Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bleached Flour

Freshly milled flour is light yellow—not white. The grain takes it color from xanthophylls naturally present in wheat. Exposure to atmosphere oxidizes the carotenoid xanthophylls and, over a month or two, turns flour to a consistent white color. Aging doesn’t just affect the color of the flour—it also improves it. Aged flour is better for baking. Bleaching is a shortcut to flour that is uniformly white.

Peroxides are used as bleaching agents in flour processing. the most common flour bleaching agent is benzoyl peroxide. (Yes, the same benzoyl peroxide topically used to treat acne.) Several nations, including the European Union, Canada, and China, have banned the use of benzoyl peroxide and other peroxides as food additives because of health concerns.



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