General Question

josie's avatar

Does all purpose flour "go bad"?

Asked by josie (22424 points ) June 26th, 2011

Sealed in a zip loc bag. No sign of mold or bugs.
Dated Feb 2011.
All this in consideration, could this flour have gone bad?
I want to make my famous banana walnut bread before the bananas liquify, but this is what is in the cupboard.

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24 Answers

_zen_'s avatar

Yes, for all intents and purposes. Don’t save there. Toss.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Do you have any reason to think it’s gone bad?

It might go bad, but not in 6 months.

Linda_Owl's avatar

If it does not have bugs in it (or mold) it should be perfectly usable. Next time, you should store your flour in your freezer & it will keep indefinitely.

breedmitch's avatar

Flour is about 12% water and therefore can harbor mold and fungi. Most food safety websites recommend 6–8 months, but Linda Owl is correct; freezing it will keep it indefinitely.
If it’s from February of this year, it’s fine. Don’t listen to zen.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I say it started off bad, but I guess it wouldn’t technically spoil. If you want to get more life out of dried foods like that, store them in non-transparent containers, perhaps with one of those silica gel packs you find in lots of products.

chyna's avatar

Only 6–8 months? I’ve got some cleaning to do.

jaytkay's avatar

Re: bananas
You can freeze those, too, if you are not ready to use them.

_zen_'s avatar

Don’t listen to zen is always good advice in general.

But my rule of thumb is – late and cheap – toss. It’s a bag of flour – is it worth the stomach ache?

josie's avatar

It will bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, 25 if I make muffins, which I might do. Wouldn’t that kill about anything except insects from Venus or something?

Coloma's avatar

I’ve stored mine in the freezer before, but, if it is in an airtight container, not just the rolled down bag and it is free of bugs, you might want to sift it it should be fine for a looong time, beyond the 6–8 months, but why bother, it’s not like flour is expensive.

YoBob's avatar

As I understand it, one of the reasons people started producing all purpose “white” flour is because it has a much longer shelf life. Bugs are generally more likely to leave it alone (but will certainly eat in in leu of other alternatives) and the part that is removed during milling to produce white flour also happens to be the part that will spoil the quickest.

If it smells OK and there aren’t any obvious critters in it, it’s probably fine.

Coloma's avatar

If it’s Rye flour you might go on an acid trip if it goes bad. The Ergot fungus was, supposedly, responsible for a lot of the alleged ‘witch craft’ back in the 17th century.
Rye flour was a staple and Rye that was harvested under wet. humid conditions grew a hallucinagenic ( sp? ) fungus that sent a lot of Colonists on some crazy trips.

Gives ’ breaking bread’ a whole new meaning. lol

JLeslie's avatar

I would use that flour, and generally I am a when in doubt throw it out person.

skfinkel's avatar

If you smell it, and it doesn’t smell good, throw it out. If it doesn’t smell, I think it should be okay. If you have any question about it, get rid of it. And then buy smaller quantities, so your flour is always really fresh.

athenasgriffin's avatar

@skfinkel‘s sniffing strategy actually works well for foods of all kinds. I do this at the store when picking out produce, also. When you aren’t sure if it’s good or bad, sniff it. Works well for laundry, too. (Although, in both cases, sometimes you are happiest not sniffing these things.)

Raven_Rising's avatar

Given the information given, I would say its fine to use, but would store future bags in the freezer in a resealable, plastic container as others have recommended

To be absolutely certain though, I would recommend sending me one freshly baked loaf of banana walnut bread using the flour in question. I should be able to detect any loss of quality. Its a tough job, but I’m willing to take that hit for the team.

_zen_'s avatar

@YoBob Leading basically to crap that is terrible for you. Can we discuss the merits the lack of anything wholesome or healthy in all purpose flour. Talk about a slow death – just add a lot of white sugar to the batter.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@zen But at least all-purpose tastes good, unlike whole wheat/grain. Every time I buy something made from whole wheat, I end up throwing it out after a couple forced bites.

_zen_'s avatar

I hear you – but I got used to it slowly. It is healthy versus poison.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@zen I thought that all-purpose was simply stripped of most of the nutrients, not that it had additional poison. Am I wrong?

_zen_'s avatar

Gluten is poison for the body. Google it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@zen I did. Google disagreed, save for a few blogs which aren’t exactly reputable sources (but aren’t necessarily wrong, either). So you see why I’m so confused.

_zen_'s avatar

I was just at a whole food and organic seminar where it was explained. Gotta run to work – maybe we’ll pick this up later.

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