What is Bromated Flour?
Bromated flour has potassium bromate (KBr03), an oxidizing agent, added to flour. This additive is used to aid in mixing, proofing and baking with flour, making a more glutinous elastic flour that rises easier. In theory, the potassium bromate should be used up during the baking process. Problems arise if the flour is not baked long enough leaving the additive still in the flour.
What is the Problem with Bromated Flour?
Back in the 1980s, rats fed bromated flour ended up developing tumors. Bromate was determined to be a carcinogen, causing renal, thyroid, and follicular tumors. With this troubling finding, bromate was outlawed in the United Kingdom and Canada since the 1990s. In California, carcinogenic warning labels are required to be displayed on bromated food items. It is not, however, banned in the United States. US bakers are encouraged to avoid use of the product. How many of you home bakers know about this?
Does Beans and Butter Use Flour with this in it?
We do not use bromated flour at Beans and Butter. We use King Arthur brand flours which do not use any bromate additives in their flour. We are more than happy to spend some extra time mixing the dough to ensure that we are delivering safe food to our customers.
What About Bromated Flour at Home?
If you find that you are using bromated flour at home, please make sure to completely bake your food items. When would you eat raw flour, you ask? Well, many people have been known to eat raw cookie dough or lick a beater that has been in some cake batter. Be aware that this is when the bromated flour could be harmful. Raw flour is never a great idea.
Where is it Used?
Highly processed commercial baked foods have a high possibility of containing bromated flour. This is yet another thing that we should try to search for in the ingredients on food labels to avoid. We often hear that we should avoid highly processed foods, and this is yet another reason why we should.