The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Unbleached? Not here....

MotoJack's picture

Unbleached? Not here....

The only bread I've made so far is no knead and the instructions said use either bread flour or unbleached all purpose flour.To date I have only used bread flour.Went to the store today to buy the unbleached all purpose.Wanted to build a couple loaves using it instead of the bread flour just to see what it would taste like.Well,I went to our only 2 stores in our small town and neither sells the stuff.The only all purpose they have is bleached.What'll happen if I use bleached to make my no knead bread?I did buy some whole wheat flour.I decided to experiment.I make a double sized batch whenever I make the bread.Today I put in 2 cups whole wheat with the other 4 cups of bread flour and I also added 1/2 cup honey.I'm gunna wait till the 18 hours of course while the dough does it's thing and I'll bake the bread tomorrow.Don't know what'll happen with the addition of the honey and the whole wheat substitution for 1/3 of the flour.   

blaisepascal's picture

If you use bleached instead of unbleached your bread will come out a little whiter (but you probably won't notice unless you put two slices side-by-side), and you will likely get a touch of residual bleaching agents that you wouldn't otherwise.

The main difference between unbleached AP and bleached AP is that bleached AP has been treated to make it whiter in color.  Both are considered "white flour", neither has any of the germ or bran which make whole wheat not white.  The main difference between bread, AP, and cake flours is the protein/gluten content, in order of decreasing gluten.

flournwater's picture

Don't worry about it.  Here's a bleached AP flour loaf:

(Click on thumbnail for larger view)

I had no complaints.  It had all the attrubutes of a good loaf of bread and I still use bleached AP flour whenever I don't happen to have enough bread flour.  I've even been known to mix them when necessary.  For some reason, bleached flour in my neck of the woods if less expensive than unbleached  -  go figure.

deblacksmith's picture

Bleached AP flour should be cheaper than unbleached.  Because the bleaching chemicals cost less that the storage space and the capital tied up in flour to use the ageing process rather than bleaching.  It is often thought that the use of bleach is to make the flour whiter -- it does that, but the main reason is that it is cheaper.  

Like selling water with your ham.


MotoJack's picture

I bet I put on a pound just by looking at your pictures of bread etc.Man,that's some nice work!

flournwater's picture

Thank you sir for the compliment.  I forget that when you click on my links it gives you full access to all of my bread baking photo files.  I've only been at the bread baking thing for about six months and still have an enormous amount to learn.  I've gotten to the point where I'm so thrilled with the bread baking experience that my wife and I can't consume everything I bake so I'm gifting it to friends and neighbors.  In many instances it's more gratifying to give it to someone who appreciates it than it is to put it on the dinner table.

photojess's picture

I"ve meant to send you a msg about your whole PB acct, but you know now.  Just use the image code link under the picture you want to list, and then it will just be that one photo.

Janknitz's picture

Rose Levy-Berenbaum says that bleached flour has an effect on texture that is sometimes DESIREABLE depending on the type of bread you are making. 

I am at work now and the book is at home, so I can't tell you exactly what the particular effect is, but she seems to feel that there is a noticeable difference between bleached and unbleached flours and therefore specifies one or the other depending on the type of bread and particular texture she wants to acheive.

NOTE:  There may be some environmental reasons why unbleached flour is not always the best choice, see:

P.S. I don't mean to always be quoting Ms. Berenbaum as an authority, but that's the book I happen to have checked out of the library at the moment, and you can tell that I read whatever I have obsessively!). 

flournwater's picture

It's interesting information but it doesn't identify the "scientific" paper, it's author, the qualifications of the author to speak authoritatively on the subject nor any other supportive data.  I've been using bleached flour for fifty years; my mother used it to cook for me and my siblings for twenty years before that.  I'm still here.  None of my family has suffered ill effects from it.  The Internet is perhaps the best vehiclel in the world for perpetuating rumor and misinformation and, skeptic that I am, I'll wait until I either die from unbleached flour consumption or the FDA develops an interest in it's affects on health. 

bassopotamus's picture

I've switched from unbleached to bleached in both bread and AP flours (Cannot get unbleached of either here in decent quantity). I haven't noticed any difference, although haven't done a side by side.

Paddyscake's picture

How many chemicals have I ingested over my life time? I don't want to think about it. I figure I'll do what I can to avoid any more. Most hopeless, I'm sure. Every little bit helps. If I can educate my family and do everything I can to feed them less, it will make me feel a bit better.


tananaBrian's picture

Wow!?  There's a town with a product selection even worse than Fairbanks, Alaska?  Just kiddding ...for a town at the (literal) end of the tracks, our baking products selection isn't half bad.  Once in awhile I have to look a little harder for something, but so far haven't had to order any (edible) products online.

As far as the "bleached is bad" forum discussion goes, note that there's a lot of "we found some compounds" statements followed by "the effects of <fill in the blank> is not well understood."  Emphasis mine.  Ok ...Let some university or the FDA look into it if they want but let's face facts.  Considering the probably billions of pounds of bleached white flour that has been consumed on this planet, you'd think that if there were a problem, that you'd know by now just from statistics.  Personally, I really doubt there is any significant problem with compounds in or resulting from consuming bleached flour.  Also personally, I do always choose flour that is "closer to natural" not to avoid certain compounds, but because I think that the closer you get to what God gave us naturally, the more nutrition and flavor you get, and that's a good thing.  It's also why we grow some of our own veggies, and hunt/fish for our own wild game (untreated by hormones and other goodies) as well.