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Flour Facts

A 5-pound bag of flour contains 17-1/2 cups. Flour that is properly stored will keep for six to eight months.

To store all-purpose flour: to maintain quality, flour must be kept cool and dry. Warm, damp conditions cake and pack flour and provide the right environment for insects to hatch in it. Flour must also be packaged in a vapor-proof material, because it readily absorbs odors.

  1. Freezing flour for 48 hours before it is stored will kill any weevil or insect eggs already in the flour.
  2. Do not store flour near soap powder, onions or other foods and products with strong odors.
  3. Put a large bag in a large container with a tight-fitting lid, such as a clean trash can. This will keep out dust, insects, dampness and odors.
  4. Do not pour the flour directly into a trash can or a trash bag. Trash cans and trash bags are not made to hold food products and could contaminate the flour with dangerous chemicals.
  5. Store the container in a cool, dry, dark place. If possible, keep the container off the floor.
  6. Each time after the bag is opened, squeeze out the air in the bag and tightly roll down the top of the bag.
  7. When you remove some flour, take out enough to last several weeks. This way the container does not have to be opened frequently. Store this smaller supply in a cool, dark place in the kitchen. If the kitchen is in a warm climate, store flour in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  8. If freezer space is available, flour can be repackaged in airtight, moisture-proof bags or containers, labeled and placed in the freezer at 0 degrees F. If flour is stored like this, it will keep well for several years.

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Flour equivalents: substituting other grains for wheat flour

In standard recipes, you may be able to replace up to 1/4 of the wheat flour with other grains. Here are the substitutes for one cup of wheat flour:

1 cup corn flour (not cornstarch)
3/4 cup coarse cornmeal
7/8 cup rice flour
1 scant cup fine cornmeal
5/8 cup potato flour

You won't get exactly the same results when you replace wheat flour with other grains. Here are some suggestions:

  • Rice flour and cornmeal tend to have a grainy texture. A smoother texture may be obtained by mixing the rice flour or cornmeal with the liquid called for in the recipe, bringing this mixture to a boil, and cooling it before adding the other ingredients, or by heating/boiling the liquid and pouring it over the rice or grain while stirring.
  • Soy "flour" is a bean flour. Like other bean flours, it gives a heavy texture because it has no gluten. It also has a beany taste. It has no gluten. Replace 1 to 4 tablespoons per cup.
  • Reduce baking temperature and increase baking time when wheat flour is reduced. This is particularly true with foods made without milk and eggs.
  • Yeast can't raise mixtures made without gluten. Non-wheat flours have little or no gluten, so yeast breads made with non-wheat flours are very heavy.
  • Muffins or biscuits with less wheat flour have better texture if made small.
  • Dryness is a common characteristic of cakes made with flours other than wheat flours. Moisture may be enhanced or preserved by increasing fats in the recipe and by frosting or storing cakes in closed containers.

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