Yes Debbie, there really is a difference. In short, manufacturers add chemicals to make the flour prettier. If you compare side by side bleached and unbleached flour, unbleached flour has a yellow/brown tinge to it. This is apparently undesired so manufacturers started bleaching to create a uniform color. There are certain chemicals that both bleach AND condition, although conditioning can be done through age alone. 🙂 ~Tiffany
I made this with Organic Unbleached White Flour. It’s freshly milled from hard red wheat. It’s not enriched with additives but it has the same high protein flour that is used by professionals. It provides the perfect texture for loaves or bread of even light, airy baked good too. They even make a Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour too, just a tip for those that may be gluten-free too.
|Bleached Flour||Unbleached Flour|
|Color||White||Less white / yellowish|
|Bleached using||Bleaching chemicals such as organic peroxides, nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, chlorine dioxide, or azodicarbonmide||Aged naturally|
|Quality||Finer grain, making a lighter loaf||Tougher grain, making a denser loaf|
|Nutrition||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.|
With flour tortillas, check if they're made with bleached or unbleached flour and go with unbleached if possible. Common bleaching agents include acetone peroxide and benzoyl peroxide—as in, acne-fighting benzoyl peroxide, says Jones.
Although there are many types of flour, all-purpose (or occident) flour is used most frequently. Bread flour is higher in protein. Unbleached flour is simply not as white as bleached.
Whole-wheat flour is brown in color, and is derived from the complete wheat kernel (the bran and germ). When used in bread baking, it gives a nutty flavor and a denser texture when compared to all-purpose flour. Bread does not rise as high in whole-wheat breads, which is why a mixture of both whole-wheat and white flour is often used when baking.
Cake flour has the least amount of gluten of all wheat flours, making it best for light, delicate products such as sponge cakes, genoise, and some cookie batters. Cake flour often comes bleached, which gives it a bright, white appearance.
Pastry flour also has a low gluten content, though it contains a bit more than cake flour. Made from a soft wheat flour, it is used for making tart and pie doughs, some cookie batters, and muffins.
High-gluten flour is milled from hard wheat and has a high protein content, making it high in gluten.
Most people think of flour in terms of wheat flour. When in fact, flour can be ground from a variety of nuts and seeds. Some types of flours available are: amaranth, arrowroot, barley, buckwheat, chickpea, corn, kamut, nuts, oats, potato, quinoa, rice, rye, soy, spelt, tapioca, teff, wheat, and vegetables.
American flours and British equivalents:
Cake and pastry flour = soft flour
All-purpose flour = plain flour
Bread flour = strong flour, hard flour
Self-rising flour = self-raising flour
Whole-wheat flour = wholemeal flour