A baker in a starched cap kneads dough made of perfect white flour - and then proudly takes out high loaves of bread with a golden crispy crust and a snow-white lush crumb from the oven. Of course, this picture of commercials is familiar to many of us. Bread from the flour "snow white" really looks very aesthetically pleasing. However, are those methods that manufacturers use to achieve the perfect whiteness of their product so harmless?
A bit of history
It would seem that there is nothing particularly complicated in the production of flour: simply passing the grain through a grinding device. Our ancestors used special stone grindstones, later water and windmills appeared. Now lovers of bread and homemade cakes use either special manual grinders or coffee grinders.
But here's the ill luck: no matter how many times you sift the flour at home, it will still retain a grayish tint that will be more or less pronounced. Naturally, the question arises: why is the flour we buy in a store so white? Do the manufacturers have at their disposal special devices that allow them to sift flour to the state of “snow white”?
There is another curious nuance. Housewives who love homemade bread, it is known that homemade flour is a product whose shelf life is extremely limited. It quickly infests bugs, after which it can only be thrown away. At the same time, oddly enough, store flour, "Snow White" attracts all living creatures much less often. What caused this?
Flour Flour - Is It Good?
The first step on the way to the bleaching of flour to the "advertising" state is its cleaning. However, the whole point is that waste is beneficial for our health, giving the flour a grayish tint: fiber, vitamins, and trace elements. That they are so attracted to a variety of worm bugs in homemade flour.
Shop flour from which the lion's share of useful substances is cleaned, can brag of longer period of storage. The problem is that its health benefits are minimal, since it is almost starch in its purest form.
However, cleaning is not all. The next step towards giving the store flour such an aesthetic snow-white hue is bleaching. In order to make their product more presentable, manufacturers use chemicals, not all of which are harmless.
Flour whitening: what is used?
For the bleaching of flour used a variety of substances, both organic and inorganic origin. Consider only the most common ones.
This potassium salt of inorganic origin may be referred to as E924a food additive. It has a high solubility in water. While baking bread under the influence of high temperature, potassium bromate is transformed into potassium bromide. This substance is considered to be harmless. Bread, baked from flour with the addition of bromate, has a very lush and incredibly white crumb.
At the same time, in a number of countries the use of potassium bromate in the food industry is prohibited. These are China, EU countries, Canada, Russia, Brazil. According to animal studies, bromate can provoke the occurrence of malignant tumors of the thyroid gland and kidneys in laboratory rodents.
Chlorine dioxide "hides" under the designation E926. It is an inorganic compound of oxygen and chlorine with a well perceptible odor and powerful antimicrobial properties. It is used in the territory of Russia and Ukraine in order to purify drinking water.
Treatment of flour with chlorine dioxide leads to the complete removal from its composition of a number of essential fatty acids, as well as tocopherols - in other words, vitamin E.
This can cause a shortage of this substance in the body. Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant properties, slows the aging process of cells, contributes to the normalization of hormonal levels.
This substance, which is externally a white powder, is denoted as E928. In the bakery industry, it is used to improve the properties of flour - it becomes looser, "airy" and becomes lighter in color. In addition, E928 is used in the production of oils and cheese, as well as in the cosmetic industry. However, in its pure form, this substance is a dangerous carcinogen.
This organic compound is known as E923 or ammonium salt. It is referred to as the so-called "third class" of danger. This is due to the fact that inhalation of ammonium salt may develop asphyxiation and a strong allergic reaction.
In all countries of the world, the use of E923 in the food industry has been taboo. However, some unscrupulous manufacturers use it as a baking powder for dough and bleach for flour, as well as an additive to confectionery coating. Unfortunately, it is not possible to check whether ammonium salt is present in the flour at home.
It is a compound that is obtained as a result of the oxidation of uric acid. For animals, it is extremely toxic. Alloxan is able to provoke necrosis of pancreatic and kidney tissues, changes in thyroid and adrenal tissues in our smaller brothers. In addition, it is this substance used in the laboratory to provoke experimental diabetes in rodents.
Researchers claim that alloxan is less toxic for humans than it is for representatives of the fauna. However, studies that would finally put an end to this issue have not been conducted to date.
Despite the presentable appearance of white flour, you should not get involved in baking from it. At best, it is simply useless, and at worst it may even be detrimental to health. Therefore, it is desirable to switch to grain bread and master the wisdom of home-made grinding and baking.