Unbleached Flour: A Healthy Kitchen Swap

Many years ago, I attended a class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City with my young daughter. The class was called “Lil Kids Healthy Snacks from Scratch.” The instructor was Katie Newell, author of the blog: healthnutfoodie.com. As a mom, I was working hard to make sure my kids were eating healthy, balanced meals and that I was doing my homework on how to continue working towards a healthier home and good habits for my family.

Katie introduced me to some simple pantry swaps that reduce chemicals in our food and increase nutritional content. I continued that journey with personal research and exploring other natural food influencers such Lisa Leake of 100 days of Real Food.

I made my healthier kitchen swaps slowly and I continue to search for healthier ways to cook for my family without drastically changing our lives or our budget. One of the first changes was the switch to unbleached all purpose flour.

At any given time, there are 6 different kinds of flour in my house, whole wheat, bread flour, whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, coconut flour, corn flour, and always- ALWAYS- unbleached all purpose flour. Everyone should have all purpose flour in their pantry. So, why switch to unbleached?

Bleached all -purpose flour is bleached to speed up the whitening process of the flour. It also strips the flour of some of its protein and other nutrients. Bleached all purpose flour is most often bleached with benzoyl peroxide to make the flour whiter. That makes me think of hair bleach. Hair bleach is definitely not something I want to eat. There are other additives that can be used to bleach flour. Most of them have been linked to cancer, and therefore, banned in the EU, Australia, even China.

Most bakers agree that the texture of bleached and unbleached flour is the same, but the aftertaste of chemicals in bleached flour is a real thing.

What is the cost of this switch? Minimal. Most 5 pound bags of all purpose flour run $1.50-$3.50 for store and national brands. 5 pound bags of unbleached flour can be found for $1.99-$4.99. I like to use Trader Joe’s unbleached all purpose flour which runs $2.99 for a 5 pound bag.

Share your healthy swaps in the comments section below!

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