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Foods -- Breads and Grains

What is bleached flour?

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Freshly milled flour is yellowish in color due to the presence of carotenoid pigments. When used in baking, it gives a product of lower volume and coarser texture. The quality of the flour improves with aging or by adding chemical substances. These include benzoyl peroxide (bleaching), chlorine, nitrosyl chloride, chlorine dioxide, and azodicarbinomide (maturing). Potassium bromide is currently under examination and it is predicted to be removed from use soon. Europe and Canada no longer use it. If any of these are added, the product must be labeled "bleached."

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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