This seems like one of those no-brainer questions, but...How can you tell if whole wheat flour has gone bad? I have a large bag that was given to me. I don't know how old it is, it is clean, but I know it can go rancid. Is there an easy way to tell? Thanks, Kathi
Whole wheat gone bad?
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Kathi, what's "no brainer" for some will be "Hmmm, I didn't know that!" for others. So never hesitate to ask - you'll surely get an answer!
Whole wheat doesn't go bad, in that it would make you ill; it simply gets old and doesn't taste good. The way I check to see if whole wheat is OK to use is simply to taste it. Put a big pinch on your tongue, and wait 10 seconds or so. Do you get a very bitter taste in your mouth? That same flavor will come through in your baking, so best not to use it.
Super helpful -- stuck in a snow storm with expired wheat flour and no way to get to the store -- thanks for this post. My kids and I tasted nothing unusual so we proceeded with our quick bread recipe :) -- thanks for asking and answering this question, we are so far so good!
I find that rancid whole wheat flour will often smell like playdough. Good whole wheat flour shouldn't really smell like much at all.
To me, rancid whole wheat flour smells sour, bitter and very strong. Fresh whole wheat flour smells slightly grainy or like nothing much at all.
As an aside, all-purpose flour can go off too. My mother-in-law lives in Florida and doesn't bake much at all. One year we made a coffee cake when we were visiting at Christmas and it was inedible. The flour smelled just like rancid whole wheat flour when we took a whiff. We had to throw out the whole cake (and the flour). She now keeps her flour in the freezer, both all-purpose and whole wheat.
You are a genious!
My flour was 7 months past expiry date. It tastes bitter. The non-expired one tastes really different. So, off it went, off it goes.
Thanks for your post.