How do Restaurants Store Flour: Flour Storage Tips

Joanna Okedara
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    If your restaurant business buys wholesale flour in bulk from a flour distribution business or wholesale flour distributor, then you know it is important to store the bulk flour to extend its shelf life. While flour does not have an expiration date, not having the right flour storage methods can reduce flour quality and affect the taste of your baked goods.

    So, how do restaurants store flour? The truth is that flour is a major ingredient in a variety of meals in restaurants, bakery businesses, catering businesses and other food service businesses. Storing it the right way will minimize waste and the added cost of purchasing wholesale restaurant supplies.

    You can't just store flour in paper bags and leave it on the flour in your restaurant’s pantry or store room. Besides the fact that paper bags are not airtight, pests can gain easy access to the flour and make it lose its quality.

    Let’s look at some flour storage tips for restaurants.


    3 Flour Storage Tips

    How do restaurants store flour? Let’s find out:

    1. Airtight Containers or Bins

    One way to store dry goods or flour in restaurants is using food-grade airtight containers or bins. Besides keeping air and moisture from reaching the flour, airtight containers can help maintain the freshness of flour.

    It is very easy for flour to absorb moisture from air and get clumped up. The aftermath of this clumping is usually mold growth and spoilage. Airtight containers create a barrier that prevents moisture from entering the container.

    You can even extend the shelf life of all types of flour when you store them in airtight containers. Additionally, you can expect consistency in flour quality throughout the storage period. No absorption of odors from other items in your storage area, no contamination from pests, and no wastes.

    The fact that airtight containers come in different sizes allows you to portion and store the flour in quantities that align with your restaurant's daily or monthly use. This will also prevent unnecessary exposure of the remaining flour to air and moisture.

    1. Labeling

    Once you have stored the flour in a container, it is important to label appropriately. Each container should be labeled with the type of flour and the purchase date. This labeling system allows you to use the oldest purchased flour first, following the first-in, first-out (FIFO) principle.

    The FIFO principle can help to reduce the risk of flour becoming stale or spoiled before it’s used. You can avoid unnecessary waste and the associated financial losses. Using clear labeling also ensures that you do not mix up different types of flour, preventing cross-contamination and maintaining the integrity of gluten-free or specialty flours.

    Besides all these, many food safety systems and flour industry regulations require proper labeling and adherence to FIFO’s practices. Complying with these regulations is important for your restaurant’s reputation and if you want to avoid penalties.

    1. Freezing or Refrigeration

    Another way restaurants can store flour is by freezing it. Freezing flour is a method to extend the shelf life of bulk flour. However, it is possible that freezing flour for a long period of time may affect its texture and quality. Some types of flour, like whole wheat flour, might be more prone to quality changes when frozen or refrigerated due to the higher oil content.

    Both freezing and refrigeration can affect the texture of flour, particularly when it comes to baking. The moisture content in the flour can lead to clumping or changes in its ability to absorb liquids properly.

    If you want to freeze or refrigerate flour, here’s what you need to do:

    Freezing Flour

    • Package Properly:  Divide the bulk flour into smaller portions, ideally in airtight and moisture-resistant packaging. Zip-top freezer bags or vacuum-sealed bags work well.
    • Remove Air: Squeeze out as much air as possible from the eCommerce packaging before sealing. This helps prevent freezer burn and maintain the flour's quality.
    • Label: Clearly label each flour packaging with the type of flour and the date it was frozen. This helps you maintain a proper rotation system.
    • Store in Freezer: Place the packaged flour in the freezer. Flour can be stored in the freezer for several months to a year.
    • Thawing: When you're ready to use the frozen flour, allow it to come to room temperature before incorporating it into recipes. Sift the flour to break up any potential clumps that might have formed during freezing.

    Refrigerating Flour

    Refrigerating flour is another option, but it's less common than freezing and comes with certain considerations:

    • Use Airtight Containers: Store the flour in airtight containers to prevent moisture absorption and contamination from odors in the refrigerator.
    • Short-Term Storage: Refrigeration is more suitable for short-term storage, usually up to a few weeks, as the cold and humidity of the refrigerator can affect the texture of the flour over time.
    • Allow to Warm: Before using refrigerated flour, allow it to come to room temperature to prevent moisture condensation on the flour.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Flour Storage

    One thing to take into consideration when it comes to flour storage is quality. From choosing the best place to buy bulk flour and buying high-quality flour in the first place to using the right flour storage containers and storage methods, these factors impact the overall quality of flour and its consistency in restaurant dishes.

    Let’s answer a few questions about flour storage.


    How Long Does Flour Last in Food Storage?

    All-purpose and white flour can last about 6 to 12 months in a cool, dry place. Whole wheat flour has a shorter shelf life due to its higher oil content and can last about 4 to 6 months. Storing flour in the freezer can extend its shelf life up to 2 years or more.

    Is It Better to Store Flour in Glass or Plastic?

    Both glass and plastic containers can be suitable for storing flour, but there are pros and cons to each:

    • Glass: Glass containers are non-porous and won't absorb odors or flavors. They are also more resistant to staining and discoloration. However, they can be heavier and more prone to breakage.
    • Plastic: High-quality food-grade plastic containers are lightweight and shatterproof. They come in various sizes and shapes and are often more affordable. Over time, plastic containers might absorb odors and stains from strongly colored foods.

    What is The Best Way to Store Flour and Keep Flour Fresh?

    The best way to store flour includes:

    • Use airtight containers made of glass or plastic.
    • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
    • Label containers with the type of flour and purchase date.
    • Practice the first-in, first-out (FIFO) principle to use older flour first.
    • Regularly inspect for pests and maintain a clean storage area.

    How Do You Store Flour Longest?

    To store flour for the longest possible duration:

    • Divide bulk flour into smaller portions.
    • Use airtight, moisture-resistant packaging like zip-top freezer bags or vacuum-sealed bags.
    • Label packages with type and date.
    • Freeze the flour, which can extend its shelf life up to 2 years or more.
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