NEW! Google Custom Search

Loading

dumb baking Ingredient questions

charly's picture

Ok, I am not a baker, period end of report.  I do love to cook.  I have another dumb question(s)....Flour.  Does it get old?  Can you refrigerate it?  What about baking powder....how long can you keep it?  Should you refrigerate it?


I am beginning to think that those two issues are my problem. 

kitchengoddess's picture

(post #65172, reply #1 of 16)

Yes, flour can go bad.  We used to refrigerate it when I was growing in Mexico, but depending on where you live you don't have to.  I would smell it to make sure it is ok.


Baking powder...mmm...it should react to vinegar I would think.  So if you put a small amount in a bowl and pour some vinegar on it you should see it bubble or have some sort of reaction.  But I could be wrong about this one.  I know it does this for sure with baking soda.

Lee's picture

(post #65172, reply #2 of 16)

Yes, both do get old.  I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe regular all pupose flour that is stored properly in a cool, dark place has a suggested shelf life of 6 to 8 months once the bag is opened.  That said, I have used ap flour that is older with no apparent difference in the finished product.  You can store it in the refrigerator or freezer, but I don't think it extends the shelf life.  Whole wheat and other whole grain flours have a shorter shelf life and should be stored in the fridge or freezer unless you use them within a short period.


Baking powder has a suggested shelf life of 6 months.  If you're unsure about it, or about baking soda, it's easy to test:


BAKING POWDER


 


Add 1 tsp baking powder to ½ cup water.  It should foam immediately.



 


BAKING SODA


 


Add ¼ tsp baking soda to 2 tsp vinegar.  It should foam immediately.


 


Are you using double acting baking powder?  It makes a difference.


   

Gary's picture

(post #65172, reply #3 of 16)

As far as I know there are no single acting baking powders sold commercially.

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

Lee's picture

(post #65172, reply #7 of 16)

I think you're probably right.

Jean's picture

(post #65172, reply #4 of 16)

Slight tangent alert!  Speaking of shelf life--DH found a container of rice in the basement pantry--plastic jar with screw top--probably repackaged from a bulk purchase ????how old???? Anyway, the sniff test failed it as slightly rancid.  We pitched it, but who knew rice could get rancid??  Himself didn't even want it used in soup! I thought rice could be stored forever without a problem.


Sometimes I wonder--why is that Frisbee getting bigger?--and then it hits me.



http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Gary's picture

(post #65172, reply #6 of 16)

It should.
http://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18186

Maybe a little moisture got to it. Is it left over from your wedding day? : )


Edited 7/28/2009 6:52 pm ET by Gary

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

Jean's picture

(post #65172, reply #8 of 16)

LOL, not quite that old! Hee. Thanks for the link..I'm not completely nuts then.


Sometimes I wonder--why is that Frisbee getting bigger?--and then it hits me.



http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
UncleDunc's picture

(post #65172, reply #16 of 16)

I've had white rice stored in cans go rancid in 10 years.

Marcia's picture

(post #65172, reply #10 of 16)

I've had ancient white rice and never once had a problem with rancidity, and my family tells me that I think everything is rancid! I wonder, along with Gary, if a damp basement may have contributed to the off smell.

When rice gets old, you do have to add more liquid sometimes. I only know this because I used to buy huge bags from warehouse clubs. Don't do that anymore.

Jean's picture

(post #65172, reply #11 of 16)

Probably true, but the lid was screwed on tight.  shrug. I hate to throw away food, but if it's bad food, it's easier. :)


Sometimes I wonder--why is that Frisbee getting bigger?--and then it hits me.



http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Marcia's picture

(post #65172, reply #12 of 16)

I agree that it's better to be safe, and if your sniff test detected something off, I'd toss it without question.

Gary's picture

(post #65172, reply #5 of 16)

http://www.stilltasty.com/

Flour will spoil. Putting it in the freezer will extend its shelf life.
http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/FlourTypes.htm

Baking powder will absorb moisture from the air (i.e humidity) which will activate the chemicals slowing depleting them. It should last about 3-6 months once opened, but properly resealed between uses. Do not store in refrigerator. Cool, DRY, place is what is needed.

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

charly's picture

(post #65172, reply #9 of 16)

thank you, thank you, thank you.  Great info and I think I'm just a failure when it comes to baking.  My flannel cakes were like shoe leather and not light and fluffy like they should be.  Based on this new knowledge I don't believe it was my flour or baking powder.  Just me!!!

Marcia's picture

(post #65172, reply #13 of 16)

Oh, you are soooo wicked. LOL

It's possibly not even true if one lives in a cooler climate than you. <G>


Edited 7/29/2009 1:40 pm ET by Marcia

Jean's picture

(post #65172, reply #14 of 16)

ROFL


Sometimes I wonder--why is that Frisbee getting bigger?--and then it hits me.



http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
mireillec's picture

(post #65172, reply #15 of 16)

white flour will stay good way longer than whole wheat or other made with whole cereals.