If you’re are someone who loves cooking and baking, you probably buy food, ingredients, and spices in bulk, making sure you’re never short of anything you might need for a quick and easy kitchen project. Although this is a good strategy, you have to take into consideration that many foodstuffs have a short expiration date and can’t exactly be used past it.

Considering how flour is one of the main ingredients in anyone’s kitchen, many buy it in bulk and always have a few pounds at home. This is smart because you can always bake something, but what happens with opened bags of flour? Does flour go bad? Can you use flour after its expiration date? 

If you’re wondering about these and other flour-related questions, we’ve prepared a short guide that will give you all the necessary information about flour, its general characteristics, and proper storage ideas. 

How to Store Flour?

The first thing you have to know when it comes to flour is how to properly store it once you buy it. If flour is stored appropriately, it can last up to two years and can be used for different recipes. To extend its shelf life, you should keep flour in a dark and cold place before you open it. The best place for this is the pantry or a kitchen cabinet. 

Does flour go bad in the freezer? Many are interested in this question and the answer is that storing flour in the fridge or freezer can only extend its shelf life. This is a good storage option if your pantry is already full.  

Another really important thing to remember is that flour doesn’t like water. Once you open a bag of flour, make sure it stays away from wet surfaces and places. You can transfer it into an air-tight bowl or box. You can leave the flour in its initial bag, but try to keep it as far away from water as possible. 

Finally, it’s important that you always opt for the best flour there is on the market, and that’s what Medina Baking, a wholesale flour provider, can help you with! We can provide you with flour of the highest quality, but also a great variety of other baking products. Contact us today and make sure to always have some quality products in your home! 

Does Flour Go Bad?

flour image

Although you might not have much experience with flour gone bad, it can happen. Most flours can last a long time, but if not stored properly, they can go bad and become of rancid smell ad funny taste. Even though it can be used up to two years after production, it still remains prone to spoiling. 

So, if you find a bag of flour that has been in your pantry or cupboard for a long time, give it a good smell before doing anything with it to make sure it’s good for use. You don’t have to worry because you can still use flour safely even past its expiration date. 

How To Tell if the Flour Is Bad

Generally, flour can never go that bad so it’s not usable in recipes even after it’s expired. If you have stored it properly, you can be sure it will be okay to use it. However, there are a few cases when you would want to throw the flour out and buy a new bag: 

  • If you see small insects or bugs in the container or bag, this means that the flour has gone bad and you should throw it straight away. It’s a good idea to disinfect the whole container and the storage place to make sure you got rid of them all. 
  • In case your flour comes in contact with water, it will become clumpy and have some organic growth on the surface. This is rarely good for use, so it’s best that you just throw it out. 
  • Finally, if there are no insects or unusual growths, give the flour a good old sniff. If it smells a bit rancid and stale, it’s most likely gone bad and you shouldn’t use it for your recipes. 

With time, you’ll learn how to recognize bad flour and you’ll know exactly when it’s time for a brand new bag. Make it a habit to always smell all the flours you use in your recipes because you can become an expert on the matter and know when the flour is not good for use anymore. 

How Long Does Flour Last? 

Since there are a few types of flour, shelf life can depend on the type of flour you’re using. Mostly they are all similar, but there are some differences so you don’t have to learn everything by heart. Here are some general guidelines on flour shelf life and expiration date only when stored properly: 

  • Cake flour and all-purpose flour – If kept in the pantry, it’s good up to one year. If you store in the fridge or freezer, it can last forever. 
  • Self-rising flour – It can last from four to six months in the pantry and up to a year if stored in the fridge or freezer. 
  • Oat flour, coconut flour, gluten-free flour – if you keep it in the pantry, it can last for maximally three months. This extends to twelve months if stored in the fridge or freezer. 
  • Almond and barley flour – maximally three months in the pantry and nine months in the fridge/freezer.
  • Whole-wheat flour and rice flour – if kept in the pantry, it’s good up to three months. The fridge extends this to eight months, and if you put it in the freezer it is good for one year. 

Although we’ve given you these general guidelines, you should know that the self-life of flour past its best by date can depend on many different factors such as proper storing and the way it was produced. You should pay attention to how the flour behaves in recipes and monitor its characteristics because that’s the best way to know if it has gone bad or not. 

Generally, whole grain flours are the ones that go bad quickly because they have more oil than the regular ones. This makes them prone to oxidization and they might not last as long as the other ones. 

As you can see, flour can also go bad, but the chances for that are very slim. If you follow the instructions we have outlined here and make sure to provide the flour with ideal storage conditions, you can rest assured it will last a long time. The more you use it in your kitchen, the easier it will be to recognize the bad signs.