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Wheat Flour, White (industrial), Bleached, Unenriched

Approximate pH Level: +6.0 - 6.3

“Refined flour” has had the germ and bran removed and is typically referred to as “white flour”. “Bleached flour” is any refined flour with a whitening agent added.

Bleached flour is artificially aged using a bleaching agent, a maturing agent, or both. A bleaching agent would affect only the carotenoids in the flour; a maturing agent affects gluten development. A maturing agent may either strengthen or weaken gluten development.

The four most common additives used as bleaching/maturing agents in the USA at this time are:

Potassium bromate (will be listed as an ingredient/additive) – a maturing agent that strengthens gluten development. Does not bleach.

Benzoyl peroxide – bleaches. Does not act as a maturing agent – no effect on gluten

Ascorbic acid (Will be listed as an ingredient/additive, but seeing it in the ingredient list may not be an indication that the flour was matured using ascorbic acid but instead has had a small amount added as a dough enhancer) – Maturing agent that strengthens gluten development. Does not bleach.

Chlorine gas – both a bleaching agent and a maturing agent, but one that weakens gluten development. Chlorination also oxidizes starches in the flour, making it easier for the flour to absorb water and swell – this makes thicker batters and stiffer doughs. For bread, this is bad (because gluten is weakened and bread is heavily dependent on gluten formation), but for cakes, cookies, and biscuits, it’s a good thing, because gluten development in these types of baked goods makes them tough. The modification of starches in the flour allows the use of wetter doughs (making for a moister end product) without destroying the structure necessary for light fluffy cakes and biscuits.[9] Chlorinated flour allows cakes and other baked goods to set faster, rise better, the fat to be distributed more evenly, with less vulnerability to collapse.

Cake flours in particular are nearly always chlorinated. There is at least one flour labeled “unbleached cake flour blend” (marketed by King Arthur) that is not bleached, but the protein content is much higher than typical cake flour at about 9.4% protein (cake flour is usually around 6% to 8%). According to King Arthur, this flour is a blend of a more finely milled unbleached wheat flour and cornstarch, which makes a better end result than unbleached wheat flour alone (cornstarch blended with all purpose flour commonly substituted for cake flour when the latter is unavailable). The end product, however, is denser than would result from lower-protein, chlorinated cake flour.

All bleaching and maturing agents (with the possible exception of ascorbic acid) have been banned in the EU.

pHresh Products™ are editorial opinions of phreshproducts.com, given without warranty, and are not intended to replace the advice of a nutritionist or health-care professional. pHresh Product’s opinions and ratings are based on weighted averages of the nutrient densities of those pH and nutrients for which the FDA has established Daily Values, and do not consider other nutrients that may be important to your health or take into account your individual needs. Consequently, all foods, regardless of their pH and or nutritional value, have the potential to play an important role in your diet.

Source: Nutrient data for this listing was provided by USDA SR-21. Each “~” indicates a missing or incomplete value.

Source: Definition was provided by Wikipedia.

Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

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