Many commercial flours, especially those used for baking, contain bleaching agents which give your baked goods a whiter appearance. When you shop at your local grocery store or supermarket, you may notice the words “unbleached” and “bleached” in the ingredients list. It may also appear next to whole wheat, whole grain, brown rice or pasta flour. The confusion about what is unbleached and what is bleached arises from the terms’ nicknames. In simple terms, unbleached means “not bleached” and bleached means “made bleached”.
So, what is unbleached flour? Unbleached, or de-bleached, flour is flour which has been processed to remove any chemicals to speed up the aging process of the flour. When flour is first milled, it usually has a light yellow/white tint which some people find unattractive. But, after several months, the white color normally lightens to a paler shade. Unbleached flour also refers to unused flour.
Unbleached or un-aged all-purpose flour comes in three varieties: Pearl All Purpose Flour, Golden All Purpose Flour and White All Purpose Flour. Each type of flower has its own specific characteristics that make them appropriate for specific baking purposes. For example, the purpose flour is suitable for baking biscuits and other baked goods such as rolls. The white variety is intended for biscuits while the brown all purpose flour is made for fried foods.
There are several different methods used to age unbleached flours. Bleaching is a procedure that bleaches the flour to make it appear brighter and much darker. The procedure usually involves adding oxygen to the flour which activates the bleaching agent which helps to convert the color to its darker shade. Before bleaching, however, additives are typically added to the flour to help prevent it from sticking to the pan during baking.
The most common bleaching agent is hydrogen peroxide. Other agents may include potassium or sulfur dioxide. There are also special all-purpose flour solutions that include chlorine dioxide. The type of bleaching agent used will depend on the purpose of the resulting product. White bread can be achieved through the simple bleaching of the white flour with hot water.
The main difference between bleached and unbleached flour lies in the way the products are processed. Bleaching takes longer to produce visible results than bleaching. This is due to the length of time that the ingredients are exposed to the air before being introduced to the food. The baked product will be lighter in color because the brightness of the light is brought down when using bleached flour rather than the dark shades that come from using untreated flour.
Unbleaching is the process of removing the chemical agents added during the processing of the wheat kernel. It involves treating the kernel with an acid, such as chlorine bleach. A special bran preparation is then done to remove any remaining chemical agents added during the milling process. After this, the unbleached flour is ready for baking.
What is unbleached flour is best for producing artisan and specialty breads because of the lightness of the product and the lack of use of chemical bleaching agents. This type of flour can also be used to make sweet pastries and cakes because the texture is more similar to that of white flour. Unbleached wheat flour is available in specialty health food stores as well as grocery stores. It is also available online from companies that sell and produce specialty foods.
While it might sound strange at first, what is unbleached flour really meant to you may not be what you thought it was. What is bleached flour? It just means all-purpose flour that has been bleached to remove any coloring, enzymes or chemical agents. In other words, it is simply all-purpose flour minus any additives and coloring that might otherwise give it an unpleasant or unwanted color.
The bleaching process removes any color or flavors from the wheat kernel. Before the processes of bleaching and using of chemicals to add color, the kernel is made bright and shiny through a process called germination. The germination can be artificially triggered in order to make the flour shinier or whiter. The procedure of germination is done by exposing the wheat kernel to an intense light in a high-pressure chamber.
The chemical bleaching used in most commercial flours doesn’t always work very well with the wide range of recipes that most cookbooks recommend. If you are having problems with the texture or baking time of your flour, it is often recommended that you use a bit more of the bleached flour. This method of baking bread will give you results that are significantly darker and richer than using all-purpose flour. If you are looking for a healthier alternative or just want to taste the difference between what is preached and what is unbleached, try using the all-purpose variety for your baking needs.