Dry Ingredients

Flour shelf life

If there's one phrase that any diligent student of proper food storage will recognize, it's this one: "a cool, dry place" (or its occasional variant, "a cool, DARK place.”). These are apparently the proper storage locations for practically anything that does not require refrigeration or freezing. We have yet to encounter any foods for which the recommended storage spot is "a hot, moist, bright place."


And so it is with pretty much any dry baking ingredients you can name. Store them in a cool, dry place, preferably (here comes the second-most common phrase in this arena) “in an air-tight container.” Some products do even better when stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Click on the individual products in this section for specifics. Dry yeast, for example, should be frozen to keep it fresh, flour should be refrigerated or frozen if the weather is hot, and the even more sensitive whole wheat flour should always be refrigerated or—you guessed it—kept “in a cool place.”


You'll also find tips on how to soften hardened brown sugar, which is far more economical than throwing it away. And be sure to check out the extensive section on baking powder and baking soda. Not only does it explain the difference between the two; it also reminds bakery chefs that quantities of either product should be adjusted downward when baking in higher altitudes.


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