The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

unbleached bread flour

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jimmykx250's picture
jimmykx250

unbleached bread flour

Can somebody shed some light on this for me? Why is it so important to use "unbleached" bread or "unbleached" regular flour when baking and feeding your sourdough. Does the bleaching have an adverse effect on the yeasts? Thanks,

Jim  

mardreygraves's picture
mardreygraves

Jim,

 

My understanding is that it is a human-health issue (as opposed to, say, yeast health or dough vitality.)

Bleaching of flour involves adding some sort of...well, additive (of the chemical persuasion) to the flour, basically to make it whiter ("more appealing," the bleach folks will say, since apparently (???) yellow-tinged flour/bread is "unattractive" for some reason...). Depending on the type of bleaching agent used (benzoyl peroxide and -- gasp -- chlorine are both commonly used), nutrients (including Vitamin E) are lost from the flour, and human health may be affected. Certain types of bleaching agents have been linked to diabetes.

Also, many bleaching agents produce chemical by-products (again, think chlorine) that are environmental toxins that can leach into ground water and cause all sorts of problems.