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Old 12-12-2004, 08:05 PM   #1
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All Purpose Flour - Bleached or Unbleached

Hi guys, what's the difference between these two types of flour? And can you use them interchangeably? Does it make a HUGE difference if a recipe calls for bleached and I use unbleached? Thx!! :D

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Old 12-12-2004, 10:58 PM   #2
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I'd bet you won't have a problem if you use unbleached in place of bleached.
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Old 12-13-2004, 01:38 AM   #3
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Bleaching strengthens the gluten, so if you're making bread it might rise slightly differently, but generally, I say the two are fairly interchangeable.

Unbleached flour tastes a lot better, as bleached flour has a strong chemical taste/smell.
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Old 12-13-2004, 09:21 AM   #4
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My mother used unbleached.
I use unbleached.
I use Hecker's
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Old 12-13-2004, 09:36 AM   #5
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I always use King Arthur Unbleached for anything that calls for AP flour. I want to add as few chemicals to my family's foods as possible (there are enough in there we can't control already!).

Here's a definition of bleached flour:
Bleached flour has been treated with bleaching chemicals to make it look whiter than it really is. In the US, the two most common chemical agents for bleaching flour are benzoyl peroxide and chlorine dioxide. Benzoyl perozide -- yes, the active ingredient in many acne creams -- is added directly to the flour in powdered form. Chlorine dioxide, basically laundry bleach in the form of a gas, is blown into the flour at the end of the milling process. During baking, benzoyl peroxide undergoes a chemical change, leaving trace amounts of benzoic acid in whatever is being baked.
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Old 12-13-2004, 11:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA Baker
Here's a definition of bleached flour:
Bleached flour has been treated with bleaching chemicals to make it look whiter than it really is. In the US, the two most common chemical agents for bleaching flour are benzoyl peroxide and chlorine dioxide. Benzoyl perozide -- yes, the active ingredient in many acne creams -- is added directly to the flour in powdered form. Chlorine dioxide, basically laundry bleach in the form of a gas, is blown into the flour at the end of the milling process. During baking, benzoyl peroxide undergoes a chemical change, leaving trace amounts of benzoic acid in whatever is being baked.
So, Baker, is this what "bromated" means?


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Old 12-13-2004, 11:49 AM   #7
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Actually, no. Here's what bromated means (I'm learning something new, too!):

Bromated flour means the flour has been treated with potassium bromate. Potassium bromate has long been used to "enhance" the baking performance of low protein flour. Specifically, bromate is most often used to give artificial "oven spring" to yeast breads. It does this by altering the chemical make-up of the flour in a way that produces stronger gluten bonds. If flour contains enough protein, a baker can create sufficient gluten naturally, making bromate unnecessary. Potassium bromate has been banned in Europe, Canada, and Japan as a suspected carcinogen, and food products sold in California containing bromate must bear a warning label.
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Old 12-13-2004, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA Baker
Specifically, bromate is most often used to give artificial "oven spring" to yeast breads. It does this by altering the chemical make-up of the flour in a way that produces stronger gluten bonds. If flour contains enough protein, a baker can create sufficient gluten naturally, making bromate unnecessary. Potassium bromate has been banned in Europe, Canada, and Japan as a suspected carcinogen, and food products sold in California containing bromate must bear a warning label.
Thank you so much, Baker, this is very helpful . . . and interesting too, isn't it?

So if I understand you, the King Arthur unbromated AP flour is the desirable way to go, and one can achieve the same effect as bromation by adding a bit of gluten, yes? (Since AP flour has less gluten than flour designed specifically for bread making.) And if the poster upthread is to be believed, unbleached, unbromated flour is the best alternative of all, in terms not only of health, but of flavor.

Of course, because bromated flour is banned in some places doesn't itself prove that bromation is carcinogous ... and one has to wonder how such a thing is determined. Unless you (or the lab rats) sit and eat nothing but bowlfuls of flour as their daily diet, it would be tough to separate the effects of the bromation from the effects of dunnamany other things most people include in their diet. Unless the scientists have figured out a way to separate the bromate from the flour and feed it to the lab animals ...


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Old 12-13-2004, 01:23 PM   #9
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cats, somewhere at home I have a chart listing the gluten content of various brands of flour. I'll try to post it here later tonight.

I use unbleached, unbromated flour for everything unless 1--the recipe calls for bread flour or 2--the recipe calls for (or I choose to use) wheat flour. All of the King Arthur flours are unbleached. For other brands, be sure to read the packaging.
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Old 12-13-2004, 02:13 PM   #10
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Wow, all this info was really helpful! Thanks. I have been using more whole wheat flour in my quick breads and cookies latrly. Bob's Red Mill brand of pastry flour. I like it. I've heard a lot about King A. I'm going to have to try that next.

Thx again! :)
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