The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bleached Baguettes

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Bleached Baguettes

Another combination, basic baguette, combining bleached AP and bread flour with a 48 hour cold fermentation.


 



Click on image to enlarge


These are flavorful, slightly chewy.  Finally found a good use for that ice bucket.

emmsf's picture
emmsf

Why do you use bleached flour?

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I'm a bit of a maverick  ....


When I approach a door marked "pull", I push first.  It's a part of my character to challenge just about any conventionally held wisdom.  You can imagine how hard my poor mother had to work to keep me in line when I was a child.


I use both bleached and unbleached flour, but I like using bleached flour because of all the claims I've read about it's not being suitable for bread making.  Some claims focus on alleged health risks (I'm 72 and I've used it all my life without a problem) and others claim that the bleaching of the flour adversely affects the formula.  Neither of those claims are supported by my own experience.


I've learned that it's more about how you handle the flour than the type of flour you select for making your bread.

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Glenn

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Yes.  I've even defied my table saw; I have an odd looking "repaired" thumb to prove it.  But I draw the line with challenging sharks for space in the surf. 

proth5's picture
proth5

No difference?


I'm the last one to call bleached flour unsuitable for bread baking - because of course some of us used it for years and made very nice breads.


And we've all got to go somehow from something, so I'm not a big adherent to the "bad for you" school on unbleached flour.


But you don't see any difference with crumb color?  None?  I've never seen the intensely yellow crumb that I get with unbleached flour when using bleached.


I don't want to start a major controversy here, but I've spent a lot of energy studying flours and I know that flour makes a differrence, too.  Even if I handled a bleached flour exactly as I handle unbleached I would get a different result.  I won't call either inferior but they will be different. 


Maybe I'm extending your statement too far, because I know that there are a number of factors in the flour that will make profound differences in the bread that is produced...

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Well, I didn't say there was absolutely no difference.  What I said was that I haven't found any evidence that " bleaching of the flour adversely affects the formula."  Nevertheless, your point is well taken.  I don't include crumb color as an adverse affect on the formula and, as you point out, there are some minor differences in how the bread finishes, e.g. crumb color.  But I wouldn't describe any of the minor differences that might result from using bleached flour as contrary to my goal of making a good loaf of bread.  Besides, in candle light with a glass of good wine, nobody notices the subtle difference in crumb color.

proth5's picture
proth5

I'd be massing the candles together and complaining that in that light I couldn't evaluate crumb color properly, but you gotta be you and I gotta be me! :>)

emmsf's picture
emmsf

I agree you can make perfectly nice bread with bleached flour, and to be honest, a pure white loaf has it's appeal. But the carotenoid pigments that give unbleached flour it's off-white color actually have a flavor. It's the same when it comes to overmixing dough. One of the problems with overmixing is that it tends to oxidize the natural pigments in the flour, resulting in a whiter loaf. Just as with bleaching, which is just a chemical oxidation, this affects taste. Perhaps it's just incrimental, but in my view it all adds up.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I seem to recall reading something like that in one of Dan Muzio's books and with that kind of authortative backing I'd be a fool to argue an opposing view.  Dan is one of my heroes in the art of bread making.


If I'm baking for competition I'll use all those characteristics offered by various types of flour to make a worthy showing but, for most of my every day baking, I don't need that degree of perfection and I save a few bucks in the process.

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

There are people on this and other forums who will stop at nothing, including common courtesy, to try to impose their values and personal preferences on others. Baking with bleached flour, eating meat, and (OMG) using anything other than organic "everything" is not a crime, and will not kill you. 


Do your own thing and ignore the noise.


Michael

emmsf's picture
emmsf

Nothing in this thread lacks common courtesy, and no one is imposing anything on anyone.  It's just a thoughtful exchange of ideas.  I learn things here every day, and I suspect others do to.

emmsf's picture
emmsf

Yes, Dan is one of many bread heros of mine.  What little I know about bread I initially learned at the San Francisco Baking Institute, and they too made a big deal about this bleaching business.  But I completely agree - for everyday baking, do whatever works best for you!

BusterBaker's picture
BusterBaker

     
Wish I could get coloring like that on mine.  The brown with hints of an earthy red look very appealing.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Thanks for the nice comments.  I've tried here, as I try to do on my web site, to reveal the fact that there are some very good, inexpensive and generally worthwhile methods for making simple breads without going to a great deal of work and/or expense.  Simple bleached AP flour is perhaps the most readily available of all types of flour and learning how to use it effectively in preparing a good loaf of bread that brings with it sense of pride in the accomplishment will, I think, be a step forward for anyone who has been reluctant to venture out into the world of bread making.


The page:


http://www.flournwater.com/food_017.htm


is one of my formulas that costs about thirty five cents to make.  Therefore, using it as a learning tool is, I believe, helpful to many who are nervous about combining the four basic ingredients.  I sometimes think we scare people off with all the technical talk about starters, sourdough formulas, etc.  They need reassurance and if they realize that you can't make a good sourdough or any other special formula bread until you've learned to make a basic form of bread we may keep more of them interested in this beautiful art form.