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What You Need to Know About Flour and Commercially Prepared Breads: A Review
MY FLOUR OF CHOICE: unbleached & unbromated
For the sake of those who may read this that are experts in this area: I am not an expert on these chemicals nor am I an expert on the processes that the bread making and baking ingredients endure. I am a homemaker who wants to be aware of ingredients that are in our foods.
There is much more to be said about bleach and bromate in our foods. Please refer to the sources attached to this article as well as many others that are available. The purpose of this article is to raise awareness so you can make an informed decision about ingredients in your foods and those of your family.
As the cook in the home, you may be the one who selects the flour that will be used for baking and cooking. That, on the surface, may seem like a no-brainer. “Go to the store, grab a bag of flour, check out, and off to bake or whip up a sauce, cake, pie, bread or other culinary delight." If it were that easy there would be no need for this article.
As for my experience with baking it has been over a period of forty years but only just within the last six months I have begun to make bread from scratch. I had tried in the past but all attempts were unsuccessful.
This new interest in baking has lead me to discover facts about flour and commercially prepared breads that I did not know. The purpose of this article is to share this information and give you the opportunity to make in reference to flour and store bought breads including boxed products that contain flour.
The intent of this review is to inform not to frighten or scare or be the little chicken who informed all..."the sky is falling, the sky is falling." I wish I had known this information sooner but it is not widely published. You have to know about it to know you need to look for it.
At your local supermarket, health food stores, and organic food stores, there are many kinds of flours At specialized markets there are many more. And here on the internet are still more.
The focus of this article is on bromated, bleached, unbromated, and unbleached flour.
The explanation for bleaching can be a bit technical but not rocket science. I am attempting to retell what I read at multiple resource sites without overloading you with more than you care to know.
Bleached flour is put through a chlorine gas bath, to put it quite simply, to whiten it and to age the flour. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that "the aging and oxidizing agent that is used is a noxious irritant, unsafe to inhale, and can be lethal." Some agents that are used are oxides of nitrogen, nitrosyl, and benzoyl peroxice mixed with chemical salts. As I am reading this, I am thinking, "Does this sound like something I want in my food?"
And, then I continue to research and find that is not all. As a result of the bleaching process a substance known as alloxan is produced. Again I am thinking this does not sound good. And I am right.
On the loaf of wheat bread my daughter brought over I found that calcium peroxide is listed on the packaging. I had not come across it in my reading so I researched it. It is used as a cleansing agent for flour, among other things. According to most sources, there are no known published reports about dangers associated with its use.
There is a caution to those with asthma or allergies should avoid products that contain it. For more information you can read:
Alloxan remains in the body
While alloxan is not literally added to the flour as a result of the bleaching, it is formed in the flour during the process. This seems to be a way of denying its there while at the same time telling you it is. Without all of the technical information that I came across, I found that alloxan is produced when uric acid decomposes. It is a toxin that is used to cause diabetes in healthy rats and mice in a lab setting. That of course raises a whole new discussion which we will safe for a later time.
So, it causes diabetes in mice and rats. While I am mulling that over, I read on.
As I research further I find that It builds up in our bodies. It does not just pass through. What happens is that it accumulates in our bodies. As a result it can damage DNA in the cells in the pancreas. They will eventually begin to function improperly and die.
This is a sobering thought. For all of these years, we have consumed foods containing these agents and not known that we were doing so. It is not widely advertised. At least I did not know and maybe I missed the meeting where it was announced.
For further clarification you may wish to research for yourself to determine if the loaf of bread or sack of flour in your pantry is something you wish to continue to consume. We at large can make a difference. We can refuse to buy the breads and flours that have been bleached. this applies pretty much across the board to boxed products containing flour as well.
Calcium Peroxide Shown on Packaging of Loaf Bread
Unbleached flour is just what it says no bleaching. The flour is a slightly different color than bleached flour is because it has not been artificially whitened. It is a dull white with a slight yellowish tinge.
Unbleached flour is aged naturally which is one reason it costs more. Rather than being able to be used soon after it is prepared, it takes weeks for the aging process to occur.
As for me personally, I have not noticed any marked differences in preparations using unbleached flour. Some sources report that kneading takes longer however I enjoy the kneading process so really have not noticed the difference. Others report that professional bakers do not like the appearance of the baked goods using unbleached flour. I really have not noticed no difference in this respect either.
All purpose flour: labeled "BLEACHED"
No information about bleaching or bromates on bags of flour
Comparing bleached & unbleached flour
dull white, yellowish
Bleaching chemicals such as organic peroxides, nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, chlorine dioxide, or azodicarbonmide
Less vitamin E. Rest of the nutrition i.e. calories, fats, fiber, proteins, calcium and iron are about the same.
More vitamin E. Rest of the nutrition i.e. calories, fats, fiber, proteins, calcium and iron are about the same.
TEXTURE OF DOUGH
more elastic and pliable dough
takes longer in the kneading process
Flour that is bromated is enriched with potassium bromate which enhances formation of gluten in dough. It is used by some commercial bakers because the dough becomes stronger and more elastic. This is important commercial bakers who mix and make huge quantities of baked goods using flour which requires industrial strength machines.
So that is good right? Stronger more elastic dough? Not really, not when you discover potassium bromate is a carcinogen. Theoretically, it is supposed to bake out during cooking. As for me, I am not a gambler so much. When there is an alternative, I will use that.
Now, it is stated that it has not shown to be hazardous when in baked goods but has produced tumors primarily in the kidneys in lab rats when given orally. I find that a bit troublesome. So somewhere down the road someone develops kidney cancer will they trace it back to potassium bromate??
Potassium bromate has been outlawed in some countries throughout the world. According to some sources I read, the FDA has discouraged its use in the United States.
Again, I am not trying to be that little chicken who keeps running around spouting out horrible things to come. I discovered this information quite by accident and just want to pass it along to my readers.
Ascorbic acid has been used my many flour producers in place of potassium bromate.
white & wheat
$3.24 to $8.40 (not always available)
As was stated at the beginning of this article, I am not an expert on the use of bleach and the used of potassium bromate as it relates to food. All I have attempted to to do in this review is report what I found.
From what I read my conclusion is that I will select unbleached, unbromated flour henceforth. And, I will refrain from buying loaves of bread unless the labeling reads unbleached, unbromated .The flour I just finished using had been labeled unbleached and unbromated. I have not seen any bread labeled that way yet but am sending off letters to the major companies that manufacture and or produce foods with high flour content. My request is that they will provide for us foods without ingredients that are potentially life threatening to us, the consumers.
If and when I hear from them, I will update this article. I hope you will mull over what is presented, do your own research, and draw your own conclusions.
copyright 2011-2012 pstraubie48 TM All Rights Reserved
a detailed explanation is provided at this site.
Information on unbromated flour
copyright 2011-2012 pstraubie48 TM All Rights Reserved