Organic v Organic Unbleached

rudehamster's picture


Now the worst of the London winter has gone, and my radiators aren't scalding everything in sight in an attempt to keep my feet warm, my poor little quasi-starter is about to die an evil toilet-bound death. It sufficed over the winter, when I got the baking bug, and involved some dried yeast and a lot of frowning, but now I intend to replace the sticky little item with a real from scratch starter.

I have studied the starter page, and have driven myself to the edge of clinical insanity trying to memorise it all, but I think I'm now ready to flush that toilet and clean out the starter the question that I have is what is the best option as far as starter flour?

The organic rye is okay as I use that regularly, but do I go for ordinary strong white flour or the unbleached variety?

I know that the bleach can kill the yeast, but does basic organic do the job without issue? Unbleached is proving a real problem to get, other than by mail order ( or a long journey across town dragging kilos of flour...and leaving a little white trail on the tube and turning myself into security / drug dealer alert (*hollow laughter*).

Answers please?

























148 users have voted.


rossnroller 2010 March 7

 I didn't bother about organic for the white flour when I was getting my first starter going (although organic whole-grain rye is a major asset, I found....but you have that). I did use unbleached plain flour with the rye, though.  

Are u sure you can't easily get unbleached flour in Tescos etc? The big supermarket chains here have both bleached and unbleached non-organic plain flour for about the same price. I don't think any of the organic flours are bleached, so any organic white flour available is another alternative if you definitely can't get unbleached 'ordinary' plain flour. If you can get organic rye no problem, surely you can get organic plain white from the same place?

rudehamster's picture
rudehamster 2010 March 7


Annoyingly, my local tesco are worse than useless...three types of four and my enquiry led to 'we don't do fancy stuff, mate' (a class answer...just not very high): they had plain, self-raising and Hovis strong and the manager suggested going to a "specialist store or sumfing".

Waitrose do most things, apart from unbleached (which is infuriating!), as do Sainsbury's, so I'm left with hauling myself to Wholefoods in High Street Kensington, which I really can't be bothered doing, or tapping myself into an online order.


Alie0Bronwynn 2010 March 16

Hey there,


Although I'm in the states and have a car (so my situation is definitely different), I'm pondering online anyway.  I tried Self Rising but I think it has yeast in it so it will totally mess up the taste of your sourdough.  I use this bread flour, no clue if it's bleached or unbleached but now you are making me wonder.

But with how much bread I bake and flour I go through I've been pondering ordering online just to save myself the trip AND get "good flour" versus the standard crap that the store has.

Good luck!!  And when is someone going to order a baking store?!?!


Postal grunt 2010 March 16

The self-rising flour is meant for use in making quick breads (no yeast) such as biscuits. In the South, White Lily is the brand of choice. Hudson Cream Self-Rising is milled in Kansas but very popular in W. VA, KY, and TN. Most bread flour isn't bleached when you buy your flour in a supermarket. If you buy  your bread flour in CostCo, be aware that it can be bleached and bromated. That's most undesirable when you're health conscious so be sure to read the fine print.

If you're interested in buying flour online, King Arthur Flour has an internet site for their flours. Heartland Flour in W. Kansas provides organic and chemical free flours to some outstanding bakeries in the KC, MO area. I've tried their AP and it's good. They have a short patent flour, a bread flour, multi-grain mixes, and other flours available. Their Golden Buffalo flour is really good for feeding my starter. They're on the internet so you can even order online in your pajamas if you like to shop that way. Bob's Red Mill and WheatMontana are also online so there's a variety of flour available from US suppliers when your ready to buy.

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2010 March 17

The most important flour is a good unbleached AP or Bread but be careful with some of the Bread Flours. Organic is nice, but with the exception of whole grains. not as important.  Remember some of the inorganic material leaves with the Bran.  At the Big Box stores in the US BJ's carries King Arthur Unbleached, but Sam's chef's choice is bromated, as are a lot of the 25pound sacks.  Organic rye is like candy to a starter that needs some perking up.  Buying Local makes the most sense too.  Try talking to some local bakeries about buying from them.  Then you won't have to lug it so far or lose too much money to shipping.  I have been looking at the big bags of flour at Whole Foods with a jealous eye though.

Lately I have been getting the following Flours here in OH.  Bobs Red Mill (BRM) dark organic rye for around a $1 a pound.  BRM organic white wheat at .60 a pound as well as BRM Unbleached malted AP for about the same.  I get durum for about .80 a pound and KA unbleached AP at around .70 a pound.  I also have been getting some nice wheat and spelt from the farmers market, very fresh ground organic but pricey. Just remember before you hit me that there has to be some advantage to living in the Breadbasket of America.




rudehamster's picture
rudehamster 2010 April 9

I've had my wonderful fantastic and gorgeous unbleached white flour for a few weeks now. I'm going to attach a picture if I can.



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