Aging. A method of treatment in which a material is held at rest, under appropriate conditions, for a long enough period so it will attain a state of ripeness and maturity which results in certain desirable quality attributes. When applied to freshly-milled or green flour (q.v.) that is unsuitable for baking, aging will transform it into one with satisfactory baking performance. This amelioration may be achieved by storing the flour for an appropriately long period under well-aerated conditions to promote the beneficial action of atmospheric oxygen on the proteins (q.v.) of the flour. In practice, the same effect is commonly attained much more rapidly by treating the flour with approved maturing or oxidizing agents (q.v.). Excessively long storage of flour results in a reduction of its baking quality. At other processing areas of baking, variable periods of rest for stress relief or stress recovery are interposed, as in floor time (q.v), intermediate proof (q.v.) and final proof (q.v.), to permit freshly-mixed or newly-processed doughs to regain the functional characteristics needed for subsequent processing.