Bulk flour storage, a.k.a. "please explain how buckets work"


I recently bought 50 pounds of masa on Amazon for $16.46 (you may have seen the thread a few days ago, but the deal is no longer available).

I couldn’t find any cheap buckets online, so I went to Lowe’s and ended up buying two of these buckets:


This was the suggested lid for them:


I ended up not buying those lids, though, because I could figure out how to put the lids on or remove them. I saw something online about using a mallet to put lids on & using a special tool to remove them, but I didn’t see any removal tools with the buckets, also, the lid had something concerning written on it along the lines of “to remove lid, break tab and remove strip”, which made me think it might be some kind of one-time-use lid, whereas I’m going to need to get in at least once a week.

These are the lids I ended up buying:


They’re not the suggested lid for the bucket, but they seem to fit okay. They’re a bit tricky to remove, but I think I can manage. I don’t think they’re actually airtight, though. I put some water in one of the buckets, put the lid on, turned it upside-down, and was able to get some water to come out.

In looking online, I saw there’s a fancy “gamma seal” twist-off lid available that are supposed to be really good, but they seem rather pricey, and I don’t want to invest a lot in this since once I go through these 50 pounds, I’ll probably go back to buying small bags at the grocery store unless I can find a similar deal in the future.

So, my main questions:

  1. Are the lids I bought, even if not ideal, at least sufficient for keeping masa fresh for the several months it will take me to use it all?

  2. What’s the deal with the suggested lids for those buckets – how are they put on, how are they taken off, and are they one-time-use?

  3. Any other thoughts or suggestions?


The lids you bought are OK but not ideal. They are good for paint, so they should be OK for the masa.
But the other lids are ideal. I use them for wine/beer making. They are not one-time use; just the first “super” seal is. They have a rubber seal that keeps out moisture. You pound them on with a rubber mallet OR anything that will work without damaging them, like a piece of 2 by 4 and a regular hammer. To open the first time, you pull the plastic strip off, like you would a bag that has a built in zip-lock seal. It is a bit tougher to pry off than the OK lid type - I usually use a big screwdriver. But you can buy a tool like this to open them. You can use your fingers, but it is a bit of work.

I recommend the suggested lid for proper moisture resistant seal.


Thanks for sharing your expertise. I was unable to find any sort of “barrel lid FAQ” online, so your advice is appreciated.


Did two 5-gallon buckets hold all 50 lbs. of masa? I’m about to receive my first shipment of a 50 lb bag of oat flour. I’m not used to that quantity at once, and I have no idea how many buckets I would need to store it. I was thinking it might take 3 or 4 buckets. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Yes, two 5-gallon buckets were sufficient for 50 pounds of masa, with just a bit of room to spare. I only packed it down a little bit. You could probably fit a fair bit more if you got serious about it.

This site may be useful:


It only has an entry for wheat flour but it should be close enough. It states that 5 gallons should hold 24.74 pounds. That’s not an exact figure since flour is somewhat compressible, but you should be fine.

Where did you order oat flour online? I like to mix masa and oat flour, but I haven’t found a cheap oat flour source. I know some people buy oats and grind them, but I don’t even have a blender yet.


Thanks! That’s going to end up cheaper than I thought…and cheaper is better. I ordered the oat flour on Amazon here: Honeyville Farms Oat Flour 50-lb Bag

It was $54.48 with shipping. Pretty pricey compared to masa, but I don’t care for the corn tortilla taste. Thanks again. I can’t wait to see the look on my wife’s face when that 50-lb bag shows up at our door.