The Fresh Loaf

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How long do ground flax seeds stay fresh?

Glare Seethe's picture
Glare Seethe

How long do ground flax seeds stay fresh?

I am in the process of making a sourdough flax seed bread. Unfortunately I spaced out a little and forgot that ground flax seeds go rancid fairly quickly. My bread fermented at room temperature (around 16-17 C) for about 10 hours until just now, when I shaped it and put it in the fridge to proof until I get back from work.

When I uncovered the plastic wrap I thought the smell was a bit funky but maybe that's just the combination of the fermentation + flax seeds that I'm not used to. Could it have gone bad over these 10 hours? I'm going to bake it either way, but having read some warnings about flax seeds I guess I'm a little paranoid.

spsq's picture

Ground flax does have a bit of a funky smell naturally, especially if it's raw, and it could be magnified by adding the smell of yeast.

I won't say whether your flax went bad - if it was fresh when you added it to the loaf, then 10 hrs at room temp wouldn't cause it to go rancid, but I don't know for sure.  I keep whole flax seeds in a jar in a cool house for up to 6 months and haven't had a problem - I grind them as I need them.


I did once smell some rancid flaxseeds at my friend's house.  Really a rank smell.


Sorry, I'm jumping around - I've also noticed an unpleasant smell when I mix a dough containing freshly ground garbanzo or lentil flour, and it disappears apon baking.  Maybe its the "raw" smell of seeds and legumes that is unpleasant?

althetrainer's picture

I use a lot of flaxseeds.  For whole flax, they stay fresh for a very long time in a cool and dry place.  For ground flax, I keep it in an opaque container with a tight lid, in the fridge, 3 - 4 weeks, for optimal freshness.  I have used ground flax that's been stored in the fridge for 6 weeks, no ill effects.  Al

Glare Seethe's picture
Glare Seethe

Well, I just had a slice of the finished bread. It tastes fine, though I am still a little suspicious of the smell. If I'm still alive in the morning I will start up a new sponge for a second attempt, reducing the amount of flax seeds (it was 10% in this loaf) and maybe adding a little instant yeast to speed up fermentation.

My whole flax seeds are definitely still good. Actually their expiration date is end January so this is my last minute attempt to put them to use (I have over 500g left at least).

Maybe ground flax seeds are best used with a yeasted dough so they're not exposed for too long? I'd much rather grind them to get the full benefits, if that means using instant yeast in place of sourdough that's all right, really.

Anyway, thanks for the help.


LLM777's picture

First grind your flaxseeds (about 2 tbs.) in your blender and add the rest of your ingredients for your smoothie. Also, flaxseeds on top of cereal/oatmeal is good too.

Miray's picture

Just came across this blog while searching for info about grinding flax seeds. I see that flax seeds are also being used in baking and cooking; however I came across some info that this plant should not come into contact with heat. When it does it produces some chemicals that promote cancer. Although the previous discussion was made a long time ago, I would be glad to hear if anyone has any information about this.