The Lament of the Baker’s Wife

flour pile

This our flour collection, The Leaning Tower of Pizza.  Erik collects flour like Emelda Marcos collects shoes. The collection is  taking up a good deal of the floor space in our kitchen. Supposedly it will one day be moved to our garage–after the garage is remodeled–but waiting for the garage remodel is somewhat like waiting for Godot, or the Armageddon.

Speaking of which, if Armageddon does arrive, you know what that means? Pizza Party at Root Simple!!! Woot! We could feed the neighborhood for a month. Those are 50 lb bags. They are propped against 5 gallon buckets. A five gallon bucket holds about 30 pounds of flour. I think we’ve got at least 200 lbs of flour piled up here. And where will it all go eventually? Straight to my hips, sweetheart!

And I know I shouldn’t complain. “We have too much food!”  “There’s nowhere to put it!” “All this artisanal sourdough is making me fat!” Boo hoo. This the lament of the baker’s wife.

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  1. It is too early. I had trouble with the “simple math” to post a comment.

    So, how do you keep it from getting buggy when weevils hatch. How do you keep cat hair out? That’s a lot of flour. You look like survivalists or preppers. When the zombies come, throw flour in their faces. That’s show them.

  2. I have the same questions about how you keep the bagged flour from being invaded. It looks like your cat must keep the mice away which is a good thing!

    • Ideally all our flour is stored in food grade five-gallon buckets with these special airtight lids called Gamma lids. The recent influx of bagged flour really does need to be transferred to buckets, but this is Erik’s business so I’m staying out of it. (other than to complain, of course.) And yes, the mice stay far, far away from our house now that we have three bored kitties locked up inside.

  3. If you leave the flour out for a while and THEN seal it in the buckets, the pantry pests will already have laid their eggs and will grow inside the buckets. Especially pinhead moths. Voice of sad experience

    Ive tried dried bay leaves, and pantry pest traps in the cabinets. Neither do much long-term

    • I know, I know! Erik should be answering these questions.

      Freezing works, but you need room to do it.

  4. I would think rancidity would be another problem (but this is yet another question/concern for Mr. Homegrown, ha!).

    • He’s getting so much flak now that he’s scared to visit the thread. He notes, from deep in his bunker, that we are teaching bread baking classes and will be going through the flour pretty fast.

    • If there are a bunch of differnt flours, I would love it if he would write about their different properties and the changes that makes in the dough and the bread.

      I am starting to get a reliable 100% WW loaf from 100% wild sourdough, but when I started I was using whatever wheat I had downstairs. When I bought some hard red wheat, the loaf dramatically—incredibly—changed. So, I would love it if he could share his experience. Perhaps he could telex it from the bunker.

    • I don’t know what size freezer you have, but you could fill a 1 gallon freezer bag, freeze it for several days, dump it into the bucket, and use the freezer bag to freeze another gallon. That way, at least you would have some of the flour done and maybe before the scourge of pantry pests.

      Taking it all into the bunker after eliminating the possibility of pests, he could keep it cool. Actually, he could just do it like Depression Era folk did. My mother said they sifted it to get out the weevils and little webs that were left by weevils or something else.

      That would be a really authentic experience for his classes. Of course, sifting to get the weevils out might turn some off bread making.

  5. My questions exactly, especially since I recently threw out a fair quantity (not 200 lbs.!) of beautiful organic flours, rice, seeds, oatmeal and nuts that were infested beyond salvation by pantry moths. I have since cleaned out all the cabinets thoroughly including vacuuming, put everything in jars, cans and in the freezer, put out sticky traps, resisted replenishing the collection of goodies, and still they persist. My questions are; 1. Does freezing actually kill them, or just slow them down? and 2. is it possible to completely get rid of the little buggers? They are making me sad and crazy.

    • We’ve been there — it’s so sad to throw out food. Freezing does work. But freeze the stuff for three or four days at least. Other than that, if you practice absolute vigilance you can get them under control. One thing I learned is that when stuff is in jars, the jars must be true screw top jars, not repurposed pickle jar type jars. They can get under that type of lid. They can also get through any sort of packaging, and they eat the most surprising things. So if you freeze anything suspect, keep clean stuff in jars in the pantry and keep boxed goods in the fridge or freezer you should be able to break the cycle. We had a bad breakout a few years back, did all these things — I wiped the cabinets down with vinegar, btw, making sure I got it in the cracks–and we’ve been able to be more relaxed since. (Thus the lax attitude about the flour from Mr. Homegrown. How soon we forget. 😉

    • Thank you-I feel more hopeful now! BTW-they seem to enjoy scented bath salts, but ignore pet food. Go figure…

  6. To break the cycle, I put stuff in the freezer and then in quart canning jars. Sometimes, I put grains or pasta or beans in the canning jars and then put it into the freezer. I was moving some jars of beans or something and decided to unscrew the band. There, under the band on the threads of the jar were pantry moths carcass. Nothing got into the jars, but I could have moved moth eggs or whatever to another room or another location. So, now I always check the jar threads before I put canning jars into a cabinet or move it from the counter.

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  8. Mr. Homegrown is but a lightweight; wait till he gets a grain mill! I currently have the following whole grains, which I grind into flour for various breads: soft white winter wheat; hard white winter wheat; hard red spring wheat; durum wheat; spelt; rye; oat groats; seven-grain mix; flint corn. I concur on the gamma lids for buckets. My tip for this thread is to open and check the large bags immediately. A few years ago I bought a large “super pail” of hard red winter wheat. Since it was sealed in mylar/nitrogen gas, I felt safe leaving it unopened for about a year. When I went to use it, I found significant insect damage. Given the way it was packaged, I can only conclude the grain was damaged before it was packed. By the time I noticed, it was too late to return the bad wheat.

  9. I’ve got you beat….I’m married to a sales guy who SELLS the 50 pound bags of flour, sugar, butter, etc. Which means our house is always filled with samples. Large samples.
    Our deep freezer is well stocked.

  10. This made me laugh out loud. My flour collection is growing and I’m not always good at putting my various 25 pound buckets of flour back in the pantry or garage.
    On the flip side, I bet I could start a Crossfit box out of my kitchen. “Run the rye flour around the block, then come back and do 25 bucket swings with bread flour!”

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