Which Is Better Bleached or Unbleached Flour?

Which Is Better Bleached or Unbleached Flour

If you have encountered two types of flour in the supermarkets and are unsure about them, we have got you covered. 

Bleached and unbleached flour are pretty common. While some people prefer the former, others like the latter one more. Even though they may appear the same, there are major differences between their method of processing, texture, taste, uses and safety. 

In this article, we will cover all these aspects and compare bleached vs. unbleached flour. 

Difference Between Bleached and Unbleached Flour

Let’s find the difference between the two under different heads, such as-

1. Processing 

Bleached flour: Bleached flour is made after removing the bran and germ of wheat kernel. It is refined and contains only the endosperm. In the process, most of the nutrients are lost. 

During processing, bleached flour is treated with different types of chemicals to hasten its aging process. It is done to make it suitable for baking purposes. 

As the flour undergoes chemical treatment, its texture, taste, appearance, and nutritional profile change. The chemicals used in preparing bleached flour are (1)-

  • benzoyl peroxide
  • potassium bromate
  • chlorine

Unbleached flour- Such flour could be refined or not refined. Usually, it is allowed to age naturally after the milling process, which takes significantly more time than bleached flour. 

At times, certain nutrients, especially B vitamins like folate, niacin, vitamin B6, and thiamine are added to these flours to bring back their nutritional content. 

2. Features 


Due to processing bleached flour has a refined texture. It is whiter, finer and softer than the unbleached flour. 

On the other hand, unbleached flour is off-white in color with a dense and tougher texture.

3. Nutrient Profiles

When it comes to the nutritional content of bleached vs. unbleached flour, they provide almost the same amount of proteins, carbs, fats, and calories. 

However, the vitamin E content in bleached flour is slightly less than unbleached flour as it washes away after processing. 

If you consume flour that is unbleached and unrefined, you are probably getting more nutrients (2), such as-

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin E
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Antioxidants

4. Safety

When it comes to safety, bleached flour often comes under scrutiny. It is mainly because of the chemicals used to hasten its aging process. 

For instance, calcium bromate is linked with cancer and kidney disorders (3). Likewise, benzoyl peroxide is reported to harm the antioxidant status in the body (4). 

5. Uses 

Due to its refined texture, bleached flour is used for baking purposes. It is used for making cakes, cookies, breads, pie crusts, etc. On the contrary, the dense texture of unbleached flour makes it suitable for puff pastries, yeast breads, eclairs, etc. Its texture helps baked goods hold their shape better. 

For better understanding, below is the table differentiating between bleached and unbleached flour under different aspects-

AspectBleached FlourUnbleached Flour
Processing MethodChemically treated to whiten and age the flour quickly.Naturally aged or allowed to mature over time.
Whitening AgentsChemical bleaching agents such as chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide.No bleaching agents used.
Color and AppearanceWhite and bright in color, often with a finer texture.Creamy or off-white color, with a slightly coarser texture.
Flavor and AromaMay have a slightly milder flavor and odor due to the bleaching process.Generally has a stronger flavor and aroma compared to bleached flour.
Gluten ContentTypically slightly weaker gluten structure due to the bleaching process.Generally stronger gluten structure, which may result in chewier baked goods.
Baking PerformanceMay result in softer baked goods with a lighter texture.May produce slightly denser baked goods with a more rustic texture.
Absorption RateMay absorb liquids more quickly compared to unbleached flour.Slightly slower absorption rate compared to bleached flour.
Shelf LifeTypically longer shelf life due to the bleaching process.Slightly shorter shelf life compared to bleached flour.
AvailabilityMore widely available and commonly used in commercial baking.Available in most grocery stores, often preferred by home bakers for its natural qualities.
Nutritional ContentNutritional content may be slightly altered due to processing.Generally retains more of the wheat’s natural nutrients and vitamins.
PriceOften slightly cheaper compared to unbleached flour.May be slightly more expensive due to its natural processing.


People who are very specific about what’s in their platter make a choice between bleached vs. unbleached flour on different aspects. When it comes to health, unbleached flour secures more points as it doesn’t age after using any chemicals. However, when it comes to texture and taste, the unbleached flour is preferred by many. 

So, if you are more health conscious than a foodie, go for unbleached flour that ages naturally after milling, and if you want to satisfy your taste buds more, unbleached flour is your go-to option. 

Do not forget to prioritize your health before anything else!

Image Source : canva

Related Articles

Was this article helpful?