The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Flour moisture content

burgerunner's picture

Flour moisture content

I've read that wheat flour typically has a 13% moisture content but this can vary due to how it's stored as well as the location's relative humidity. This has led me to wonder about two questions.

1. If you stored flour in a container with silica gel desiccants for food storage, would that reduce the moisture content in the flour below 13%?


2. Similarly, if you were to store flour in a non-airtight container in the freezer, which tends to have a dehumidifier built in to prevent ice build up, would that also reduce the moisture content in the floor?


Wondering if anyone has any experience with this. 

mariana's picture

Commercially milled flour straight out of the mill has moisture content of 14.5%. All bakery recipes of breads and cake batters are for such standard flour moisture %. 

To say that this value is typically 13% is the same as saying that flour is typically stored in warehouses, stores and homes at room temperature (24C) and relative humidity of 72%. Which is not typical at all.

Right now, my flour is stored at 24C and RH of 54%, for example, such is our weather in Toronto right now. Which means that its moisture content is 8.5%(!!!).

1) We do not know the initial value of your flour moisture content due to temperature and RH in your home or bakery where you store your flour. So we cannot say that it would fall below 13% and how fast it would dry your flour out.

2) Yes it would, but as flour must be defrosted for 2-24hrs, preferably overnight, before using it in baking to restore its proteins functionality and it will pick up moisture from air right away.

High moisture content is not a big problem in baking, you simply adjust your hydration accordingly, add less water when mixing dough, only in storage to avoid mildew growth and proliferation of bugs in your bags of flour.

In high humidity environment, store flour refrigerated, then it would naturally have ideal 14.5% at RH 70-80% or lower moisture content (at lower RH) and can be used right away in baking (no need to defrost it).

rondayvous's picture

Are normally O2 removers not H2O removers.