The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

King Arthur Flour and Enricnment

Petek's picture

King Arthur Flour and Enricnment

I noticed that some King Arthur flours (such as AP and Bread flour) are no longer enriched. By "enriched" I mean the addition of thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid and iron. I was under the impression that the FDA required flours such as these to be enriched. However, I found that was not the case. I asked KA why they no longer enriched these flours. Here's their reply:


Thank you for your inquiry into why we stopped enriching our flour!

This practice of white flour enrichment began in the 1940s, during wartime, when food was being rationed and nutrients were scarce. The goal was to add back nutrients lost in processing, including iron and B vitamins. In 1943, the War Foods Administration issued an order which made enriched bread the temporary law of the land.

Much has changed since that time. White flour is no longer relied upon for B vitamins and iron, given changes in eating habits and the availability of nutrients in other foods and supplements.

With a mission that’s always centered on providing the purest, highest quality flour, we decided to remove the enrichments, allowing our Signature white flours to contain only the ingredients that contribute directly to their superior bakeability.


Other millers, such as Bob's Red Mill and General Mills, still enrich their flour.

BaniJP's picture

I have always been curious about enriched flours in USA, because here in Germany that is just not a thing. Okay, maybe some baked goods contain enriched flour and occasionally there is ascorbic acid in one of 50 flour packages, but that's about it.

Just googled it, it's allowed in EU, but apart from some Eastern countries nobody does it.

naturaleigh's picture

Hi Petek!  I was curious about this because Bob's Red Mill is my fallback, so I hopped over to their site.  It looks like some of their 'conventional' flours are enriched (AP, artisan flour), but most of the whole wheat and organic flours are not.  Thanks for bringing this up, because I never thought to look.  I assumed no one was doing this any longer.  This is an aspect that could affect bakes I guess.  Good topic!

albacore's picture

All UK flour (except wholegrain) is still enriched. BTW, enrichment includes addition of calcium carbonate at the old school rate of 14oz per 280lbs of flour.

There was a fairly recent review of flour fortification in the UK with consultation and it was decided to keep its addition mandatory. One useful side effect of this is that there is always enough calcium for good breadmaking, otherwise in soft water areas it might be necessary to add some calcium to avoid "gummy crumb".

As an aside, the 280lbs of flour referred to above is the weight of a sack of flour back in the day - the kind of thing that bakers used to chuck over their shoulder many times a day!


idaveindy's picture

"As an aside, the 280lbs of flour referred to above is the weight of a sack of flour back in the day - the kind of thing that bakers used to chuck over their shoulder many times a day!"

Reference, please?

280 pounds is 20 stone. I could believe someone regularly lifting an imperial "cwt", hundredweight, centum weight, "quintal", of 8 stone, or 112 pounds.

Cwt is/was a standardized unit of measure for commerce.  "Quintal" is, or was recently, used as a commerce measure in South America.

"Back in the day", physical laborers were likely stronger than today.  And today, 50/55 pounds is the lifting "norm" so to speak.  

So, I can believe workers used to regularly lift twice as much as today.  But 5 times as much as today?  

idaveindy's picture


In British usage, a sack of flour was equivalent to 20 stone, 280 pounds (127 kg) or one-eighth of a long ton. A sack of coal was 16 stone, or 224 pounds (102 kg), while the weight of a sack of wool depended on who was selling it. A sack of grower's wool was ​3 1⁄4 hundredweight or 364 pounds (165 kg), whereas a sack of dealer's wool was considerably lighter, at 240 pounds (109 kg).[11]


This "sack" was a "unit of trade," not necessarily a package/unit intended to be carried by a person.

albacore's picture

Dave, I can assure you that the 280lb sack was definitely a supplied physical unit, not just a unit of trade.

Here for instance is a question in Hansard, the UK parliamentary record from 1932:

"Flour Mills (Sacks, Weight)

09 June 1932
Volume 266

asked the Home Secretary what progress has been made under the safety-first scheme to reduce the weight of sacks in flour mills from 280 lbs. to 140 lbs.; and what proportion of flour is now being handled in the mills by means of the smaller sacks?

My information is that further progress has been made, and that the use of 280 lb. sacks has been practically abandoned throughout the country. There are exceptions at two or three mills, which, however, use 140 lb. sacks for 50 to 60 per cent. of their output, and only supply the larger sacks at the request of the buyers concerned. I am making inquiry into the special circumstances at those mills."

This suggests that the 1930s were probably the last days of the 280lb sack.

I can only find anecdotal evidence of handling 280lb sacks. There was a BBC program a few years ago called Victorian Bakers and I found this comment in a discussion on the Digital Spy forum:

    stargazer61 wrote: »
    They almost certainly would have had some form of trolley or barrow. Heavy goods like that have been moved on 'trolleys' for thousands of years. The only real lifting would be loading or unloading or carrying just a few feet.

Steve9214 wrote: »
No way.
Most bakehouses had a flour loft, and the bags would be carried up an external flight of stairs by the Miller's draymen.

The Bakers would then tip the bag of flour down a chute into the bakehouse, or down a chute that was positioned over the mixing bowl.

280lb was a "sack" of flour and a baker would have to lift it single handed.

I started working in bakeries when 32kg was the new standard bag size, 70lb or quarter of a sack. I was expected to carry one of those on each shoulder.

A trolley would be useless. "

I suspect that the likelyhood is that in the main the 280lb sack was carried by two people, but dragged and tipped (and sometimes carried) by one person.


idaveindy's picture

"not necessarily a package/unit intended to be carried by a person."

I agree it was a physical unit of trade and delivery, as were the sacks of coal, wood, and wool.

I disbelieve that men were expected to carry it one-man-carrying-one-280-pound sack.

Roll it off a wagon onto a trolley or wheel-barrow, yes.  Dragged and tipped, yes.  But -carried- by one, more than a few steps, no.  Two people, yes.

They also had block-and-tackle to get heavy objects up to higher levels.  I've seen pictures of those at stone mills.

Perhaps the bakers themselves petitioned/lobbied the regulators to specify smaller bags so they could get by with one assistant baker to lug the bags instead of two.

Tales of men carrying 280 pounds on a regular basis sound a bit too Paul Bunyon-esque.


albacore's picture

Paul Bunyon-esque or not, here is another comment on the practice. You can find it on page 81 of "The Modern Practical Bread Baker" by Robert Well p.1872.



MTloaf's picture

Yet this pernicious system is still carried on, more from want of thought...  A lot of that still going around in this day and age.

idaveindy's picture

I'm impressed with their strength and hardiness  in those olden times, as well as with your research skills!

280 pounds, ... holy-moley.

You made me change my opinion, Lance.  So, a salute/tip-o'-the-hat  to you!  I'll be more wary of you in the future. :-)


albacore's picture

Thanks for your comments Dave, but there's no need to be wary of me! We all bake together here, in spirit, if not in distance; there's no need for conflict.

Just take the time to evaluate each post or comment on its own merits.



Santefe1234's picture

I am very glad to learn that King Arthur flour is no longer enriched!  I have an MTHFR deficiency - which means my body can process natural folate but not the man made chemical of folic acid.  Most people’s system can throw off the synthetic folic acid, but mine CANNOT.  Which means it stores up the folic acid and causes organ toxicity.  So, yes,  I am SO EXCITED to learn that King Arthur no longer enriches their flour!  Thank you, King Arthur Baking Company! 


whm1974's picture

Never heard of MTHFR Deficiency. Can you explain this?