The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storing your flours and grains

berryblondeboys's picture

Storing your flours and grains

Sorry, you all will get sick of my questions... but... storage...

Now i remember one of the reasons I stopped baking bread eons ago - storing flours and grains and seeds. Back then we lived in a TINY apt and didn't have a lot of storage space. Now, I have more room, but not tons. 

Also, "way back when" I had a batch of millet from a health food store that "hatched" and I had little moths all over my kitchen and I had to throw EVERYTHING out - my rice, other grains, etc. They could eat through/bite through ziplocs and plastic wrappings!!! So... that was the end of the baking breads daily.

And then, once, about 2 years ago I bought some WWflour and when I opened it up, it was full of weevils, but by the time I opened it up, it had been sitting in my cupboard a couple months and later I discovered they had invaded my raisins, nuts and cereal. It took awhile to get rid of those darn things because they found their way SOMEHOW into places or survived in crevices or something.

Obviously, I would love to avoid these disasters again. Right now I have HUGE cannisters that hold more than 5 lbs on my counter - one for flour, one for ww flour and one for sugar. I have smaller ones for semolina, brown sugar, powdered sugar, coffee, wheat gluten, dry milk and cake flour. These are pretty bug proof, but they are ceramic and heavy and I dont have room for more than I already have.

In my cupboards I have (in plastic) nuts and dried fruits along with honey and molasses and in the fridge, maple syrup. but where do you store or HOW should I store things lik millet, poppy seeds, sesame, spelt, etc. And where and how do you store other flours? Like I would like to have some rye flour and such... But I want to make it bug proof and still easy to access (I hate having to work to get to things I need.)

What are your secrets? I can't be the only one who has other cookin hobbies too, right? (like I have tons of stuff for my other cooking adventures too).

granniero's picture

Having had my own experiences with flour weevils,etc, I store my flours,seeds,grains and nuts in my freezer. I have also had pasta that "broke out" so any spaghetti,noodles,etc that I don't plan to use fairly soon also goes into cold storage. Never had a problem with rices, keep them in metal canister. I have opened bags of dry milk that had webs inside and the same with a big box of Biquick not long ago. Nuts will go rancid, hence in the freezer. My mom once had a bunch of assorted nuts in a bowl on top of the refirgerator for some time and they also hatched. I feel that once my flour has been in the freezer for awhile, it is safe for me to leave it out on the counter but for the sake of freshness I just leave everything in the freezer and take things out as I need them.  That's just my way and I'm sure everyone has their own methods. Have fun baking.

berryblondeboys's picture

I never thought of this and it makes so much sense. I wonder though, I have a deep freezer (that we haven't used in awhile, so I don't know if it still works) if you should put them in freezers that are not frost free? Of course I would put them in sealed plastic, but still... So much for gainig space in the storage room.


apprentice's picture

Ideal storage for flour is in a dry, well-ventilated storeroom with fairly uniform temp around 24C (70F) amd relative humidity of 60%. Never in a damp place. Higher than that is conducive to mold growth, bacterial development and rapid deterioration. Ventilation important because flour absorbs and retains odours. For the same reason, not in same place as onions, garlic, coffee, cheese or anything else with strong odours.

Nuts definitely in the fridge or freezer. Most people are surprised at how quickly they can go rancid, because the stores display them at room temp. No worries there because of fairly quick turnover. At least, that's what we hope when we buy them!

berryblondeboys's picture

I know nuts go bad fast. I use them fairly quickly or only buy what I need, so I usually don't have much to store, so it's OK in the cupboard for such short times, but flour is BULKY...

What containers do you all use? And is bulk the way to go even if you bake only a loaf a day (one lber). I've been looking for MONTHS at ordering some stuff in bulk (for cake baking too), but the STORAGE of it always gets me.


edh's picture

I store everything in our chest (deep) freezer, except unground grains which go in buckets with gamma lids. (you can do a search on the site for info about those; they go on 5 gal buckets and are water/air tight)

I haven't had a problem with it not being frost free though, like granniero, I pretty much just take out what I need. It works great and lets me but in bulk. Those 50# bags just don't really fit into my refrigerator freezer...


This Day's picture
This Day

I stored my flours in the freezer of my refrigerator until we replaced our refrigerator with a smaller one.  We have a travel refrigerator, the kind you can plug into the cigarette lighter of the car, but the cooling unit burned out.  Now I keep the travel refrigerator in our basement and store my flours in it.  It's cool in the basement, and the seal on the door of the travel refrigerator seems to be tight enough to keep out the damp and the little beasties that like to live in flour.  Just to be sure, I store each bag of flour in a plastic food storage bag inside a Ziploc bag.  I buy flours in small quantitites - 5 pounds - and so far haven't had any problems.