Bleached flour is all-purpose or plain flour that has been chemically bleached to improve its consistency and baking properties. Unbleached flour is flour that has been aged naturally. Unbleached flour is a better source of vitamin E but bleached flour has a finer grain allowing it to make lighter loafs. Bleaching also makes the flour whiter.
Bleached flour is bleached using chemicals such as organic peroxides, nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and azodicarbonamide. The use of chlorine, bromates and peroxides is not permitted in the EU.
Unbleached flour is aged naturally, as flour becomes bleached over time. However, it never reaches the same consistency as bleached flour.
Bleached flour appears whiter and has finer grains, allowing it to make more flexible dough and lighter loaves. It has less vitamin E than unbleached flour. People with sensitive palettes can sometimes taste a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Unbleached flour has a yellowish tint and produces denser loafs. It has more vitamin E than bleached flour.
Comparing 1 cup of bleached flour vs unbleached flour, Vitamin E is higher in unbleached flour. Rest of the nutritional value is the same in both.
- Vitamin E: Unbleached Flour contains 0.3mg of Vitamin E, whereas bleached flour contains 0.1mg.
- Calories: Both contain the same amount of calories, approx. 455/cup
- Fat: Both contain 1g of fat in both.
- Sodium: Both contain 2mg of sodium.
- Carbohydrates: Both contain 95g of carbohydrate.
- Fiber: Both contain 3g of fiber.
- Protein: Both contain 13g of protein.
- Calcium: Both contain 2% of the daily recommended amount of calcium.
- Iron: Both contain 32% of the daily recommended amount of iron.
- Trans Fat: Both contain 1% of the daily value of trans fat.
Bleached flour is best used for pie crusts, cookies, quick breads like muffins, pancakes, and waffles.
Unbleached flour is used for yeast breads, Danish pastries, puff pastries, strudel, Yorkshire pudding, éclairs, cream puffs, and popovers.