An 1877 cookbook advised bread makers never to buy flour tinged with blue. Poor flour may have a dingy look as if it had been mixed with ashes.
The author suggested one way to test flour quality: when pressing your hand against it, good flour will show the skin imprint lines. It will be a creamy white color.
High-quality yeast and flour make the best bread. That was true both then and now.
It isn’t clear what gave the bluish color to the flour in those early days. It may have been the same thing that causes green flour today.
Today, freshly milled flour that is not given time to age and oxidize in storage is called green flour. It’s used within two days. Bakeries using this type of flour add ingredients to give the oxidation needed.
People in the 1800s didn’t count carbs. They ate rolls at breakfast, sweet breads at lunch, and biscuits at supper.
And if they followed the advice of cookbook writers, they stayed away from blue flour.
-Sandra Merville Hart
Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 2011.
“Green Flour,” Bakerpedia, 2015/06/08 http://bakerpedia.com/green-flour/.