Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Go Buy Some Flour

Why you should stock up on flour next time you go shopping.

We've all heard about the rampaging forest fires in Russia this summer.  They blanketed Moscow in dense, poisonous fog (doubling the death rate) and burned millions of acres.  What they also did was burn one third of Russia's wheat crop.  With Russia the fourth-largest producer of wheat in the world, you can bet that come harvest time, the prices are going to rise.  With the rise of wheat prices, naturally comes the rise in flour prices.  Prices are pretty low right now, so you ought to stock up.

Recently, every time I've gone out shopping I have bought a kilo or two of flour (usually tortowa typ 450 (cake flour, at 1.14zl), but luksusowa typ 550 is cheaper (1.03zl).  I now have around seven kilos flour, which will probably last me a month or two.  Due to my baking habits, I generally run through flour faster than most.  But, taking no chances, in order to preserve the extra flour and increase its longevity, I stash a couple of kilos in the freezer (to ward of creepy crawlies and bugs.)

Flour prices will not be the ones to rise; prices for wheat-based products (bread, prepared foods, confections, etc.) will probably rise as well.  As we all know, Poles are pretty passionate about their bread, so they might grumble if the prices rise a little too much.  The problem is that they can't be stored as long as flour can.  The rise in wheat will ripple through the agricultural sector, creating increases of varying sizes in places you might not expect.  It's not unlike an increase in oil prices.  When oil rises, it's not just gasoline and home heating prices that rise, but also things like: paving the roads (asphalt is made of petroleum), flight and bus tickets, food prices (cost of transportation), cosmetics, etc.
Of course, this is all speculation.  I hesitate to actually scream from the rooftops that flour may rise a couple grosze, or expect that anyone would care much.  A strengthening zloty would make up much of the difference (while a weakening zloty would make it worse.)  There might be bumper crops, not only in Poland, but also in Ukraine, the US, China, France, and Turkey.  Together, they might make up the difference and cancel it all out.  But, it doesn't hurt to be prepared.  It's more likely that the prices will rise rather than drop, so shell out a few extra zloty not to grab a couple extra kilos of flour.  It keeps a long time (if stored properly) and we're heading in to cooler weather, which will make storage all the more easier.

I make a mean sourdough out of this stuff.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

who would want to buy that shit

The Alaskan Reviewer said...

could you post said sourdough recipe? do you have your own starter? did you get it from a neighbor?

PolishMeKnob said...

I do have a great sourdough recipe that I mess around with usually (changing it slightly to come up with new and exciting variations.)
I have my own starter that I got from an older woman who wanted me to baker her some bread from it. So far, it's served me well.