The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A question for you Brits on TFL....

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bakinbuff's picture
bakinbuff

A question for you Brits on TFL....

Just wondering if anyone knows whether flour in the UK is bleached?  I buy supermarket brand plain and strong white flours for baking (and grind my own wholewheat from berries), but can't find any information on the packets or on the store's website (Tesco) as to whether their white flour is bleached or not.  Anyone have any idea?  Thanks!

Martyn's picture
Martyn

I'm in the UK and shop at Tesco. I've had a look at the flour on my self and the Tesco's own brand strong white bread flour and the wholewheat is unbleached. I also have self raising and plain white flours for pastry, these are bleached. Don't know if this is any help to you!

bakinbuff's picture
bakinbuff

That is really helpful, thanks!

Zeb's picture
Zeb

....here is a link to the bread and flour regulations http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si1995/Uksi_19953202_en_1.htm which as I read say that all flour is unbleached here, bleaching agents are not permitted as I understand it!


If you want bleached cake flour as I understand you have in the States then there are microwave processes you can do to get something similar.... Though I have never tried it, there is lots on the net about it, and probably somewhere on this site.  Lovely weather though at the moment! all the best Zeb

bakinbuff's picture
bakinbuff

That is really helpful, I'm glad to hear that bleaching agents aren't allowed, as I thought I had read that somewhere but couldn't be sure.  Hope you're enjoying the sunshine, I'm going to drag the children to the park (well wrapped up mind you, it's really cold!).  Thanks again for the info and the link! 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi


A lot of cake flours were treated with chlorine gas.   This had the effect of breaking down the protein structure.   This is now banned in the UK.


I believe most flour is, however, still "fortified" with calcium carbonate.   Essentially, this is chalk, so it has the obvious effect of whitening the flour.


Unbleached flour most likely means "untreated", so it tends to be a lovely creamy colour.   The whole white thing is bound up with associations with "purity", so has many cultural and historical conotations.   It was always the preserve of the rich to be able to afford to eat highly refined food!


You generally do have to exercise great care if you want to guarantee buying genuinely untreated flour; read the label carefully, and exercise much caution!


Best wishes


Andy

Zeb's picture
Zeb

I read on the flourbin's website, hope it's ok to quote this here.....'The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 (UK)  state that all flour derived from wheat, with the exception of wholemeal, must contain calcium carbonate, iron, thiamin(vitamin B1), nicotinic acid or nicotinamide. As these are statutory additives, they are not declarable. Two other common additives are fungal amylase and ascorbic acid.'


 


  I think they also add ascorbic acid (vit c) to some of the dried yeasts one buys....


 


So in other words the producers have to put these things in by law and we the consumer should be aware that they are in there, as the producers don't have to list them on the packet - only if you buy organic wholemeal maybe will the flour not have this in..... amazing the things they expect us to know, eh? So the only way not to have these things in your flour is to grind your own and buy your grain from a trusted source.......

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi,


I'm unsure whether the use of the term "unbleached" allows millers [especially organic brands] to sell white flour which has not been treated with Calcium Carbonate.   Also, what about flour milled in France, or the rest of the EU, or, elsewhere?


If a flour has had l-ascorbic acid added to it that would have to be declared as a flour treatment agent.   It is commonpractice to add this to commercial flour for bakers, but not really for the home market.   If an improver is added then the package tends to be sold as a "bread mix" rather than "flour".   You can guess that a whole no of additives, particularly non-declarable enzymes, will also have been added as well as ascorbic, salt, fat, emulsifiers...etc, etc!


A trusted source is well worth finding!


Best wishes


Andy