Bleaching is a chemical process that speeds up the aging of the flour. Bleaching agents, such as benzoyl peroxide and chlorine gas) are used to produce a whiter, finer, softer flour. The result of the bleaching process yields a flour that is softer, thus producing foods with a softer texture, more volume and brighter color than those made with unbleached flour. This type of flour is typically best for cookies, pie crusts, muffins and pancakes.
Unbleached flour is flour that is bleached naturally as it ages and after it is milled. It is off white in color (which continues to dull as it ages) and a more dense grain than bleached flour. It typically costs a little bit more because it takes longer to produce than bleached flour. Due to the denser texture, it is best suited for baked goods such as breads, cream puffs, and pastries. Please keep in mind, however that just because it hasn’t been bleached doesn’t always mean it hasn’t been treated with other chemicals. Please be sure to read the label.