Just about everyone in the world knows what white bread is. The vast majority of people who read this article online will have purchased a loaf of it from their grocery store, and most even have some hanging out in their kitchen now. From peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to slices of toast with butter, white bread is found everywhere. The type of flour that makes white bread is also very popular in rolls, croutons, breadsticks, and even most pizza crusts you’re getting when you order in a pie. Though do you know why these products are white? It’s not because wheat grows that way in nature; rather, it’s due to a chemical bleaching process in large factories, where wheat kernels are stripped of their essential body and bleached white with a finer texture and softer look.
Most people do not know that the flour they continue to put in their body is drastically altered with the use of chemicals. This is why upon learning this, millions of people are deciding to change that and are looking for healthier alternatives that have not been overly processed. In short, they’re looking to buy unbleached flour online, from a store like Grainworks, or at their local health food stores, etc. We like to assume everything we find at the store is nice and safe and good for us, but the fact is that flour has been pulverized beyond belief to mass market the stuff.
Here’s some important information on flour bleaching and unbleached flour products.
The Process of Bleaching Flour
Wheat, like any sort of plant life that grows, is packed with a lot of chlorophyll to give it its appearance. When it’s grown naturally, wheat has the appearance of being yellow and brown, which is why all-natural products typically range between a pale yellow up to dark brown. This is merely how this stuff looks in nature once the wheat is ground down and processed to be used in various cooking applications.
In the process of bleaching flour, the wheat is exposed to a chemical treatment that removes the yellow xanthophyll from the product, along with other pigments. This results in a much finer texture, so bakers definitely love it. Once the wheat is ground, it is doused with chlorine gas, nitrogen and chlorine dioxide, calcium and benzoyl peroxides, and other chemicals. Though millions of people prefer this stripped, pulverized, chemically altered flour. It makes light and fluffy cakes and cookies and bread loaves, so most people do not question that they’re loading their bodies up with chemicals when they eat this stuff.
Bleached Flour vs. Unbleached Flour
Now that you know how whole wheat is ground down, beat up, and given a chemical bath, you may be wondering if buying unbleached flour online is a better alternative for you. Just be warned, of course, that when you’re dealing with unbleached flour, you’re dealing with a grain that hasn’t been stepped on and ground-up nearly as much. Unbleached flour isn’t necessarily the same as whole grains, however.
You can still have a finely ground unbleached flour product, and that doesn’t mean that it counts as a whole grain. However, you don’t have all the chemicals on the grain that strip the colour and the other vital nutrients. So unbleached flour is essentially just like a whole grain that’s been ground down a little finer. You’re still getting the fibre and nutrients and the darker, natural colour. What you’re not getting are all the chemicals that the mass production market adds into the product in order to make it more palatable for consumers.
Benefits of Unbleached Flour Over Bleached
To help you better understand what you’re getting with unbleached flour vs. the bleached variety, let’s break it down in terms of how unbleached products can be more beneficial to you. You might be shocked to learn just how much of that natural wheat that you’re losing when the product goes through the chemical bleaching process.
1: More Vitamins
The first benefit of unbleached flour is that it’s still packed with all of those natural vitamins and minerals that whole wheat contains. You’re still getting a big dose of vitamin E when you consume natural flour, and you’re also still getting a lot of vitamin B. These vitamins have been all but stripped out entirely in the bleaching process, so it’s good to know that they’re still present in unbleached varieties.
2: A Softer, Easily Digestible Flour
Unbleached flour is aged in a natural method. To simplify this explanation, the flour is ground up and then basically stored aside, while the wheat’s natural enzymes help to really break down the flour’s tough texture. Many may know that unbleached and whole wheat makes for a “tougher” final product, in terms of texture and chewiness. Though did you know that this stuff breaks down easier in your body? With all the vitamins and minerals and fibre still intact, unbleached flour is actually much softer and your system and breaks down a lot easier indigestion.
3: A Better Taste
Overall, you’re getting a much better taste from your flour, because there’s more of the actual flour there. Think about bread that you’ve eaten that tastes amazing. It’s typically earthy and has that indescribable umami flavour to it. Well, with bleached white flour, they’re faking this taste by loading the bread up with yeast, salt and most prominently, sugar and other additives. So you’re getting an unhealthier product with additives and flavour boosters. With unbleached flour, that stuff is not needed. You’re getting that spectacular bread taste without all the other stuff added.
4: Dietary Benefits
There are also added dietary benefits from unbleached flour. Although it’s not considered a whole grain, you’re still getting more fibre in unbleached products, so it helps better with digestion, and it’s a slower burning carbohydrate in your system that’s not going to just attack and spike your glucose levels like bleached flours will.
If you’re concerned about your health and the quality of what you’re putting into your body, then you may definitely want to consider purchasing some unbleached flour online or at your local store.