Walking through the grocery store yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice the wide open spaces of empty shelves that once was where the flour was kept. In some ways it bothered me, but in some ways it encouraged me! People are buying flour and getting into baking again, and that’s AWESOME!
But one thing I noticed too was the types of flour that was left on the shelves. Now, this didn’t really bother me personally, because I had 40k of organic whole wheat grains sitting in my car, but it did kind of bother me because it made me wonder if people realized exactly WHAT they were buying!
Here are 3 things you might consider when buying flour.
1 – The Nutrient Content
When we first started grinding our own flour, I just thought it was because it tasted better… but what I discovered upon doing further research was that as soon as a grain is crushed and made into flour, it begins to lose vital nutrients.
The longer flour sets after being milled, the more nutrients it looses.
Also, depending on the type of flour you buy, you lose even more of the nutrients! Most of the yummy, healthy fiber, antioxidants and healthy fat found in grains are found in the bran and germ, and that is something only whole-grain flours have.
So in addition to already losing nutrients, white and refined flours have over 50% of the good stuff REMOVED!
2- The Chemical Content
Ever wonder what the “Bleached” and “Enriched” labels on our flour sacks meant? Especially since you can’t find “bleach” in the ingredients list?
“Bleaching” or “Refining” flour is done through a highly chemical process. Here’s a list of some of the chemicals most commonly used to bleach flour.
Please note: the side effects mentioned are side effects of that particular ingredient in and of itself, and does not necessarily mean these symptoms will occur from using bleached/refined flour.
Potassium Bromate (used to artificially age the flour) – Known as a carcinogen with possible side effects of respiratory and nervous system damage.
Azodicorbonamide (used to bleach and artificially age the flour) – One of the “scary” ingredients with possible side effects of immune deficiencies, disrupted hormone function, neurological disorders, cell mutations and cancer.
Chlorine Gas (used to bleach and artificially age the flour) – just nto healthy! possble side effects of respiratory and digestive system damage.
That’s just 3 of them! Here is a list of other chemicals often used in bleaching and refining flours:
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Nitrogen Dioxide
- Axcorbic Acid
- Nitrogen Tetroxide
- Calcium Peroxide
- Nitrosyl Chloride
- Calcium Iodate
- Chlorine Dioxide
Something to note is that bleached flours actually KILL good, authentic bacteria and yeast! This is why you cannot make many artisan and sourdough breads with it.
3- The Baking Results
I know, I know… we’re all spoiled with the mental picture of a beautifully golden brown baked result! But the question I want to ask is this.
If all we are getting is a pretty loaf that does no nutritional or physical good, is it worth making it at all?
So what should we do?
When you are buying flour, look for UNBLEACHED flour, and organic is even better! If you’re not getting the whole grain, at least go for something that doesn’t have the added chemical cocktail!
Get freshly milled, refrigerated whole grain flour from your local health store. Refrigeration slows the break down process and you still get all the yummy bran and germ!
If you can’t do that… At least buy flour that is WHOLE wheat (or rye or other grain)! It still has the bran and germ in it, and will treat your digestive system much better in the long run!
And I STILL came out paying less than $1.50ca (less than 80 cents USD) per ORGANIC WHEAT loaf. Learn more HERE (coming soon!)
Let’s be careful of falling into the trap of grabbing whatever is cheapest on the shelf, because hey! I’ve done it too! Let’s carefully consider these points when buying flour… it may make a health and life-changing difference!
What is your favorite thing to bake with your flour? Comment below with your favorite baked goods!!
Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.