The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Bleached bread flour for sourdough? (not for starter)

Zadok's picture

Bleached bread flour for sourdough? (not for starter)

Okay, still fully a newbie! Made several loaves of artisan bread, now onto sourdough!

I just started with starter. Feeding with *unbleached* flour.

But the big box stores all sell only *bleached* flour. Once I get the starter okay, can I actually make the bread using *bleached* flour? Or should I only and always stay with unbleached. (I have to buy unbleached either in a few grocery stores or online - just the $$, that's all!)


phaz's picture

Either would be ok if adjusted for. Expect slower times. Enjoy!

Zadok's picture


Abe's picture

It'll work fine with bleached flour. When making a starter the yeast and bacteria come with the flour and it'll be best if you avoided bleached flour. Once it's strong and mature it'll eat up any food [sugars] you feed it. 

Zadok's picture

Great, thanks!

Isand66's picture

What stores are you referring to?  Costco and BJs in NY both sell King Arthur Flour and another brand as well that are unbleached.  Where are you located?

Zadok's picture

Raleigh. Costco doesn't sell King Arthur. Best price I can find is at Wal-Mart. 

Isand66's picture

Do you have a Sam’s Club?  If you join the KAF rewards club it might be good from them as well.

Gentle One's picture
Gentle One

If you are in or near Raleigh, NC, USA, Lowe's foods, Publix, and Harris Teeter all stock King Arthur flours, and perhaps Whole Foods as well.  I have purchased KA flour in all but Whole Foods (never actually looked for it there).  Also, BJ's usually carries 12 lb bags of KA all-purpose.

Sabina's picture

I use bleached flour all the time and I have not noticed any difference between it and unbleached white flour. Like you, it's just easier for me to find bleached flour, and it's usually the cheapest option. I even made my starter with it. You'll be fine.

KimberlyM's picture

I am pretty sure Food Lion has KA unbleached flour as well. 

tpassin's picture

I usually use Gold Medal All Purpose Unbleached, and to me it seems to work the same as KA All Purpose.  I've tried Pillsbury AP Unbleached a few times and it seemed to perform the same too.

Gold Medal Bread Flour has a lower protein content than KA's bread flour, so I tend to go with KA, unless my supermarket only has the one but not the other.

The Harris Teeter page for the (Raleigh area) Glenwood Village store lists Gold Medal All Purpose Unbleached flour, and I imagine the other branches do as well.  The same store's page also lists KA AP and Bread flours.

doughooker's picture

I tried using bleached flour exactly once. Never again! It has a pronounced chemical aftertaste from the chemical(s) used to bleach it.

Stick with unbleached; you'll be much happier with the result. If all else fails you can order it on line, or you could ask your local grocer to get it for you. Any brand of unbleached AP flour will do.