People food for thought Part XII: Flour

 In the previous entry titled People food for thought Part IV: Whole Grain“, I wrote a little bit of difference between bleached flour and unbleached flour, but here, I would like to write how flour is made.

 At many household, all purpose flour is staple flour in the kitchen. If you look around at the baking aisle at the grocery store, you would find all kinds of flours in the shelf. You would see that each flour is made from different kind of grains etc but how are they made?

 How flour is made?

 I came across a website called “Nutrition Action
” that you can see the whole grain picture. As you see in the picture,
whole grain is a berry that contains all parts; endosperm, bran/kernel,
and germ.

 According to Los Angeles Times article written by Jeannine Stein,
endosperm has few nutrients and it is starchy part. Then, bran/kernel
is the part where you get most fiber from, and germ is the part where
you get most nutrients from such as Vitamin B and Irons.

 Types of whole grains include whole-wheat berries, bulgur, brown rice, whole cornmeal, popcorn, whole oats and millet.

 Jeannine states that refined flour removes bran/kernel,leaving just endosperm. Then,
to compensate for the loss of the nutrient in the process of making
refined flour, company would add the vitamins back in by fortifying the
products with lost nutrients such as thiamine,riboflavin,folic
acid,niacin, and iron (enrichment additives).This is the term where “enriched” flour coming
from.

 To read Los Angeles Times article written by Jeannine Stein, please click here .

 All purpose flour is, according to wheat food council, ground endsperm made from combination of soft and hard wheat,which makes the flour medium protein amount.

 With all purpose flour, there are two kinds of flour at the baking aisle;unbleached flour and bleached flour.

 Bleached flour is, result from modern industry has discovered the way to speed up the flour’s aging process.

 With Natural aging process (natural oxidizing process), it takes 3-4 weeks. To speed up the aging process, industry discovered that if they have added chemical additives, it can artificially age the flour in short time and put them on the store quicker.

 According to the book titled “Bread” written by Jefferey Hamelman, flour that is chemically bleached virtually no need aging, and it can be made within a couple of days as opposed to 3-4 weeks of natural aging process.

 By chemically aging the flour, the flour loose its component of cartenoid pigments and aroma,flavor, crumb color. With comparison of color, bleached flour is witish as opposed to creamy tint to the flour of naturally aged unbleached all purpose flour.

 Jefferey writes that as the way to bleach the flour, industries would use the chemical called benzoyl peroxide toward the end of the milling, and this chemical would artificially whiten the flour and oxidize it.

 At the same time, cholorin gas is also used as bleaching agent,generally for the cake flour. What it does is that it will whiten the flour and lower the ph in the flour.

 Sometimes, bleached all purpose flour contains ADA ( Maturox), and it oxidize the protein in the flour and reduce mixing time,increase dough strength,and increase the volume of the bread.

 Another one is called ascorbic acid, and it increase the elasticity in the dough  and just like ADA, it is there to increase the volume of the bread.

 Therefore, unbleached flour is basically a flour naturally aged and oxidized in the air,taking about 3-4 weeks of slow process till it gets placed at the baking aisle.

 As you may notice from all the entries in the past for this blog, I prefer the food items less processed and, I am not a big fan of stuff that contains bunch of additives,chemicals to make them more appealing to the consumers’ eyes or make them get them to the store faster for quick sales.

 I use unbleached flour for cooking/baking for family and also for furriends at Yassy’s Gourmet Dog Kitchen.

 When you buy a loaf of bread, take a look on the ingredients list and see what are used to make the bread. I have noticed that many of commercially made bread has high fructose corn syrup,soybeans oil partially hydrogenated, etc and sometimes it has ingredients printed “natural flavor”. What is “natural flavor” specifically??

 Buying a commercially made bread is quick way to put the food on the table, but if you could bake the bread on weekend,nutritionally, it will be much much better because homemade bread does not require bunch of additives,chemicals,artificial favoring you see in the products.

 Making pizza at home from scratch is fun and healthier way than calling for the delivery to your door.

 It takes time, but make it with your kids or family member and most of all, freshly made bread tastes much better and aroma is indescribable.

 When I bake pizza or bread, I make many, and freeze them. When I wanted to have pizza, for example, I can just take the homemade pizza/bread in the freezer, and warm them up and eat them.

 As last note, I just came across the storage tip of the flour in the local newspaper article. So, I thought I would share with you.

 With basic flours (all purpose, cake,pastry,bread flour), put them in sealable plastic bag or air tight container and keep them in cool room temperature.

 You can also freeze the flour but when you need to use the flour, bring the flour back to the room temperature before using.

 More tips on flour storage can be found at the news paper article written by Noelle Carter here.


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Apr 24, 2011 | 0 | Uncategorized

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