Hot…and also a defense of my flour storage process

June in the high desert is often – not always – the hottest month, depending on what Monsoon does. It can get hotter in July and August but if Monsoon is doing its thing the heat in those months is mitigated by storms and evening breeze. Right now it’s just hot.

So I typically spend my late mornings and afternoons hiding in the shade. The earlier you can get your outside stuff done, the better. Morning walkie, for example…

Yeah, I’m sweating before seven.

This morning I needed to do something I’ve put off for two days. I’m out of bread. So I hit that chore as soon as the voltmeter showed the solar panels were having some effect*…

…because using the oven when the cabin is already hot doesn’t increase anybody’s comfort.

Once we’re done with that…

…I can go back to mostly loafing. No pun intended.

This morning we finally hit the bottom of the flour bucket…

I have a procedure for that. In my situation it’s actually possible to run out of flour due to it not being sold locally. I ran into that even before the various shortages caused by the covid thing, so I plan ahead…

…by always having at least one spare full flour bucket. But some years ago I learned to my cost that it’s possible to plan too far ahead, since flour in paper sacks has a definite shelf life. So now I try never to have more than three buckets’ worth of flour on hand – roughly 100 pounds – or otherwise it’ll sit too long and not be so good for baking. I have now rotated my second bucket into use, and I’ll take the empty to Ian’s place where I have about a bucket’s worth stored in anticipation of this day. It’s cooler there, dark in the storage area, and bugs have never been a problem. Once I fill my empty and put it in the corner under the kitchen counter waiting for the current bucket to hit empty, I’ll start gradually accumulating 35ish pounds of flour at Ian’s place. That seems to work pretty well: I have enough to ride out unexpected shortages, but not so much that I exceed the shelf life of the flour.

*My newish oven works much better for baking than the old one but it doesn’t have a pilot flame. The heating element that lights the gas pulls YUGE wattage so if the solar power system isn’t in full operation I have to run the generator or draw the batteries unpleasantly low.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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8 Responses to Hot…and also a defense of my flour storage process

  1. ka9vsz says:

    Joel: A gas oven being an electricity hog is just … wrong. But you already know that.

    Wait, flour isn’t available at the food store? I would think a focus of a food store might be, I dunno, food. Do they have a suggestion box?

    You’ve presumably already thought of and dismissed the idea of storing frozen vacuum packed flour at Ian’s because reasons?

    After years of baking my own bread, I’m temporarily reduced to buying the store-bought stuff. It ain’t the same and it’s darned expensive.

  2. Mike says:

    It’s not only your part of Arizona that hot, the weathertainers are cackling about a “heat bubble” from the southwest where you are to up here in the northeast in Canada where I am.

    I’m surprised the local food store doesn’t carry flour. I guess the turnover is too low for any profit. Likewise, I understand the “storing flour in a bag” conundrum. When we buy bulk flour, I store it in vacuum sealed bags. That way we only use what we need, and it’s not too heavy to lug around.

  3. Joel says:

    I didn’t mean to give the impression that the local market doesn’t carry flour. It usually does. Usually.

  4. Zendo Deb says:

    Have you looked into the possibility of a solar oven? I know they aren’t cheap, and probably take up too much space when not in use, but they have been around for a long time

    I also know that there used to be a folding camp oven that went over a camp stove. Don’t know how well they work, or even if they would be big enough for your needs.

    When I lived in Florida, cooking in the boat was always a bad idea in summer. I had a propane grill (and plenty of gas) that hung off the back railing. The boat was too hot only its own without starting the oven.

    At least the oven didn’t use electricity… I would have to turn on the gas, light the pilot, and then I could use the oven.

  5. RCPete says:

    My folks had one of those cooktop ovens for our tent trailer. It would do a 9 x 9 cake/brownie, but I don’t know if it would do a decent loaf of bread. Looked for one a couple years ago, but haven’t seen one lately. As memory serves, it was a Coleman.

    The Not-Cabelas around here sold (might still sell; haven’t looked since Covidiocy broke out) small propane ovens that might do a loaf of bread. More expensive than I wanted to spend, so I passed. No idea what it used for an ignitor.

  6. Spud says:

    We’ve got like 25 buckets of wheat berries sealed up in vacuum packed mylar and oxygen absorbers. Use a wonder mill to hand grind it too.
    We good for long, long time here

  7. Joel says:

    Spud: I would do sick immoral things for 25 buckets of wheat berries. But if you ever find a way to bake bread that will properly rise out of 100% ground wheat berries, I want the details. I have to mix mine heavily with white flour which is ground much more finely than our mill can do it.

  8. Spud says:

    I reckon all flour is made with 100% wheat berries. Either you’re not running multiple passes through the mill to get it fine enough., or y’all need a better mill. It also depends whether it’s derived from red or white wheat.

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