The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Un-Enriched Flour in US?

reighngold's picture

Un-Enriched Flour in US?


This is a two-fold question.

1. Is flour in France Enriched?

2. Is it possible to get unenriched flour in the US? If so, where?

Suffer from IBS and can't really eat bread here in the US but when I went to Paris I ate bread and felt amazing. Dr is guessing it's the enriched flour here in the US. I am all for making my own bread as I LOVE to cook but have realized ALL flour seems to be enriched and some don't say they are but are. Help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you


acb_rn's picture

Your best bet will be to mill your own.  My husband had IBS and it helped.  The lady that cuts my hair, her husband has IBS, and my poundcake made with the fresh ground flour is the only sweet thing that does not make him hurt.

reighngold's picture

Sorry to sound so ignorant but how does one go about grinding their own?

Frankly, I was in Europe (France, England, Netherlands and Spain) and ate everything in site and felt fine. No pain at all. Actually I didn't realize how bad I felt until I came back and it all started up again. While I have a hard time accepting that food here is so bad that I have to go to these lengths to procure decent ingredients, I don't have a hard time believing it anymore.

I would ber VERY interested in how your mill your own flour and how to bake with that flour.

Thanks so much for all your help.

dabrownman's picture

wheat berries with a 15 year old Krups coffee grinder.  We do about 1/2 cup at a time as a larger batch  atually takes longer than 2 smaller ones.  You could do it this way in the short run just to see if your wheat berries actually solve your prblem.  We also source low gluten soft white wheat berries at our local Bosch dealer.  You might try them to see if it is a high gluten problem.

sewgirl's picture

Hello reighngold : )

It's possible that it may not be a problem with the enrichment. 

I have to wonder if you are experiencing the effects of enrichment or gluten...  here are a couple of links that explain the difference in USA and Canadian flour as compared to French, Italian, English types of flour.  

I have a farmer friend, John Simmons who has Celiac and is gluten intolerant.  He finds that he is able to eat the low gluten breads much better than the higher gluten ones that are popular here.  So much so that he grows his own, and also sells it, and shares flour with us because I make low gluten bread from it and share it back with his family. 

It is QUITE fresh as noted above which also makes a difference.  He grinds it several times a year, unlike the big mills, and uses a slow stone grinder that spares the nutrient and shreds the bran making it gut friendly. : )  You might give him a call, he can tell you a lot about living with gluten intolerance and what the symptoms include.  Believe me, he can really talk about it! : )

With best regard,


subfuscpersona's picture

Personally, I don't see how flour enrichment would exacerbate IBS, but you are in charge of your own health.

Commercial unbleached white flour (all-purpose or bread) in the US is enriched by addition of B vitamins, folic acid, iron and malted barley flour.

Organic whole wheat flour I've bought (in the US) is not enriched. I've also been able to buy an organic flour that has some of the bran removed, but still contains part of the bran and and all of the germ of the wheat kernal (this kind of flour is called high extraction flour). Organic high extraction flour I've bought is not enriched.

As mentioned, an alternative to purchasing these kinds of flours would be to mill your own flour from organic hard wheat. In the US, there are two basic kinds of wheat - red wheat and white wheat (white wheat was developed from red wheat and has a similar nutritional profile). Flour milled from hard white wheat is more neutral in taste than flour milled from hard red wheat. Dough development and baking properties are identical.

If you chose to mill your own flour, expect to pay anywhere from $250 up to $600 for a flour mill. You will want a high end mill capable of producing a very fine flour. Your fresh milled flour should feel as fine as a commercial white bread flour; it should not feel gritty. This is especially important since you say you have IBS.

I've only worked with US flours, so cannot compare US flour with French flour. However, many sources note that French flour is lower in protein than US flour. The protein value of wheat is an indication of the gluten-forming property of bread dough made from that flour (higher protein = more gluten). The flour used is only one factor that would distinguish bread made in France from that made in the US, so it's hard to tell why you could tolerate French bread.


Crider's picture

Usually, organic flours are unenriched. For instance, this organic Unbleached White Flour from Bob's Red Mill is unenriched. Check your local health food store. Many of them have bulk bins which enable you to try various flours in small quantities and avoid the shipping costs from ordering direct.

Colby4779's picture

This Link talks about how enrichment is bad for us, even though they tell us it's good.  Enriching the flour makes it a starch which is bad for IBS.Why would someone take something natural, break it down and then add stuff back and try and say its better for us?The article also gives suggestions on alternatives to enriched

The more natural something is, that we consume, the better for us.



laura seim's picture
laura seim

Maybe grinding your own wheat would be the answer. I know the grinders can be a bit pricey, but wheat berries can be really cheap, it would pay for itself in not too long.

kallisto's picture
kallisto (not verified)

what is IBS? Could someoen be so kind and provide an explanation?

G-man's picture
gerhard's picture

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I don't know all the triggers but there is a huge list of foods that make people suffer from cramps to diarrhea.  


PeterS's picture



Wheat is a grass and is cultivated worldwide as a food grain, ranking second in total production as a cereal crop behind maize. Whole wheat is made up of 14% bran, 2.5% germ and the rest is starchy endosperm. Wheat bran has a faecal bulking effect, delays gastric emptying and accelerates small bowel transit (McIntyre 1997). Wheat is found in bread, many breakfast cereals, pasta, cakes and biscuits and is one of the major cereals consumed in the UK. In IBS, wheat consumption is often associated with increased symptoms which may be due to the content of fibre, fructans or resisitant starch. Increasing the variety of other cereals and reducing, but not necessarily, excluding wheat may be beneficial in IBS.

Resistant Starches (RS)

Resistant starch comprises starch polymers that are not readily digested in the stomach or small intestine Resistant starches are the total amount of starches, and the products of starch degradation that resist digestion in the small intestine of healthy people (Asp 1982) and therefore reach the colon intact. The extent of resistance is influenced by the structure of naturally occurring starch polymers and food processing methods employed, e.g. how starch changes during cooking and cooling. People with IBS may benefit from a reduction of foods high in resistant starch to alleviate symptoms of wind and bloating. Common dietary sources of resistant starch are cold or re-heated potatoes, bread, cereal products containing modified starch (e.g. cakes, biscuits and breakfast cereals.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: Diagnosis and Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Primary Care [Internet]. NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 61. National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care (UK). London: Royal College of Nursing (UK); 2008 Feb.

The results suggest that conditions which favour crumb formation also favour formation of RS in these bread types, these conditions include longer fermentation, proofing times and higher temperature, longer baking times., p.23.

High extraction flours (whole wheat) are said to be higher in resistant starch than patent flours.

It appears to me that typical additives to enrich flour should have no effect on the level of resistant starch, except, maybe for malt which under the right conditions might reduce it.

Gluten in itself is not an IBS irritant (not to be confused with Celiacs and related conditions) may interact with the starches making them more difficult to digest; hence, lower gluten and gluten free flours may be beneficial to IBS sufferers.


bonniewriight's picture

King Arthur Organic Flour is not enriched.

dwfender's picture

You can try Cayuga Farms.


They sell to some really phenomenal restaurants here in NYC. Very high quality stuff. 

ananda's picture

Hi Emma,

The short answer to both questions is "no", so long as you are talking about white flour.

Best wishes


tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

ap, bread, and hi-gluten from lindley mills in graham, nc. they manufacture king arthur as well.

ananda's picture


Here in the UK the Bread and Flour Regs make it mandatory for white flour to be fortified.   I was under the impression the the FDA enforced similar legislation in the US.   I surmise that the FDA monitor and advise that fortification takes place at correct dose levels, but that fortification itself is not mandatory.

Here in the UK the Scientific Advisory Committee have just reported to our Food Standards Agency on the very issue of de-regulation on flour fortification.   Frankly, I'd rather use higher extraction flour than have the authorities adding mineral matter to guarantee my diet met minimum nutrition standards.   I just hope some thought is given to ensuring we can all still enjoy good standards of nutrition if this leads to de-regulation.   We really do deserve better bread than the white sliced stuff so dominant in the UK!

Best wishes


habahabanero's picture

Before you invest more time and effort in the search for an American flour that doesn't make your IBS worse, I think you should consider what other major trigger of IBS was missing from your diet whilst (on holiday?) in Europe.  

The single biggest trigger, possibly the only unifying feature of the disease is STRESS, yet it's the only factor most of us can't exclude from our daily diet. Food for thought...

tfriel's picture

While stress could be a trigger I highly resent people suggesting that my physicalproblems are due to an inability to handle stress well.  I have found that canola oil and soy oil are huge factors. Canola is banned in europe and soy is rarely used.  IN addition there is a focus on minimizin additives, pesticides etc to food in Europe that are SOP here in the US.  Finally, we have low variety in the us for wheat that once you develop a sensitivity, you can rarely avoid it becuase nearly everything is made from the same strain.  I also eat bread in Europe and enjoy a great deal of freedom from symptoms such as stomach pain, hives, skin eruptions like psoriasis etc when I am there but upon return deal with all of these regularly.  In fact upon arrival nearly immediately I have a very bad reaction and have to endure a week until I can get it back under control. 

People who do not deal with symptoms of food allergies should not be suggesting that it's all in your head or stress is the cause.  Weneed to be looking at our food supply in the US and asking why food allergies have become a huge issue in this country.  What stresses me is the tendency to assume that people are "just making it up" I hope yo never have to deal with itching 100% of the time, or being unable to sleep because it feels like your bowels are twisted like a pretzel or skin flaking from your scalp like rain. 

JJC's picture

From a medical standpoint, stress can and does cause food allergies. There are many forms of stress, and there can be stress on organs and systems of organs that one can be completely unaware of until breakdown of the organ/s results in some form of physical pain. Stress may not be the reason you are experiencing problems, however it is a huge contributor to the overall health of many people. Its impact can be very diverse depending on the strengths and weaknesses in the constitution of one's body.

As humans, we often do not know our limitations until we have exceeded them. Unfortunately, no matter how strong or weak our bodies are, all of us will eventually succumb to physical breakdown.

Due to your circumstances, I doubt you are experiencing stress-related problems. However, it really does not help anyone to resent the suggestion as it underscores your own attitude toward individuals who are physically susceptible to the devastating effects of chronic or traumatic stress. None of us in this forum knows the others well enough to assume that their lives are easy.

JJC's picture

I've recently discovered that many B vitamins used for enrichment are cultured from a potato base.  Niacin, Thiamin and Riboflavin could very well trigger an IBS flare-up.  Many yeasts are also grown with a potato base (in bread and beer).  Dextrose is a potato sugar and is also in countless products (even staple dairy products) including iodized salt and some sea salts (low grade salts that do not tasted good by themselves).  Potato is also used as a non-caking agent in many ground products including baking powder and most brands of baking soda.  You would think that such minor amounts of a product wouldn't hurt anything, but when your digestive tract is tender/injured and in need of healing, tiny things can cause a lot of pain.  I do not have IBS, but my doc recently recommended removing potato from my diet for other reasons.  Since removing it, I have eliminated abdominal pain.  When I ingest the least bit, I go into severe depression for a few hours.  I'm still amazed that these tiny quantities can cause such drastic responses from the body.

tfriel's picture

yes and vitamin E is often derived from wheat as are many other additives that can bring in hidden allergens not clear on the in gredients lists.

MTHFR Gene Mutation's picture
MTHFR Gene Mutation

I would like to be able to buy non-enriched flour. I have been diagnosed with the MTHFR gene mutation C677T.  It means I lack an enzyme to process certain amino acids and that I cannot process folic acid - I need to take a methyl form of folate (natural, bio available)  and other B vitamins. There is also an indication that folic acid (the SYNTHETIC version of B9) could be bad or could be partially to blame for gluten allergies. Approximately 40% of the population has one or more copies of the MTHFR mutation but most do not know it. Interestingly, most autistic children have tested positive for one or more copies of this gene mutation. Is there a relationship between all of this? Enrichment of foods began in the early 90's, autism began exploding in the early 90's, and some autistic children have improved on gluten-free diets which would also likely be flour-enrichment free as well.  

Anyone haappen to have any more info on this?


rjerden's picture

Hodgson mills flour is the nothing-added flour. It doesn't even have malted barley added. It is a soft-wheat flour likely similar to wheat grown in England and Italy. Some grocery stores here carry it, but not as many as the major commercial brands. Italian flours can be found in some places, particularly specialty stores and they also have nothing added. In addition, they are milled more gently and hence do not have as much free starch as U.S. flours. You will pay a premium for them however.

porchchickens's picture

I am MTHFR heterozygous with two copies of the mutation, C677T and A1298C. My daughter is homozygous with both copies A1298C. My health problems started in the 1990s, when flour enrichment became mandatory in the US. My daughter, who was only born in 2000, has had problems from birth. It manifests in us as an extreme anaphylactic allergic-type reaction with giant hives, but can manifest in many, many ways, including IBS, depression or more serious mental illness, repeated miscarriages, and on and on. We only found out what was causing this after going to a Naturapathic Dr. in sheer desperation, after spending thousands on various specialists and emergency room visits due to life-threating swelling of our faces, necks and throats, among other parts of the body.

Anyone having trouble with eating products containing white flour, but who are fine with whole wheat, should seriously consider getting tested for the MTHFR genetic mutation. It can be difficult to find a doctor who is familiar with this, with the best bet usually being a Naturapathic Doctor. My child's pediatrition knew nothing about it, but fortunately she has a Dr. friend who's a Metabolic Endocrinologist who was able to confirm that it's a real  medical condition and not something made up by our Naturopath.

Even if you can't find anyone to test you for it, just try eating only whole wheat bread, bread with organic non-enriched flour, or imported foods. UK does enrich their flour, but I just looked it up and they DO NOT include folic acid as one of the ingredients. This makes sense-- I buy my daughter imported treats now and then that come from UK,  and we are fine eating them. If you can eat these but not things with American white flour, then bingo, you've found the cause, and should also get yourself the vitamins the other poster mentioned, Methyl Folate and Methyl B12 (methylcobalamine). And it's a good idea to do some research online, as well. is a great resources.

vfloerke's picture

It is the iron flakes that are added to the flour.  We have too much iron in our diets, it is causing glutin-sensitivity and numerous diseases and chronic conditions, as well as decreasing magnesium levels (80% + of Americans are magnesium deficient).  Please read this ground-breaking research!  This is why other countries do not have the same rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc., that we do. Our food pyramid has been poorly advising our diet needs for decades.

MickeyRoss's picture

I am another person who avoids iron Enriched flour as I have Hemochromatosis a genetic condition that causes my body to absorb too much iron. Causes IBS and much more like liver damage. Consuming a slice of bread was worse than eating a steak ( I also have to limit red meats). 

I mill my own flour using organic wheat berries and also use King Arthur's organic flours. I also make my own pasta using whole wheat durum flour that I also mill for myself. 

For years I thought I was gluten sensitive and went gluten free for five years. I tested negative for wheat allergies and celiac disease. I tested positive for genetic hemochromatosis. 

Good thing is I can bread again, I can have pizza again, I can have pasta again. The catch is I have to make my own breads from scratch. I am becoming a very good home baker and what I bake taste so much better than anything I could buy.