How Much Wheat in a 5 Gallon Bucket – Pounds, Calories, #Loaves Bread

Have you ever wondered how much wheat (wheat berries) you can fit in a 5 gallon bucket (cups / pounds / calories)?

Have you ever wondered how many loaves of bread from a 5 gallon bucket of wheat? And therefore how much wheat to store in your long term food storage, for say, 1 year’s worth?

Here are the answers:

How Much does a 5 Gallon Bucket of Wheat Weigh?

Awhile ago when packing a few more 5 gallon buckets with wheat, I made a note of how much it weighed for future reference.

The 5 gallon bucket itself weighed 3.2 pounds when empty (with the lid).

The 5 gallon bucket when filled with wheat weighed 36.4 pounds (slightly more or less depending on how full you stuff the bucket).

Therefore the wheat itself weighed 33.2 pounds — call it 33 pounds.

How Many Loaves of Bread from a 5 Gallon Bucket of Wheat

We semi-regularly make bread from our wheat berries. It takes about 2.5 to 3 cups of wheat berries — milled into flour — in order to make one typical loaf of bread. This will depend on the recipe. Note that you will end up with slightly more volume of flour after milling the wheat berries.

How many cups of wheat berries in a pound?

One cup of ‘hard-red’ wheat berries weighs 7 ounces (checked on my digital scale). That equates to 2.3 cups of wheat berries per pound if you do the math (in case you were interested).

How many cups of wheat berries in a 5 gallon bucket?

I previously measured and weighed that 33 pounds of wheat berries fit in a 5 gallon bucket. So, knowing that this wheat weighs 7 ounces per cup, and that a full bucket holds 33 pounds (528 ounces) of wheat, therefore a full 5 gallon bucket of wheat contains about 75 cups.

( 528 / 7 = 75.4 )

# Loaves of Bread

Therefore, each 5 gallon bucket of wheat will make about 25 loaves of bread.

( 75 / 3 = 25 )

How Much Wheat To Store For One Year?

Calories in 1 Cup of Wheat Berries

There are approximately 600 calories in one cup of ‘hard-red’ wheat berries. Depending on which online resource you check and the exact wheat variety. But they’re all nearly the same.

Total Calories in a 5 Gallon Bucket of Wheat

Therefore there is a total of about 45,000 calories in a 5 gallon bucket of wheat ( 600 x 75 = 45,000 )

Wheat Calories in a Loaf of Homemade Bread

The caloric content of wheat in a typical loaf of homemade bread (if 3 cups per loaf) is about 1,800 calories.

How Many Loaves of Bread for a Year?

Lets figure on hypothetical preparedness for worst case scenarios… Bread appears to have relatively lots of calories. So lets say that you were to have bread every day…

Half of your calories from bread?

If half of your caloric intake would be from bread (as an example, just to put some perspective on it).

We know that a minimal number of “survival calories” ( 2000 calories per day ) is needed each day — just to stay alive. If half your daily intake were from bread — you’re looking at about 182 loaves of bread in a year.

That’s equivalent to 7 (5 gallon buckets) of wheat, or about 230 pounds.

25% of your daily calories from bread?

Just do the math. You’re looking at about 3.5 (5 gallon buckets) of wheat, or about 115 pounds for a year.

The Takeaway

I did a bunch of math and calculations to help you determine how much wheat you might want to store. That said, a good long term food storage plan involves many foods. Not just bread! And each of those other foods will contribute to your overall caloric intake. This is just one part of it. But hopefully this puts some perspective on it for you.

Continue reading: How To Seal A Mylar Bag For A 5-Gallon Bucket

Oxygen Absorbers – How Many For A 5-Gallon Bucket

Diatomaceous Earth For Long Term Storage Of Wheat & Grain

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58 Comments

  1. That is some great info.! My question is what method does everyone here use to store their wheat berries? I’m looking forward to everyone’s answers…
    I was thinking using a 5 gal. bucket with a rubber gasket on the lid in a cool, dark, place.

    1. Jabba, I’m sure there are lots of ways. But this is what we do:

      I purchase wheat berries in bulk. Knowing that about 33 pounds fit in a 5-gallon bucket, I will order enough to make the process worth while. Say, 100 pounds (3 five-gallon buckets worth).

      I place a proper sized Mylar bag in each bucket.

      Then dump in wheat berries to fill, leaving at least 1 inch head space. Shake the bucket as you fill it (fill in any air gaps, crevices).

      I do this to all buckets. Then after all buckets are filled, I open up my package of 02 Absorbers. Place 2,000 cc in each bucket. Related article linked above in the article.

      Then I seal the bags. Refer to the linked article above regarding sealing Mylar bags.

      I do use Gamma Seal Lids. I don’t care that it costs a few bucks for them. They are really convenient. Here’s an article on Gamma Lids.

      I mark each bucket with what’s inside and date each bucket (month / year) with a Sharpie pen on white artist tape (love this stuff — easy peel).

      Maybe it’s all overkill, but that’s what I do 😁

    2. Jabba;
      Food Grade Bucket, snap on lid, fill 99.99full drop in a stick of Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum.
      Seal the lid tight, Label with contains and date.
      I have a friend that is opening Red Wheat from more that 20 years ago. Good as the day sealed.

      1. NRP,
        Ok Ol’ Son, I’ll bite. How does the Wrigley’s spearmint gum help preserve the wheat berries?? ( or are you just tryin’ to ‘double your pleasure, double your fun’ with the Wrigley’s?)

        1. Minerjim;
          Tis the meth in the gum that keeps the bugs away.
          The airtight lid and max filling the buckets that helps the preserve the wheat.
          I do the same with Rice, after i freeze it for two weeks.
          Beans, popcorn, sugar, so-on.
          Ask some of your Mormon neighbors up there in the hills.

          1. Not sure if it was a typo or not. He’s just contrary enough to leave it and laugh.

          2. NRP,
            Now don’t “meth” with my head. LOL. I get it, the menthol in the gum runs off the bugs. So you don’t use O2 absorbers??? I get that too. If the grains is dry enough, it should last forever, the O2 absorbers would kill the wheat germ. What was it, Kamut grain??? or something they found in Pharaoh’s tomb, thousands of years old, and it still sprouted? I will ask my LDS neighbors, good idea.

          3. Minerjim
            Yes, it was the ‘Kamut’ grains in the tomb in Egypt.
            Found the Kamut wheat grain in State of Jefferson. Had planned on vacuum sealing it but after reading NRP suggestion will do a 50/50. That way sometime in the future should it be required for seeding a crop will be possibility.
            Will have to add the gum to my shopping list.

          4. AC,
            Talked to my brother in Idaho, he’s an agronomists, about long term seed saving. He told me not to package with O2 absorbers, says the seed needs O2 to stay alive. Cool on the Kamut. May have to try growing that here someday.

  2. My question is: As wheat ages in storage, the germ dies off. Will wheat with dead germ, milled into flour still work properly?

        1. Stand my Ground:
          No BS, I have had the wheat at 20 years.
          Soaked it overnight and cooked for breakfast.
          Was great.
          The bread he made was not to bad considering.
          Call BS if ya want but tis how I store my “Stores”

          1. NRP

            I meant NO disrespect. The comment was meant for, “A man of few words”.

        2. I traded my daughter some of my food storage wheat for some put into 30 lbs can in 1970 – over wo years old. Ground some up for my weekly bake of 4 loaves – best I every baked, different wheat back then. Dough rose well and made 4 loaves that where taller than the store bought bread.

    1. Probably the oldest wheat berries that I’ve milled into flour and made bread — is about 10 years aged (stored in sealed Mylar bags with 02 absorbers). Everything came out fine.

  3. Boy Ken that is one heavy cup of wheat berries. 2.3 pounds??
    Lol just giving ya a bad time.
    Great article.
    PEACE
    MadFab

      1. Ken,
        Then ya might want to change that in the article, lol.
        ” So knowing that this wheat weighs about 2.3 pounds per cup”
        That’s why I made the joke.
        Maybe I am reading that wrong. Math usually makes my brain short circuit.
        Again great article
        PEACE
        MadFab

  4. Hi Jabba

    Being somewhat lazy, I purchase a case of 6 #10 cans of wheat from my nearest LDS store. 30-year storage life under optimal conditions. Also weighs 33 lbs. Most recent in-store purchase was $21 for a case. Haven’t seen 2020 prices yet.

    Am with Ken on the math. I calculate 6 cases per person per year. Also store other grains like oats and rice, and pasta too.

    As I age, I find cans easier to handle than buckets, and cases easier to stack.

    1. Anony Mee,
      I buy their wheat also. I like the cans better for manoeuvering and the LDS also have a handout telling ya how many loaves of bread or bowls of sprouted berries etc u get from each can and the calories .
      The closest LDS Warehouse to me now is only open every other Wednesday, so have to ration the cocoa, lol. The weather in our neck of the woods definitely calls for hot cocoa😜
      PEACE
      MadFab

    2. Anony Mee
      We store both the 5-gallon buckets we’ve packed and also LDS cases of the #10 cans of wheat. Boxed cases of wheat stack beautifully and fit on closet shelves. Boxed cases can also slide under most bed frames.

  5. Joke of the Day:
    How many bouts of irritable bowel syndrome ( or Crohn’s) can a person get from one bucket of wheat berries? Not so funny for those of us with the problem but a thing to prepare for when storeing grains for a S—HTF event.

  6. Out Of The Box
    Do what my nephew does for his son who has celiac’ s disease. They are using everything for a base to create the bread other than wheat berries. Rice, Almond, the rice and almonds can be done as you require it.

    Coconut flour, you may want to try putting it in a glass canning jar with an 02 absorber to see if it holds up for 3 months, then 6 months, working up to whatever time frame it will still be good for making bread. Mylar bags greater than 5mil you can purchase for food storage. My other suggestion is look at Red Mill for products that you can put for long term storage.

    This is how I learned what foods survive longer than anticipated.

  7. I store my wheat in large pet food containers with a good handful of bay leaves added these hold right around a 25 kilos each . I use three containers 2 kept in a cool dry room 1 in the kitchen and rotate as i finish the 1 in the kitchen . the contents of the containers lasts me about 1 and 1 half years each no myler no o2 absorber I have had no issues with bugs , mold or noticeable deterioration in quality . on a side note for any uk peep reading this dove farms sell organic wheat £21 for 25 kilo and i fully recommend it .

    1. bill posters;
      Good mention on the Bay Leaves, I have heard of using them, have not tried personally, but the report say very good for long term storage, again from some of the LDS/Mormon people around the area.

      1. Bay leaves just scattered in your food cabinets also deters any bugs. Learned this from my German grandma

      2. lol nrp
        try them ! but if you use a stone based grinder remember to watch for them when grinding they can block it easily ! (ask me how i know :)

  8. When I store rice I find that two 50 lb bags will fill 3 buckets. So rice too is pretty darn close to the 33 lb of wheat berries per bucket also. Is anyone using D.E. with their buckets?

  9. Much of the population are not concern enough to store some food in case of shortages, higher prices, or emergencies.

    “Costco sales climbed 11 percent in December, as holiday shoppers stocked up on toys, candy and liquor at the retail warehouse chain.”

    Okay, so liquor might be useful :)

  10. Miner Jim, finding out about the absorbers makes me sad as I have some organic corn back and had hoped it might do double duty as a crop too. hummmm what to do now?

    1. Mrs. U,
      Well I guess it depends on how long ago you put it up. It might still be good for awhile. I am keeping my seed in canning jars with a piece of cloth over the top and the ring put back on, that way it will breathe.

  11. I usually purchase from Pleasant Hill Grain and the buckets are already sealed. Sometimes I put on a Gamma. As of now I still mix store bought unbleached flour with my whole wheat. This makes a lighter loaf. I also add oat flour and oat bran for my cholesterol reducing bread. I need to learn how to make flat bread.

    1. Mrs U, if you use Golden 86 wheat along with soft wheat you will get a beautiful soft sandwich loaf. I do not use any store flour now.

      When I store wheat, I use the standard tap down lid closing the container on the Mylar bag of 33 lbs wheat. However, once open, it goes into my gamma seal container for easy access. I used DE on my first few containers but then worried how it would affect my stone grinder down the road. I used O2s at 2000 units per. Yes to bay leaves – my mom taught me that trick.

      Ok, gotta hit the sack. Been long days here and I want to head home Sunday.

  12. Minerjim
    Can check with your brother about the Kamut wheat I stored for long term. Here is the dilemma.
    I placed it into glass canning jars with lids, but NO 02 absorbers. Wondering if it would still be viable as a growing medium or not. Put it into the jars around May or June of 2019 and it has been in the house the entire time so it was cool in the summer an warm in the winter. It is the lack of continuous oxygen flow that I am concerned about as I did screw the lids down but there was an 1 inch head in each jar.

    Yes, I knew better but it was around the time Acdh fell and broke his leg and well, as we all know life got into the way of doing things correctly. Plus I forgot where I had stored it..rowl… under the dinning table.😏🤔😆

    1. AC,
      Do not think you are going to have any issues with that Kamut seed. Seeds in storage do ‘respirate’ a bit but the amount of air space you have in the jars should be more than enough for the time that has passed. Long term storage without O2, like in a vacuum, I would be concerned. I guess one of the biggest concerns about storing seed is the moisture content. If put up to wet, obviously they can mold. (believe it or not, had that happen with a bunch of carrot seed I saved in a large paper grocery bag several years ago. Could have sworn they had dried out enough on the stems when I harvested them, yet I found some mold in parts of them when checked several months later.) hope this helps.

  13. Antique Collector lost first reply hope this one gets through.

    You can do a germination test with a plastic bag, damp paper towels and about 20 seeds. Don’t seal the bag it just helps keep the seeds damp (not wet). I keep mine on the top of the Refrigerator to keep warm. Check every day or so. Should sprout in 7 to 10 days. 5% success per seed that sprouts.

    Hope this helps.

    Now where can I get some Kamut Wheat for my garden friends?

    Thanks

    1. me2,
      Try going to amazon through Ken’s link. They have organic Kamut for growing there in 2.5# and 5# bags.

      1. Thanks Minerjim. I too am eager to hear first hand reports on the “Canned Seeds” question mentioned earlier given your respiration of seeds information.

        A LOT of Survival Seeds Cans and bags out there. Anybody have a report how well they did when planted?

        Thus the ongoing hold in my fridge seed bank for two-three years worth.

  14. I did all these sums for myself way back. I don’t have the figures at hand but working on the assumption of surviving on 1,500 calories a day a bucket had 33 days of calories for one person. Say one month for ease of calculations. What? You haven’t stored calories around your midsection? I worked out how many days energy I’ve got stored.

    For preservation I use diametricous Earth (food grade). A cup per bucket. Add some wheat berries, mix in some DE, more wheat berries more DE and so on. Has worked well for the last few years at least.

    I don’t grind my wheat berries into flour. I just cook them up as if they were rice (part lazy part minimising steps needed should the worst come). Not the greatest, but my family isn’t starving to death either. A bit of soy sauce. Maybe mix in with a can of stew.

    The Book “One Second After” scared the life out of me. That’s when I took Bison Preppers advice that “Food is First – Always” seriously. As fun as firearms are to talk about my family eats every day.

    Keep up the great blog.

  15. My wife and I would like to ask for some input/thoughts/comments from the readers of this forum. We are working to accurately calculate how long our long term stores will last based on a consumption rate of 2000 calories per day.

    Most of our long term stores are either packed in 5 gallon buckets (sealed Mylar bags, O2 absorbers, gamma lids), LDS cans, or frozen. Exceptions are the MREs, Mountain House products, honey and vinegars which are in their original cases/containers.

    Whole wheat berries – 650lbs
    Flour – 500lbs
    Dried Rice – 700lbs
    Instant Rice – 80lbs
    Dried Beans – 930lbs
    Salt – 370lbs
    Sugar – 395lbs
    Honey – 26lbs
    Coffee – Equivalent to 10,800 brewed cups
    Vinegar – 12 gallons
    Cooking Oils – Olive @ 1.5gal, Coconut @ 3gal, Peanut @ 33gal, Canola @ 2gal
    Powdered Milk – White @ 342lbs, Chocolate @ 38lbs, Buttermilk @ 3.75lbs
    Baking Powder – 45lbs
    Baking Soda – 96lbs

    MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat) [[ 2220 servings ]]
    185 cases, 2220 individual complete meals

    Mountain House [[ 1300 servings]]
    22 cases, 132 cans of various freeze dried entrees

    This is the bulk of our long term stores. We also have comfortable amounts of commercial canned goods and home grown vegetables and meats that we have canned ourselves and in which we use daily.

    Thanks in advance for any input the readers here may provide. God Bless.

    1. Alfred,
      Given that you have very detailed information of your inventory, the general answer to your question is simple. Just look up the caloric content for the figures you have detailed and divide by 2000. That will give you survival-days.

    2. alfred in tennessee,
      add cream of tartar to stores for making your own baking powder mix it with baking soda–ta da! baking powder

    3. Alfred in Tennessee,
      You are off to a great start! Here are my suggestions from over 20 years of putting up food and eating it, including all of my own bread.
      Canola oil is usually GMO and is always unhealthy. Skip it, up your olive to 3 gallons, and add a dozen jars of ghee. It cooks and tastes like butter. Remember you cannot live without fat in your diet.

      Yeast or sourdough for your wheat. Sourdough is healthier and essentially free, but you must bake bi-weekly to keep it going.

      Dried fruit, especially raisins can be used in bread and cooking.

      Tomatoes, onion, and garlic in some form to make any bean+rice meals more healthy and tasty.

      Peanut butter. You will need to use and rotate, but it is a great protein and fat and is familiar which makes it easy to eat when under stress. Jams, also.

      Since you must have a grain grinder, get other grains, such as rye, oats, spelt, kamut, barley for breads.

      Amaranth is an easy to cook and complain amino acid seed. Roast it in ghee or coconut with millet and then cook like rice. Fruit or preserves for sweet, or veggies and a little meat for savory.

      Good luck.

      1. Richard in Colorado
        You mentioned oats. I recently got some oats from the farmer that has given me, from the combine, wheat for a couple of years. His from the combine oats did not have the hull removed. This became a serious problem. Any means to grind it left the hulls in needle shapes pieces. When I tried to willow them they both blew to the side. When I tried to use a sifter it plugged with the needles instantly. I still have 2 buckets of Oats trying to hear a practical way to separate the hull and groat?

    4. Umm, more spices?
      And I’m under the standing that Baking Powder gets weak over time.
      Some one already mentioned the Cream Of Tartar for making your own.
      1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
      1/4 Baking
      1/4 corn starch
      Equals one tsp Baking Powder.
      It works too, I tried it. The biscuits jumped so high one tipped over. True story.
      Oh yeah, great site, I just stumbled in from the cold.
      Have a great one.

  16. Alfred,
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I have found that peanut and most veggy oil goes rancid in about 18 months, even less in higher temps. You need to rotate your oils and high oil foods like peanut butter. Flour and powdered milk (again fats) also has a relatively short life. There are some charts floating around that list most storage foods and their life expectancy. Would hate for you to be depending on stuff that went bad.(rancid oil can still be used for lamps and lubricants chainsaw bar oil, guess how I know). You really have a deep larder though, great work.

    1. The word rancid has always caught my attention. How do you know something has gone rancid? What happens when you eat rancid food?
      I fear I have lived a blessed live that I am asking this question.

  17. Someone else may have made this observation, but one cup of wheat berries = more than one cup of whole wheat flour. The flour is not as dense as the grain itself, so somewhat counter-intuitively, even though there’s air space in the cup of grain, when ground into flour the volume increases. I use about 3 3/4 cups of flour (50/50 mix of white and whole wheat) for my loaves and they weigh about 2 pounds each (the only other ingredients are water, much of which vaporizes off, sourdough starter, and a little salt). I haven’t measured it precisely, but if I grind 2 cups of berries I get about 3+ cups of flour. Keeping in mind the water weight, I’d expect to get about maybe 20 loaves from 33 pounds.

    Also plan on a sifter or some white flour (which is pretty shelf stable if stored in airtight conditions) if you plan to actually do this; 100% whole wheat makes a pretty dense and strong-tasting loaf which can take some getting used to for people accustomed to mostly white bread.

    1. Starting from scratch,,,
      Couple other things ive learned from others here and from KA flour and internet,

      To reduce protein use corn starch, lightens the loaf, i think they said one TBS per cup, so pull out your TBSs of flour and add corn starch.

      Also, hard white wheat, ground real fine several times, sifting with a screen in between to remove anything coarse.

      This is how you can make pastry/cake flour along with adding the corn starch, works well, getting the grind fine enough is the hard part, i use a grainmaker for the first two grinds then finish with a Retsel grinder with stone burrs for final grind, after final sifting it makes a clean light flour, makes beautiful white bread loaves and pastries

    2. Everyone is measuring cups of berries into loaves into buckets and total calories of eatable product. Has anyone offered up, how many calories it takes to make one cup of berries into flour? When I first started grinding my own flour I was impressed with how much effort it took and then I looked at the frontier history and how many settlements located around some type of community miller. It would be interesting to see how may calories go into the loaf of bread vs how many you get out by eating the loaf?

  18. We highly appreciate everyone’s responses and comments to my post on this forum.
    In reply:
    Yes, we do have a grain mill. We use the Grainmaker Model 118 and, although pricy, it is hands down the best mill we have ever encountered.
    Yes, a supply of stable cooking oils is a constant concern to us. This winter we decided to render our own lard. A neighbor is our source to purchase high quality pork fat. From 3 hogs, we received almost 16 pounds of leaf fat (kidney fat) and about 30 pounds of fat back. The leaf fat we rendered down for pastry lard and the fat back was rendered into lard for frying.
    Our pastry lard is white as snow and makes fantastic biscuits; this lard has absolutely no pig smell. The frying lard is slightly off white and perfect for frying chicken or pork chops.
    The ability to produce our own cooking oil/lard was not a difficult process and is a valuable skill to master. We used a KitchenAid with a meat grinder attachment and made a double boiler from an All American 921 pressure canner (no lid) and a large stock pot.

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