Maida is a white flour from the Indian subcontinent. Finely milled without any bran and bleached, it resembles cake flour. Maida is used extensively for making fast foods, baked goods such as pastries, several varieties of sweets, traditional flatbreads. Owing to this wide variety of uses, it is sometimes labeled and marketed as "all-purpose flour", though it is different from all-purpose flour. Maida is made from the endosperm and it is developed from the starchy white part of the grain; the bran is separated from the germ and endosperm, refined by passing through a sieve of 80 mesh per inch. Although yellowish due to pigments present in wheat, maida is bleached, either due to atmospheric oxygen, or with any of a number of flour bleaching agents. While it is milled from winter, wheat that has a high gluten content, heat generated during the milling process results in denaturing of the protein, limiting its use in the preparation of leavened breads. A common misconception is that maida contains alloxan, which itself is banned in developed countries for usage in food, added as a bleaching agent or formed as a byproduct of bleaching.
While it is a minor product of xanthophyll oxidation, there is no evidence that trace amounts of alloxan formed comprise a health risk. Research has shown. Maida is used extensively in Central Asian cuisine from the Indian subcontinent. Flatbreads such as naan and tandoori roti are made using maida. Bhatoora is a deep-fried, leavened bread made with maida and yogurt; the famous Kerala parotta is made using maida. Atta Graham bread Semolina
Chlorine is a chemical element with symbol Cl and atomic number 17. The second-lightest of the halogens, it appears between fluorine and bromine in the periodic table and its properties are intermediate between them. Chlorine is a yellow-green gas at room temperature, it is an reactive element and a strong oxidising agent: among the elements, it has the highest electron affinity and the third-highest electronegativity on the Pauling scale, behind only oxygen and fluorine. The most common compound of chlorine, sodium chloride, has been known since ancient times. Around 1630, chlorine gas was first synthesised in a chemical reaction, but not recognised as a fundamentally important substance. Carl Wilhelm Scheele wrote a description of chlorine gas in 1774, supposing it to be an oxide of a new element. In 1809, chemists suggested that the gas might be a pure element, this was confirmed by Sir Humphry Davy in 1810, who named it from Ancient Greek: χλωρός, translit. Khlôros, lit.'pale green' based on its colour.
Because of its great reactivity, all chlorine in the Earth's crust is in the form of ionic chloride compounds, which includes table salt. It is the second-most abundant halogen and twenty-first most abundant chemical element in Earth's crust; these crustal deposits are dwarfed by the huge reserves of chloride in seawater. Elemental chlorine is commercially produced from brine by electrolysis; the high oxidising potential of elemental chlorine led to the development of commercial bleaches and disinfectants, a reagent for many processes in the chemical industry. Chlorine is used in the manufacture of a wide range of consumer products, about two-thirds of them organic chemicals such as polyvinyl chloride, many intermediates for the production of plastics and other end products which do not contain the element; as a common disinfectant, elemental chlorine and chlorine-generating compounds are used more directly in swimming pools to keep them clean and sanitary. Elemental chlorine at high concentrations is dangerous and poisonous for all living organisms, was used in World War I as the first gaseous chemical warfare agent.
In the form of chloride ions, chlorine is necessary to all known species of life. Other types of chlorine compounds are rare in living organisms, artificially produced chlorinated organics range from inert to toxic. In the upper atmosphere, chlorine-containing organic molecules such as chlorofluorocarbons have been implicated in ozone depletion. Small quantities of elemental chlorine are generated by oxidation of chloride to hypochlorite in neutrophils as part of the immune response against bacteria; the most common compound of chlorine, sodium chloride, has been known since ancient times. Its importance in food was well known in classical antiquity and was sometimes used as payment for services for Roman generals and military tribunes. Elemental chlorine was first isolated around 1200 with the discovery of aqua regia and its ability to dissolve gold, since chlorine gas is one of the products of this reaction: it was however not recognised as a new substance. Around 1630, chlorine was recognized as a gas by the Flemish chemist and physician Jan Baptist van Helmont.
The element was first studied in detail in 1774 by Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, he is credited with the discovery. Scheele produced chlorine by reacting MnO2 with HCl: 4 HCl + MnO2 → MnCl2 + 2 H2O + Cl2Scheele observed several of the properties of chlorine: the bleaching effect on litmus, the deadly effect on insects, the yellow-green color, the smell similar to aqua regia, he called it "dephlogisticated muriatic acid air" since it is a gas and it came from hydrochloric acid. He failed to establish chlorine as an element. Common chemical theory at that time held that an acid is a compound that contains oxygen, so a number of chemists, including Claude Berthollet, suggested that Scheele's dephlogisticated muriatic acid air must be a combination of oxygen and the yet undiscovered element, muriaticum. In 1809, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and Louis-Jacques Thénard tried to decompose dephlogisticated muriatic acid air by reacting it with charcoal to release the free element muriaticum, they did not succeed and published a report in which they considered the possibility that dephlogisticated muriatic acid air is an element, but were not convinced.
In 1810, Sir Humphry Davy tried the same experiment again, concluded that the substance was an element, not a compound. He announced his results to the Royal Society on 15 November that year. At that time, he named this new element "chlorine", from the Greek word χλωρος, meaning green-yellow; the name "halogen", meaning "salt producer", was used for chlorine in 1811 by Johann Salomo Christoph Schweigger. This term was used as a generic term to describe all the elements in the chlorine family, after a suggestion by Jöns Jakob Berzelius in 1826. In 1823, Michael Faraday liquefied chlorine for the first time, demonstrated that what was known as "solid chlorine" had a structure of chlorine hydrate. Chlorine gas was first used by French chemist Claude Berthollet to bleach textiles in 1785. Modern bleaches resulted from further work by Berthollet, who first produced sodium hypochlorite in 1789 in his laboratory in the town of Javel, by passing chlorine gas through a solution of sodium carbonate; the resulting liqu
Wheat flour is a powder made from the grinding of wheat used for human consumption. Wheat varieties are called "soft" or "weak" if gluten content is low, are called "hard" or "strong" if they have high gluten content. Hard flour, or bread flour, is high in gluten, with 12% to 14% gluten content, its dough has elastic toughness that holds its shape well once baked. Soft flour is comparatively low in gluten and thus results in a loaf with crumbly texture. Soft flour is divided into cake flour, the lowest in gluten, pastry flour, which has more gluten than cake flour. In terms of the parts of the grain used in flour—the endosperm or protein/starchy part, the germ or protein/fat/vitamin-rich part, the bran or fiber part—there are three general types of flour. White flour is made from the endosperm only. Brown flour includes some of the grain's germ and bran, while whole grain or wholemeal flour is made from the entire grain, including the bran and germ. Germ flour is made from the germ, excluding the bran.
To produce refined wheat flour, grain is tempered, i.e. moisture added to the grain, before milling, to optimize milling efficiency. This softens the starchy "endosperm" portion of the wheat kernel, which will be separated out in the milling process to produce what is known to consumers as white flour; the addition of moisture stiffens the bran and reduces the energy input required to shatter the kernel, while at the same time avoiding the shattering of bran and germ particles to be separated out in this milling process by sieving or sifting. The endosperm portion of the kernel makes up about 80% of the volume and is desirable because the products made from this white flour are considered to have milder flavor, smoother texture, and, in the case of bread, greater volume; the balance of the kernel is composed of the germ which tend to be coarser. With the invention of the roller milling system in the late 19th century, the bran and the germ were able to be removed improving the appeal of baked products to the public.
The moistened grain is first passed through the series of break rollers sieved to separate out the fine particles that make up white flour. The balance are coarse particles of bran and germ; the middling makes multiple passes through the reduction rolls, is again sieved after each pass to maximize extraction of white flour from the endosperm, while removing coarser bran and germ particles. To produce whole wheat flour, 100% of the bran and germ must be reintroduced to the white flour that the roller milling system was designed to separate it from. Therefore, these elements are first ground on another mill; these finer bran and germ fractions are reintroduced to the endosperm to produce whole wheat flour made of 100% of the kernel of wheat. Wheat flour is available in many varieties. Whole wheat flour in Canada may have up to 5% of the grain removed. Whole grain flour contains the whole grain, including bran and endosperm, but not the chaff Sharp flour is produced in Fiji and used in Indian cuisine.
Indian flours are categorized by how much of the grain is stripped away. Wheat powder/flour –'whole grain' Atta flour – mixture of endosperm and bran Maida flour – endosperm, bleached, it is used in Vietnamese cuisine, where it is called bột lọc trong. American flours are categorized by gluten/protein content and use. All-purpose or plain flour is a blended wheat with a protein content lower than bread flour, ranging between 9% and 12%. Depending on brand or the region where it is purchased, it may be composed of all hard or soft wheats, but is a blend of the two, can range from low protein content to moderately high, it is marketed as an inexpensive alternative to bakers' flour, acceptable for most household baking needs. Bread flour or strong flour is always made from hard wheat hard spring wheat, it has a high protein content, between 10% and 13%, making it excellent for yeast bread baking. It can be white or whole wheat or in between. Cake flour is a finely milled white flour made from soft wheat.
It has low protein content, between 8% and 10%, making it suitable for soft-textured cakes and cookies. The higher protein content of other flours would make the cakes tough. American cake flour is bleached. Related to cake flour are masa harina, maida flour, pure starches. Durum flour is made from Durum wheat and is suited for pasta making, traditional pizza and flatbread for doner kebab. Graham flour is a special type of whole wheat flour; the endosperm is finely ground, while the bran and germ are coarsely ground. Graham flour is uncommon outside of the United States. Graham flour is the basis of true graham crackers. Instant flour is pregelatinized for easier incorporation in sauces. Pastry flour or cookie flour or cracker flour has higher protein content than cake flour but lowe
Gluten is a group of proteins, termed prolamins and glutelins, stored with starch in the endosperm of various cereal grains. It is found in wheat. Glutens Triticeae glutens, have unique viscoelastic and adhesive properties, which give dough its elasticity, helping it rise and keep its shape and leaving the final product with a chewy texture; these properties and its relative low cost are the reasons why gluten is so demanded by the food industry and for non-food uses. Prolamins in wheat are called gliadins; these protein classes are collectively referred to as gluten. Wheat glutelins are called glutenin. True gluten is limited to these four grains. Gluten can trigger adverse inflammatory and autoimmune reactions and is responsible for a broad spectrum of gluten-related disorders, including coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten ataxia and other neurological disorders; these disorders are treated with a gluten-free diet. The occurrence of oat avenin toxicity depends on the oat cultivar consumed, because the immunoreactivities of toxic prolamins are different among oat varieties.
Many oat products are cross-contaminated with other gluten-containing cereals. Gluten is a protein complex. In home or restaurant cooking, gluten is prepared from flour by kneading the flour under water, agglomerating the gluten into an elastic network known as a dough, washing out the starch. Starch granules disperse in low-temperature water, the dispersed starch is sedimented and dried. If a saline solution is used instead of water, a purer protein is obtained, with certain harmless impurities departing the solution with the starch. Where starch is the prime product, cold water is the favored solvent because the impurities depart from the gluten. In industrial production, a slurry of wheat flour is kneaded vigorously by machinery until the gluten agglomerates into a mass; this mass is collected by centrifugation transported through several stages integrated in a continuous process. About 65% of the water in the wet gluten is removed by means of a screw press; the process yields a flour-like powder with a 7% moisture content, air cooled and pneumatically transported to a receiving vessel.
In the final step, the processed gluten is milled to produce a uniform product. Gluten forms when glutenin molecules cross-link via disulfide bonds to form a submicroscopic network attached to gliadin, which contributes viscosity and extensibility to the mix. If this dough is leavened with yeast, fermentation produces carbon dioxide bubbles, trapped by the gluten network, cause the dough to rise. Baking coagulates the gluten, along with starch, stabilizes the shape of the final product. Gluten content has been implicated as a factor in the staling of bread because it binds water through hydration; the formation of gluten affects the texture of the baked goods. Gluten's attainable elasticity is proportional to its content of glutenins with low molecular weights, as this portion contains the preponderance of the sulfur atoms responsible for the cross-linking in the gluten network. Further refining of the gluten leads to chewier doughs such as those found in pizza and bagels, while less refining yields tender baked goods such as pastry products.
Bread flours are high in gluten. Kneading promotes the formation of gluten strands and cross-links, creating baked products that are chewier; the "chewiness" increases. An increased moisture content in the dough enhances gluten development, wet doughs left to rise for a long time require no kneading. Shortening inhibits formation of cross-links and is used, along with diminished water and less kneading, when a tender and flaky product, such as a pie crust, is desired; the strength and elasticity of gluten in flour is measured in the baking industry using a farinograph. This gives the baker a measurement of quality for different varieties of flours when developing recipes for various baked goods. Gluten, when dried and added to ordinary flour dough, may help improve the dough's ability to increase in volume; the resulting mixture increases the bread's structural stability and chewiness. Gluten-added dough must be worked vigorously to induce it to rise to its full capacity. Higher gluten levels are associated with higher overall protein content.
Gluten wheat gluten, is the basis for imitation meats resembling beef, duck and pork. When cooked in broth, gluten becomes firm to the bite; this use of gluten is a popular means of adding supplemental protein to many vegetarian diets. Gluten is present in beer and soy sauce, can be used as a stabilizing agent in more unexpected food products, such as ice cream and ketchup. Foods of this kind may therefore present problems for a small number o
Redox is a chemical reaction in which the oxidation states of atoms are changed. Any such reaction involves both a reduction process and a complementary oxidation process, two key concepts involved with electron transfer processes. Redox reactions include all chemical reactions; the chemical species from which the electron is stripped is said to have been oxidized, while the chemical species to which the electron is added is said to have been reduced. It can be explained in simple terms: Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion. Reduction is a decrease in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion; as an example, during the combustion of wood, oxygen from the air is reduced, gaining electrons from carbon, oxidized. Although oxidation reactions are associated with the formation of oxides from oxygen molecules, oxygen is not included in such reactions, as other chemical species can serve the same function; the reaction can occur slowly, as with the formation of rust, or more in the case of fire.
There are simple redox processes, such as the oxidation of carbon to yield carbon dioxide or the reduction of carbon by hydrogen to yield methane, more complex processes such as the oxidation of glucose in the human body. "Redox" is a portmanteau of the words "reduction" and "oxidation". The word oxidation implied reaction with oxygen to form an oxide, since dioxygen was the first recognized oxidizing agent; the term was expanded to encompass oxygen-like substances that accomplished parallel chemical reactions. The meaning was generalized to include all processes involving loss of electrons; the word reduction referred to the loss in weight upon heating a metallic ore such as a metal oxide to extract the metal. In other words, ore was "reduced" to metal. Antoine Lavoisier showed. Scientists realized that the metal atom gains electrons in this process; the meaning of reduction became generalized to include all processes involving a gain of electrons. Though "reduction" seems counter-intuitive when speaking of the gain of electrons, it might help to think of reduction as the loss of oxygen, its historical meaning.
Since electrons are negatively charged, it is helpful to think of this as reduction in electrical charge. The electrochemist John Bockris has used the words electronation and deelectronation to describe reduction and oxidation processes when they occur at electrodes; these words are analogous to protonation and deprotonation, but they have not been adopted by chemists worldwide. The term "hydrogenation" could be used instead of reduction, since hydrogen is the reducing agent in a large number of reactions in organic chemistry and biochemistry. But, unlike oxidation, generalized beyond its root element, hydrogenation has maintained its specific connection to reactions that add hydrogen to another substance; the word "redox" was first used in 1928. The processes of oxidation and reduction occur and cannot happen independently of one another, similar to the acid–base reaction; the oxidation alone and the reduction alone are each called a half-reaction, because two half-reactions always occur together to form a whole reaction.
When writing half-reactions, the gained or lost electrons are included explicitly in order that the half-reaction be balanced with respect to electric charge. Though sufficient for many purposes, these general descriptions are not correct. Although oxidation and reduction properly refer to a change in oxidation state — the actual transfer of electrons may never occur; the oxidation state of an atom is the fictitious charge that an atom would have if all bonds between atoms of different elements were 100% ionic. Thus, oxidation is best defined as an increase in oxidation state, reduction as a decrease in oxidation state. In practice, the transfer of electrons will always cause a change in oxidation state, but there are many reactions that are classed as "redox" though no electron transfer occurs. In redox processes, the reductant transfers electrons to the oxidant. Thus, in the reaction, the reductant or reducing agent loses electrons and is oxidized, the oxidant or oxidizing agent gains electrons and is reduced.
The pair of an oxidizing and reducing agent that are involved in a particular reaction is called a redox pair. A redox couple is a reducing species and its corresponding oxidizing form, e.g. Fe2+/Fe3+ Substances that have the ability to oxidize other substances are said to be oxidative or oxidizing and are known as oxidizing agents, oxidants, or oxidizers; that is, the oxidant removes electrons from another substance, is thus itself reduced. And, because it "accepts" electrons, the oxidizing agent is called an electron acceptor. Oxygen is the quintessential oxidizer. Oxidants are chemical substances with elements in high oxidation states, or else electronegative elements that can gain extra electrons by oxidizing another substance. Substances that have the ability to reduce other substances are said to be reductive or reducing and are known as
Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste, appearance, or other qualities. Some additives have been used for centuries. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the twentieth century, many more additives have been introduced, of both natural and artificial origin. Food additives include substances that may be introduced to food indirectly in the manufacturing process, through packaging, or during storage or transport. To regulate these additives, inform consumers, each additive is assigned a unique number, termed as "E numbers", used in Europe for all approved additives; this numbering scheme has now been adopted and extended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission to internationally identify all additives, regardless of whether they are approved for use. E numbers are all prefixed by "E", but countries outside Europe use only the number, whether the additive is approved in Europe or not. For example, acetic acid is written as E260 on products sold in Europe, but is known as additive 260 in some countries.
Additive 103, alkannin, is not approved for use in Europe so does not have an E number, although it is approved for use in Australia and New Zealand. Since 1987, Australia has had an approved system of labelling for additives in packaged foods; each food additive has to be numbered. The numbers are the same as in Europe, but without the prefix "E"; the United States Food and Drug Administration lists these items as "generally recognized as safe". See list of food additives for a complete list of all the names. Food additives can be divided into several groups, although there is some overlap because some additives exert more than one effect. For example, salt is both a preservative as well as a flavor. Acidulents Acidulents confer sour or acid taste. Common acidulents include vinegar, citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid. Acidity regulators Acidity regulators are used for controlling the pH of foods for stability or to affect activity of enzymes. Anticaking agents Anticaking agents keep powders such as milk powder from sticking.
Antifoaming and foaming agents Antifoaming agents prevent foaming in foods. Foaming agents do the reverse. Antioxidants Antioxidants such as vitamin C are preservatives by inhibiting the degradation of food by oxygen. Bulking agents Bulking agents such as starch are additives that increase the bulk of a food without affecting its taste. Food coloring Colorings are added to food to replace colors lost during preparation or to make food look more attractive. Fortifying agents Vitamins and dietary supplements to increase the nutritional value Color retention agents In contrast to colorings, color retention agents are used to preserve a food's existing color. Emulsifiers Emulsifiers allow water and oils to remain mixed together in an emulsion, as in mayonnaise, ice cream, homogenized milk. Flavors Flavors are additives that give food a particular taste or smell, may be derived from natural ingredients or created artificially. Flavor enhancers Flavor enhancers enhance a food's existing flavors. A popular example is monosodium glutamate.
Some flavor enhancers have their own flavors. Flour treatment agents Flour treatment agents are added to flour to improve its color or its use in baking. Glazing agents Glazing agents provide a shiny appearance or protective coating to foods. Humectants Humectants prevent foods from drying out. Tracer gas Tracer gas allow for package integrity testing to prevent foods from being exposed to atmosphere, thus guaranteeing shelf life. Preservatives Preservatives prevent or inhibit spoilage of food due to fungi and other microorganisms. Stabilizers Stabilizers and gelling agents, like agar or pectin give foods a firmer texture. While they are not true emulsifiers, they help to stabilize emulsions. Sweeteners Sweeteners are added to foods for flavoring. Sweeteners other than sugar are added to keep the food energy low, or because they have beneficial effects regarding diabetes mellitus, tooth decay, or diarrhea. Thickeners Thickening agents are substances which, when added to the mixture, increase its viscosity without modifying its other properties.
Packaging Bisphenols and perfluoroalkyl chemicals are indirect additives used in manufacturing or packaging. In July 2018 the American Academy of Pediatrics called for more careful study of those three substances, along with nitrates and food coloring, as they might harm children during development. With the increasing use of processed foods since the 19th century, food additives are more used. Many countries regulate their use. For example, boric acid was used as a food preservative from the 1870s to the 1920s, but was banned after World War I due to its toxicity, as demonstrated in animal and human studies. During World War II, the urgent need for cheap, available food preservatives led to it being used again, but it was banned in the 1950s; such cases led to a general mistrust of food additives, an application of the precautionary principle led to the conclusion that only additives that are known to be safe should be used in foods. In the United States, this led to the adoption of the Delaney clause, an amendment to the Federal Food and Cosmetic Act of 1938, stating that no carcinogenic substances may be used as food additives.
Flour is a powder made by grinding raw grains, beans, |nuts or seeds. It is used to make many different foods. Cereal flour is the main ingredient of bread, a staple food for most cultures. Wheat flour is one of the most important ingredients in Oceanic, South American, North American, Middle Eastern, North Indian and North African cultures, is the defining ingredient in their styles of breads and pastries. Wheat is the most common base for flour. Corn flour has been important in Mesoamerican cuisine since ancient times and remains a staple in the Americas. Rye flour is a constituent of bread in central Europe. Cereal flour consists either of the endosperm and bran together or of the endosperm alone. Meal is either differentiable from flour as having coarser particle size or is synonymous with flour. For example, the word cornmeal connotes a grittier texture whereas corn flour connotes fine powder, although there is no codified dividing line; the English word "flour" is a variant of the word "flower" and both words derive from the Old French fleur or flour, which had the literal meaning "blossom", a figurative meaning "the finest".
The phrase "fleur de farine" meant "the finest part of the meal", since flour resulted from the elimination of coarse and unwanted matter from the grain during milling. The earliest archaeological evidence for wheat seeds crushed between simple millstones to make flour dates to 6000 BC; the Romans were the first to grind seeds on cone mills. In 1879, at the beginning of the Industrial Era, the first steam mill was erected in London. In the 1930s, some flour began to be enriched with iron, niacin and riboflavin. In the 1940s, mills started to enrich flour and folic acid was added to the list in the 1990s. An important problem of the industrial revolution was the preservation of flour. Transportation distances and a slow distribution system collided with natural shelf life; the reason for the limited shelf life is the fatty acids of the germ, which react from the moment they are exposed to oxygen. This occurs. Depending on climate and grain quality, this process takes six to nine months. In the late 19th century, this process was too short for an industrial production and distribution cycle.
As vitamins and amino acids were or unknown in the late 19th century, removing the germ was an effective solution. Without the germ, flour cannot become rancid. Degermed flour became standard. Degermation started in densely populated areas and took one generation to reach the countryside. Heat-processed flour is flour where the germ is first separated from the endosperm and bran processed with steam, dry heat or microwave and blended into flour again; the FDA has been advised by several cookie dough manufacturers that they have implemented the use of heat-treated flour for their "ready-to-bake cookie dough" products to reduce the risk of E. coli bacterial contamination. Milling of flour is accomplished by grinding grain between stones or steel wheels. Today, "stone-ground" means that the grain has been ground in a mill in which a revolving stone wheel turns over a stationary stone wheel, vertically or horizontally with the grain in between. Roller mills soon replaced stone grist mills as the production of flour has driven technological development, as attempts to make gristmills more productive and less labor-intensive led to the watermill and windmill.
These terms are now applied more broadly to uses of water and wind power for purposes other than milling. More the Unifine mill, an impact-type mill, was developed in the mid-20th century. Home users have begun grinding their own flour from organic wheat berries on a variety of electric flour mills; the grinding process is not much different from grinding coffee but the mills are larger. This provides fresh flour with the benefits of wheat fiber without spoilage. Modern farm equipment allows livestock farmers to do some or all of their own milling when it comes time to convert their own grain crops to coarse meal for livestock feed; this capability is economically important because the profit margins are thin enough in commercial farming that saving expenses is vital to staying in business. Flour contains a high proportion of starches, which are a subset of complex carbohydrates known as polysaccharides; the kinds of flour used in cooking include all-purpose flour, self-rising flour, cake flour including bleached flour.
The higher the protein content the harder and stronger the flour, the more it will produce crusty or chewy breads. The lower the protein the softer the flour, better for cakes and pie crusts. "Bleached flour" is any refined flour with a whitening agent added. "Refined flour" has had the germ and bran removed and is referred to as "white flour". Bleached flour is artificially aged using a maturing agent, or both. A bleaching agent would affect only the carotenoids in the flour. A maturing agent may either weaken gluten development; the four most common additives used as bleaching/maturing agents in the US are: Potassium bromate, listed as an ingredient, is a maturing agent that strengthens gluten development. It does not bleach. Benzoyl peroxide does not act as a maturing agent, it has no effect on gluten. Ascorbic acid is listed as an ingredient, either as an indication that the flour was matured using ascorbic acid or that a small amount is