Does Flour Go Off
Q: If flour is past its 'best before date' does this matter?
A : Over time flour will go rancid but generally it can be kept and used past its ‘best before date’ if stored in an airtight container away from heat and, if possible, light. Regular white flour can last up to 6-8 months after the best before date but flours higher in fat, such as wholegrain or rye flours, will only last up to 4-6 months past the date.
You can tell if your flour is still fresh, and useable, just by smelling it. Fresh flour will have a pleasant, mild fresh grain aroma while flour that is past its prime and has gone rancid will smell old and ‘musty’. Rancid flour will also taint the flavour of your final bake.
The shelf life of flour can be extended by storing it (in an airtight container) in the fridge or freezer and I would highly recommend doing this if you live in a hot, high-humidity climate. If stored this way, the flour is best brought back to room temperature before using as the chilling can affect a bake’s ability to rise resulting in a denser in texture.