and then copy from there into the MCE editor on this forum. This way you don't end up with formatting that messes up your post, though this may only be my computer as I desperately need to reinstall my operating system OR get a new hard drive.

browndog's picture
browndog

but I found your greed-inducing cookies under recent posts. I don't know what the magic words are- every time I've posted a photo it ends up somewhere other than what I was expecting. Since I'm technophobic and functionally computer-illiterate I figure it's just one of my limitations bumping into reality again.

Susan's picture
Susan

I've recently had a breakthough in posting pictures. Ask me, I'll try to help. Big thing for me was size, they need to be 640x480.

Susan-Who-Must-Be-Shown

(not Susan-who-can-read-about-it-put-down-the-book-and-do-it)

edh's picture
edh

Here audra, it's my turn to risk sounding silly; is it true that fresh ground ww flour is only good for 3 days? I thought one had something like 3 months.

Also, it's my understanding that all commercial flour in the U.S. has it's germ removed, including whole wheat. On the other hand, I've bought flour from my co-op that labels itself (forgive the grammar) "bread flour white organic, with germ." Is that just a scam or is it for real? And if it is for real, should I be worrying about it going rancid (although I've always smelled it and never found anything amiss in smell or taste)?

edh

audra36274's picture
audra36274

On the top of my NEW- KA whole wheat flour bag it had a use by date, which is about 6 months from now, assuming it was properly stored. It said on the bag "contains germ and bran".  But like you, I have never smelled any thing odd, SO thats why I opened this whole kettle of fish to begin with. I'm going to use the new bag to "start the starter", since they seem to be pesky critters, and follow Mini Oven's advise and start out by doing pancakes with old on a test run. It wasn't the $2 or so for the new flour, I just didn't want to kill a week or so trying to make a starter work, and the flour be old and have to start over because of something that I could have avoided. After reading sooo many people on here, with so much more experience than me,- with so many ups and downs , how in the world did our ancesters make bread at all? Little or no refrigeration, no "spring water", no thermometers, convection ovens, and only the flour their local grain mill ground for them once a year- good crop or no.....I take my hat off to them, and to all of ya'll who post all those beautiful pictures! It makes me think that are unicorns!  But ANYWAY>>>> don't ask me advise on the flour ordeal. Just maybe read your bag?? Mine was in really small print. Hope your eyes are better than mine. LOL. 

                                                                                                    Audra

browndog's picture
browndog

as to the white w/ germ, that's shown up around here, too. One of my books, can't recall which, discusses that. It's just what it says, white flour with some germ tossed back in. As for storage I plead completely negligent and everything lives in the cupboard except my rye which lives in the freezer unless I run out of room in there. I don't buy large quantities- 10# is a lot for me. It gets used up within weeks, and if I've been poisoning myself or my taste buds, ignorance is bliss...

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Audra,
Glad you've got a sense of humour too. I was trying to be funny as well as sourdough boy, but seemed to get away with it better. All of us here are at some level of learning, even the professional bakers and old girls like me. An expressed sense of humour does add another perspective to this very friendly, comprehensive and informative site./
i also have delved for your cookie recipe and hopefully it will appear soon. In the meantime, if anyone would lke my recipe for Hikers' Cookies, I'll attempt to post it. They are full of nuts, seeds and craisins (and calories) and I sell lots in the cafe.

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Audra,
Have found your recipe by typing it up in search, but can't tell where it is posted, but the recipe is now printed in front of me ready to make. Thank you.

audra36274's picture
audra36274

 My bread making skills are not on the level most of you are on, and had felt I had so little to contribute. I cook A LOT of neat stuff. I am lucky that  my husband likes to try different food, in fact not a week goes by that we don't have something new at least 3 to 4 times. There's a lot of them I would love to share, but this is a bread website afterall, and I didn't know what to do.  Now about the bread ...I'm not used to being the person who doesn't have all the answers. Not that I'm a know it all! But I have to know WHY in order to understand how things work. This site has helped a lot, but I think I need some better reference books also. Got any suggestions? I did not take offence to your comment! I too thought it was funny! Keep up the good work, and I really hope you enjoy the cookies. Play with the coffee issue, until you get it like you like it.

                                                                                             AUDRA

maggie664's picture
maggie664

The BBA (as others refer to it as) viz. The Bread Baker's Apprentice (which is currently advertised on this site - available at Amazon Books) is my favourite followed by "The Handmade Loaf" by Mitchel Beazley - which is also often advertised here. Although breadmaking is basically artisinal, it can also become very scientific; but everyone seems to find their own balance!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I'm confused. The Handmade Loaf (aka The Art of Handmade Bread in North America) is by Dan Lepard. Who is Michel Beazley?

... googling....

Ah, I see. Michell Beazley is Dan Lepard's publisher.

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Audra,
Although yeast cookery is my primary passion, I have lots or recipes too to share (I have become obsessional and have 4000 in thje computer). Would you like to e-mail me viz. maggieweston@xtra.co.nz ?

audra36274's picture
audra36274

I have a ton of recipes on my computer also, but be aware, I had a crash last year and lost all that I didn't have printed.  Since then, I bought simple clear covers from the school supplies section, and printed my own and did a note book for just my stuff. I have in the back of my mind doing a printed version for myself, because the notebook has already gone to overflowing. I looked around and I think it was picaboo.com that had a fair cookbook fill in the blank sorta thing, but the prettiest one is one blurb.com professional photo books. I have been trying to take more pictures as I cook, for the keepers. If I don't take photos, sometimes I forget what I've tried and what I haven't. My french bread yesterday turned out well, and I think it needs a big platter of New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp so that it won't be lonely! I'll be glad to share if you don't already have it, or one similar. We have several barbecue shrimp recipes, but this is our favorite. What are ya'll cookin' up this weekend?

                                                                                       Audra

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I've read that whole wheat flour starts to lose some of its nutritional goodness after three days (and, perhaps not coincidentally, many of these sources also have an interest in selling me a home grinder ...), but I think that's far from rancid. Before I bought my grinder, I never had any trouble with rancid whole wheat flour from King Arthur, but I do recommend keeping it in the freezer.

Rancid whole wheat flour will have a strongly bitter taste and the smell is somewhat waxy and astringent. Fresh-ground flour has very little bitterness, at least to me. If you bought a bag of KAF whole wheat flour and just left it out on the counter at room temp, I'd imagine it'd be good for a month or so. Beyond that, I'd think it's in danger of being rancid.

maggie664's picture
maggie664

I think it is best to discuss these away from this site unless it involves bread and/or baking. My e-mail address is posted in another thread above. To-night it is marinated seared tune as the season is on here.M