Aged flour in breads and cakes improves color and gluten strength.

Aged Flour

Also known as matured flour or unbleached flour


What is Aged Flour?

Aged flour, often called unbleached flour, is aged and bleached naturally by oxygen in the air. It is more golden in color, generally more expensive and may not have the consistency in baking qualities that bleached flour does.

  • It is preferred for yeast breads because bleaching affects gluten strength2
  • It has a creamy color because of the presence of carotenoid pigments in the endosperm

Origin

Since milled flours were an integral part of early humanity, the natural aging process was very much part of the early domestication of wheat crops. Here, flours were often stored for months at a time during winters, leading to a change in color and physical properties. For this reason, the exact origin of aged flour is largely unknown.

However, the benefits of the aging process has been known for thousands of years. Chemical aging dates back to the early 1900’s, when the Pillsbury company pioneered the techniques of chemical aging.

Commercial production

Creating aged flour is quite easy. After milling, the flour is allowed to naturally oxidize until the desired physical properties are reached. However, naturally allowing flour to age is an expensive endeavor. For this reason, chemical methods of aging are often applied by flour producers.

Chemical agents are often added to bleach flours. Unless such addition conceals damage or inferiority or makes the flour appear to be better or of greater value than it is. One or any combination of two or more of the following optional bleaching ingredients may be added in a quantity not more than sufficient for bleaching or, in case such ingredient has an artificial aging effect, in a quantity not more than sufficient for bleaching and such artificial aging effect: Oxides of nitrogen, Chlorine, Nitrosyl chloride and Chlorine dioxide.3

Nutrition

The nutritive properties of aged and fresh flours are indistinguishable. While aged flour does not pose a danger to human health, the use of chemical aging should be viewed with caution, based on the current popularity of clean labels with consumers.

Application

Aged flour commonly has a lighter color than fresh flours. Additionally, aged flour is defined as having greater elasticity.

In general, bread and cake characteristics improves with flour age after each milling and reached a relatively constant value. The post-milling time...


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