Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What do you do with "leftover" flour from kneading and rolling out dough?



A friend asked me what I do with the leftover flour on the counter, after rolling out or kneading dough.

I told her that since I usually clean the counter before working dough on it, that I usually assume the flour is clean enough to go back into the flour bin.


Yesterday, I was making burger buns, and over-estimated how much flour I would need to work the dough on the counter. (My head is in a fog, from the changing of the clocks. I'm having a hard time focusing, period.)

Usually I'm pretty close in my estimation of flour needed. Not so, yesterday. And my dough was on the sticky side, so there were bits of dough in the leftover flour. Not something I wanted to scoop back into the bin.


Well, on the menu last night were sloppy joe's. I usually add about a tablespoon of flour to the beef-veggie filling for SJ's. When I scraped the flour on the counter into a pile, it came to about a tablespoon. So, for yesterday, I was able to just scoop that counter flour into the SJ filling as it cooked. Nothing wasted. I know, 1 tablespoon of flour won't save me a fortune. But I could not have allowed myself to just throw that out, now could I?!


If I add up all of the little bits of money saved, sometimes just fractions of a cent, I know that over a lifetime it will amount to something. It's like picking up pennies. If you pick up 1 penny per day, in a year's time, you have found $3.65. In 5 year's time, you've picked up $18.25. In 20 years, that one penny per day, either found or saved, will amount to $73.00. In the next 20 years, if you add one penny-saving bit of work to your agenda each day, you will have $73 more to spend, save, invest or give. I think that's worth it.


What would you have done? Do you save the counter flour from working dough? How do you usually use that flour?

23 comments:

  1. Yes, that does happen sometimes though not very often. I have learned a long time ago that a slightly wetter dough is better for a good loaf of bread than too stiff of a dough. I have put it back in the bin if I find too much on the counter. In rare cases when there are lumps I would throw it away. Not a terrible waste. Sloppy Joe's sound delicious so I might put that on the menu sometime this week. We all like that lot.

    Alice

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    1. One more thing I forgot...I am a penny picker upper! Every time I see one I pick it up. One week was 5 cents but later in the week it was exactly what I needed at the checkout!

      Alice

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    2. Good morning, Alice!
      Last week, I found 12 cents. I took that as a sign that the economy might be improving in our local community!

      The other thing I do, when the leftover flour is more than just the flour, is I put this flour in a bowl on the counter, then that flour is added to the very next baking. When I was baking muffins several days per week, I found this worked very well for us. I've also been known to save flour leftover from breading foods for frying, in a container in the freezer. Then at some point, that flour gets tossed into baking ingredients for quick breads, or for thickening a gravy or soup.

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  2. I tend to throw the flour away -- I'm not nearly as tidy as you and my flour does often have little bits and pieces in it as a result. Also, I've had problems with flour spoiling quickly in our hot and humid climate, so I'd hate to do anything that might exacerbate that. I have found that using my stand mixer helps me to economize the amount of flour I need/use.

    Those sloppy joe's look great! We haven't had them in a while...something to think about. :)

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    1. Hi Laura,
      Good point, I've never had to deal with rancid flour! I'm guessing that's because the house temp doesn't go above 65 degrees for 10 months of the year. When I use my stand mixer, it's because I'm doing the super large batch of dough for loaves of bread, and I still have to pull the dough out of the mixer onto the counter for that last bit of kneading. But that type of dough is usually stiff enough to not require a lot of extra flour.

      But I know what you mean, with a stand mixer, I can just keep adding flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and that's my cue for the dough has enough flour.

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  3. I throw away the leftover flour because I'm worried about contamination to the rest of the flour like Laura. If I have an immediate use for it like your sloppy joes, I use it.

    However, I don't roll out things in flour very often, so it doesn't add up to much.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      I do think about a particular type of contamination that could be important -- if someone in the household couldn't eat whole grain flour, or all-purpose flour, and I was tossing a mix of both back into one container.

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  4. Good timing! I just made pie crust for chicken pot pie last night, and yes, I threw out the (small) amount of leftover flour, also due to contamination worries. College microbiology class has ruined me in a few areas. ;) That was smart to use it in the Sloppy Joes, though, since that was immediate use and wouldn't allow anything to incubate and grow.

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    1. Hi Cat,
      Although I never took microbiology, I have issues with certain types of microscopic "critters". For instance, I keep the bathroom sink pretty clean, with hydrogen peroxide daily, and am still very careful not to drop my toothbrush into the sink! And my toothbrush isn't even stored in the bathroom! So, there are some instances where concern for bacterial, fungal and viral growth is super important to me.

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  5. I use a small container (which sits on the top of the main flour container) to save the leftover flour and use it up when making cookies or rolling out pastry, etc. Sometimes I have enough to not have to dip into the large flour container for rolling out scones or something like that. Like Lili, I try to use up any leftovers, including flour.
    Jayne

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    1. Hi Jayne,
      I'm not as organized in my saving of flour as you, but do something very similar when I don't want to toss the flour back into the bin. I set that used flour aside for the next batch of muffins/ pancakes or waffles, in a bowl on the counter. And I manage to use it within a couple of days. And as I inferred up top, here, if the dough or batter had egg in it (like when breading something), I freeze that flour and add to baking another day. It seems to work for us.

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  6. I have a problem with wasting flour every time my husband makes flour tortillas. He rolls out the dough with so much extra flour and just sweeps it all into the rubbish. I queried how much flour is that and he said about one cup. My job is to fry the tortillas as he rolls. I would love to switch roles but I know I would not be able to keep up the production speed, so maybe I should just takeover and do it all myself. And adding so much flour while rolling stiffens the tortilla and makes more burnt crumbs in the frying pan.

    I pick up pennies too and in fact my pet peeve is that people don't want to pick up their pennies. Are they too lazy to bend down for a penny?

    But I agree, every penny counts, especially when added over a lifetime. There is no such thing these says as compounded interest (at least that's the direction we're headed)...so the sums aren't as impressive, but negative interest rates may one day force more people to bend down and pick up their pennies because bank interest may be a thing of the past. That said, while I have been fearing it here in US (following other central banks), the powers that be may not get the result they wished for and have to abort deeper cuts in interest rates. Another peeve, debtors are given low and lower rates at the expense of savers. Low interest rates only pushes savers harder,and demand shrinks further, as it is said...pushing on a string. However, that is just collateral damage to the real problems with our economy...one horrendous liquidity bubble that is too large to burst. And I think sometimes it may be the guy who never picked up his pennies that one day stretches down to the ground that sets the whole house of cards rolling....

    YHF



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    1. Hi YHF,
      would your husband allow you to clean up the flour mess after he rolls it all out? Then you could scoop it up and freeze it for another batch of dough, or something of that sort. Or is he just too quick in his clean up afterwards? It's likely a habit for him to just scoop it into the trash, quickly, as he's finished with the rolling out. Yeah, the rolling of the dough, does have to be quick, with flour tortillas, if you want to keep the pan or griddle full of cooking tortillas at all times. I do the tortillas by myself, so I pre-flatten all of the balls of dough, to make the actual rolling out go as quickly as possible, and into the skillet as fast as I can cook them. t's practically an aerobic activity for me! LOL! Heaven help the person who calls me on the phone right when I'm in the middle of rolling out a batch of tortillas!

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    2. We are discussing this, and he said he realizes how much flour is being wasted, so is amenable to keeping the leftovers. We have an old style tiled kitchen counter from our 80s remodel, so it will take lining the counter with newspaper to catch the excess flour around the kneading board. That simple step will make cleanup easier too, instead of sweeping the flour into the rubbish can with a dust pan brush.

      Lol...I remember making tortillas myself when our kids were small, it was quite a job. I used a tortilla press which helped me get the first flattenng. You've got it right...keeping up with that hot frying pan is aerobic lol...one minute to roll out the next tortilla, also having to step back to the frying pan to flip, while adding more flour to the board to roll.

      YHF

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  7. Saving the four and collecting pennies is a small thing but I do them because they keep me on track. The small daily things give me a sense of accomplishment . We have discussed before how these small things do add up . I enjoy your reminders about the small things it gives me a chuckle that I am not the only one !

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    1. Hi Dee,
      I feel the same way -- when I read someone else is doing the same sort of frugal things. It just sort of "normalizes" all of the little frugal things we do.

      Have a great day!

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  8. I'm in the pitch-it-due-to-fears-of-contamination group ... but if I roll cookie dough in sugar, I tend to re-use the sugar, so I guess I'm not very consistent, except that I can see if there is any dough mixed in and pick it out.

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    1. But sugar retards the growth of a lot of bacteria, so I don't think it's so inconsistent.

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    2. I do the same thing, Kris. Although I save the rolling sugar in a small container and throw it in the fridge. Sometimes it's quite the combination of colors, too (around the holidays). :)

      I've never had sugar go bad or get bugs, just get really hard sometimes, but multiple experiences with bad flour has me very wary.

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    3. Thanks, both of you! I didn't know that about sugar, L&L. You're right, Laura, I've never had problems with sugar but flour is another story.

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    4. Maybe I have a cast-iron stomach!
      And I most definitely wouldn't throw out sugar. That can be used up quickly in so many ways (often in my tea, or sprinkled over toast).

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    5. I like the idea of keeping leftover flour (and sugar and oil) in the freezer. If it is perfectly OK to freeze dough that has been kneaded with oils, I'm sure leftover flour pieces from the kneading should do fine in the freezer too.

      Since we knew we wouldn't be making bean patties any time soon, I froze leftover salmon oil (olive oil used for pan frying salmon ends) in a bottle in the freezer. That thawed very nicely and was mixed into the bean patties we made this week. Funny, the bean patties don't taste fishy, maybe because we also add beef bouillon cubes.

      YHF

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    6. I keep my fish-frying oil in the freezer, too. I use this for making fried fish and chips. Works fine.

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.