Bleached Vs Unbleached Flour- Know The Difference
Wondering what’s the difference between bleached vs unbleached flour? Here you go, keep scrolling to know major differences and important aspects related to the usage of both flours.
To be precise, there are plenty of flours available on the shelves of your nearby supermarket, isn’t it? Which one do you use now? Bleached vs unbleached flour, which one am I supposed to use? You will receive your answers. As we said earlier, there are plenty of flours available but most precisely you can bifurcate them between two major categories those are bleached and unbleached flours.
While many people prefer one or the other, most people are unsure of which one to use which makes it important for us to know major points of differences between bleached vs unbleached flour.
Let’s discuss everything one needs to know about bleached vs unbleached flour including their safety, uses, and most importantly their differences.
Bleached Vs Unbleached Flour- Differences
There are certain points of difference between both these flours including the way they are processed, their taste, texture, and their appearance. Let’s see each of these in detail so that even you can figure out which one to bring home for your kitchen the next time.
Processing Of Flours
One of the most important and notable differences between unbleached and bleached flour is the way in which both of these are processed.
Among both the flours, bleached flour is usually refined flour which means that nutrient-rich germ and bran of this flour are removed due to which grain is stripped of its valuable minerals and vitamins. Due to the refining process, all that is left is the endospern of the grain which is later converted to flour.
Whereas, unbleached flour might include any flour which might or might not be refined in nature. After the refining is done or not done, both these flours are milled (a process including grinding grains life grinding wheat to form a fine powder).
After this step is completed, bleached flour is usually treated with some chemical agents like potassium bromate, benzoyl peroxide, or chlorine. These ingredients are used for increasing the aging of the flour. Flour is also aged so that certain quantities are improved which are essential for baking.
After this step is carried out, bleached flour is sent for other important steps that make it amazing for packaging. The chemical process carried out significantly using some ingredients will change the texture, taste, and appearance of the final product delivered. This also helps improve the baking and nutritional qualities of the final product.
On the other hand, if we talk about unbleached flour, it usually ages naturally without using the milling process of adding certain chemicals, unlike bleached flour. Due to the natural aging of this flour, it usually takes more time as compared to bleached flour. This was the main reason due to which the consideration of bleached flour was done.
Unbleached flour is also used in certain dishes or recipes due to its distant properties and texture. This was the main difference between bleached vs unbleached flour. You should know that both these flours are enriched, which is a separate process of adding some valuable nutrients back inside the flour which gets vanished due to milling or other chemical processes in between.
Another point of difference between bleached vs unbleached flours is the characteristics of both flours. The bleaching process carried out produces certain changes in the texture, taste, and appearance of your flour.
Various chemicals used in the process to speed up the aging process of bleached flour result in the white color of the flour, generating softer or finer grain.
Conversely, the bleached flour is known to have a tougher texture and denser grains as compared to the latter one.
It also tends to have an off-white color, which generally fades as the grains age naturally. If we talk about some other important factors like the taste of both flours, you can note that there are not many differences between the varieties, only people having very sensitive palate might sometimes notice the difference which is the slightly bitter taste of bleached flour.
To summarize the important points, bleached flour is white and finer having a softer texture while the unbleached flour has a tougher texture and is dense.
Nutrient Profiles Of Grain
Talking about some important nutritional values of both these flours, they are nearly the same in nutrition which means if nutrition is your only concern, you may buy any one of these without thinking much.
Both bleached and unbleached flour has the same about of calories in them. The amount of protein, carbs, fats, and fiber measures per cup are generally the same. To be precise, it is 125 grams per cup.
The bleaching process carried out in bleached flour might decrease the content of vitamin E slightly, but unbleached flour will still have some amount of essential vitamins in minimal amount. The value of decrease is less than 2% so there is nothing much to be worried about.
However, unrefined or unbleached and whole wheat varieties might be richer than bleached in several important vitamins and minerals. In particular, if we talk about bleached vs unbleached flour, whole wheat flour has more fiber, manganese, vitamin E, antioxidants, and copper-like ingredients or essential minerals.
Both unbleached and bleached flours are mostly enriched in important vitamins like niacin, folate, vitamin B6, and thiamine.
Let’s proceed to some other important differences between both the varieties to help you understand better and have a piece of good knowledge to provide the best flour for your family full of nutritional values.
Safety is another important aspect one should conder while bringing any type of flour in their home or other products from the supermarket.
As you already know by now, the bleached variety of flour is treated with certain chemicals agents to help speed up the process of aging. Which makes it questionable and doubtful for people to trust the flour or not. Let’s consider an added ingredient in bleached flour for example potassium bromate, this is a common additive used in some important dishes like baking bread. This is linked to the damaging of kidney and cancer-like diseases in many studies published for animals. This makes it a cause of concern whether we should bring this flour home or not.
Though it is strictly illegal in some European union, brazil, Canada, Argentina, and Nigeria. But it remains legal and still widely used in some famous regions like the United States.
This was only about one additive used in this flour during the process of bleaching, one more additive is the usage of benzoyl peroxide in the flour. Benzoyl peroxide however is recognized and declared safe by FDA or Food and drug administration.
But, there are a few animal studies and test-tube studies that acknowledge the fact that using this additive might cause damage in antioxidants naturally present inside our body that is very crucial for breaking down certain nutrients present inside the food which also includes some essential fatty acids.
You have to keep in mind that some important researches are still limited to only animals and they are not much related to human beings. These usually use a very high dose of these additives which will declare them unsafe to be used but additives inside the four are in a low amount which means they would not cause harm essentially.
When we use the flour in low amounts, they would not cause any harm and you can easily bring them home considering they are safe for your family.
More research is required to evaluate if using bleached flour is safe or not for humans after it has gone through major bleaching processes.
Let us see what are the differences between bleached vs unbleached flour when we talk about some important uses of these varieties.
Uses Of Flours
Due to so many variations in their texture, quality, and a slight change in taste, both the flours can be used for certain types of recipes. One might taste amazingly delicious with one recipe while the other might be better for some other recipe in some continent.
As you already know, bleached flour has slightly, finer grain and it generally absorbs more liquid, so it works pretty well for some of your favorite recipes like cookies, waffles pancakes, pie crusts, and quick pieces of bread.
Whereas, on the other hand, the denser texture of flour in case of unbleached flour works well with baked goods fir holding a good shape and texture for these varieties of food dishes make it an amazing fit for eclairs, popovers, puff pastries, and yeast bread.
That being said, boh these varieties can be used by interchanging them in most baked food items without significantly having alterations in the final product being made or needing to adjust some other ingredients in the recipe or dish you are preparing for your family.
Final Take On Bleached Vs Unbleached Flour
Now that you know all the major differences between both these flours, it is easy to give a final take on the flour to be used. Note that if you are highly concerned about the usage of chemicals in the flour you want to use, the best is to use unbleached as it has nothing to do with chemicals and is all-natural.
Bleached flour is treated with certain chemicals for increasing its timeline and having it easier to use as we have to wait for long for using unbleached flour due to its naturally drying properties. Both the flours differ in appearance, texture, and potential uses.
Opting for any one variety, let’s say unbleached or while wheat variety might increase the intake of certain important nutrients and minimize the exposure to potentially dangerous or harmful chemicals like potassium bromate or benzoyl peroxide.
However, you should know that both the varieties are used for making separate dishes due to their amazing texture and taste that suits a particular recipe.
You can also use them to make crusts of amazing and delicious mushroom recipes that your family is certainly going to enjoy a lot.