Plastic-free Flour

I posted recently about food packaging and if you have had a chance to look at the trash you “throw away” you may have noticed that a lot of it is plastic packaging from food. And while some of it may be recyclable, most of it is not.

So, it’s finally time to talk about some changes we can make in our food shopping habits (other than taking our own reusable bags) that will help reduce our plastic footprints!

I love to bake. Waffles, cakes, cookies, bread, tortillas, muffins – yum! This all takes flour, of course, which is most commonly available and purchased in plastic bags. What, then, are the alternatives?

flour (1)

I often use whole-meal flour which is available in paper sacks from the company Five Star. This company packages many types of flour in paper as opposed to plastic. In the past, I would stock up on several bags of the whole-meal flour whenever I went shopping in Sharm el Sheikh because it wasn’t always available here in Dahab. In Sharm, you can find it at Carrefour and Metro Market (and maybe Ragab Sons, I can’t remember). But now you can find a variety of paper-packaged flours in Dahab at CHEF on Peace Road! They also sell a lovely variety of other flours and grains, but so far they are all packaged in plastic so, although tempted, I have not purchased any of these. 

flour (2)

Another plastic-free option for flour is bringing your own bag or container and buying flour from the bulk bags available at many stores in Asalah. This is something that we have only started to do in the last couple of months. We use one of our many cotton bags – freshly washed – and purchase plain flour and bran from the bulk bags at Alf Sunf (1,000 Items) in Asalah Square. At home, I empty the flour into a large glass container for storage. Last week, the store also had Five Star semolina flour in bulk bags!

You can either weigh the flour yourself or give the clerk your container and he will weigh and fill it for you. The clerks at Alf Sunf are used to us and our plastic-free ways by now, but other stores and clerks won’t be. So remember to ask politely and be patient. This is as new to them as it is to you!

TIP: Weigh your bag or container first, then add the flour until you have the desired amount. Our bag weighs 65 grams and we typically buy a kilo of flour. So we fill until the scale reads 1065 g. Sometimes, if a clerk is assisting, they will tare (or zero) the scale with our bag on it. This allows you to just worry about the weight of the contents (in this case, the flour) not the container.

Buying the flour in paper bags is obviously the easier way to go, and buying from the bulk bags takes a little more time and effort on our part. Are you willing to purchase flour from the bulk bags? Why or why not? 

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2 thoughts on “Plastic-free Flour

    • Well, in this post, I’m referring to the plastic packaging that flour comes in so I guess I could have worded that differently – especially since, yes, plastic has actually been found in many processed food items including flour/bread!

      Read: http://www.ewg.org/research/nearly-500-ways-make-yoga-mat-sandwich

      “One thing is clear: ADA is not food, as food has been defined for most of human history. It is an industrial chemical added to bread for the convenience of industrial bakers. In centuries past, flour fresh from the mill had to age several months before it could be kneaded into dough and popped into the oven. But in 1956, a New Jersey chemical, pharmaceuticals and engineering firm called Wallace & Tiernan, best known for inventing a mass water chlorination process, discovered that ADA caused flour to “achiev[e] maturing action without long storage.” The result, the firm’s patent application stated, was commercial bread that was “light, soft and suitably moist, yet suitably firm or resilient, and that [had] crusts and internal properties of a pleasing and palatable nature.” The FDA approved ADA as a food additive in 1962. It is not approved for use in either Australia or the European Union.”

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