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Cornflour versus cornstarch

I use cornflour regularly to thicken sauces and gravies.  I only recently realised that the bright white colour is not natural.  I bought some organic corn flour and its creamy yellow, and does the same job.  So why is most corn flour white?  I haven't been able to find the exact answer, but I assume that its bleached, which means that the flour is oxidised.  Oxidation is something that you want to avoid in your food, that's why we are supposed to be eating anti-oxidants!  I have found some references to white corn, but I doubt that the corn is THAT white.  Anyway, I'm happy to have found some yellow cornflour and I won't be going back to the white stuff!

UPDATE December 2014
It turns out that "cornflour" in the UK and Australia is actually "corn starch".  Starch is a component of cornflour that is extracted using a fairly complicated process (although it doesn't seem to involve too many chemicals, just lots of water).  I guess the point of my original post was that I had no idea you could actually buy a corn flour that was just ground up corn, and use that for thickening.  It does have a corn flavour, whereas the white corn starch is pretty much tasteless.  Also some "corn flour" starch in Australia is actually made from wheat, and called "wheaten cornflour", but its just the starch extracted from wheat instead of corn.  I have also since found out that I can use tapioca for thickening.

Overall, I would prefer to use a less processed product, so wholemeal wheat, corn or tapioca flour rather than any form of refined starch.

What do you use to thicken your gravies and sauces?

the last of my white cornflour

enjoying the yellow cornflour


  1. I never thought about that before but it makes sense. Alot of corn flour is made out of wheat too and still called 'corn flour' my son is wheat intolerant we often have to look out for that. Looks like we will be taking a trip to the organic shop.

  2. Hi, most (all?) of our supermarket bought cornflour is made from wheat. Something which baffles me LOL. It saddens me how much we alter our food for asthetics. We even bleach our garlic :0<

  3. Most interesting. I'd never thought about cornflour actually. This is what infuriates me about labelling. We should be told if something is bleached or oxidised or whatever. Was it difficult getting hold of the organic cornflour? Now I'm wondering if I can make my own somehow. I mill my own wheat grain to make flour, so is it as simple as milling corn to get cornflour?

  4. I couldn't agree more! I've been thinking about this for a few weeks but never knew there was an organic brand out there. Now I'm on a mission to bulk buy and stock up.

    (Suzi from dirt2dinner).

  5. First time visiting your blog and I love the wealth of information!! I am following! Anything better for us we can do, I want to know/learn!! From one sweetie to another~~~Roxie

  6. I went to renew my stock of cornflour and picked up the White Wings 'packed in Australia made of imported ingredients'. Shriek!
    I've never noticed this before.
    I'm fiercely buying only Australian grown products. So now I'm here,on this site, looking for our own. Ceres is the go by the look of it, yes?

  7. yes, the "wheaten" cornflour is a weird one! I always made sure I bought the "corn" cornflour! This one was an impulse buy when I saw my supermarket had stocked up on some organic grains, however it is made in NZ. For an Aussie brand, see I haven't tried it, but it looks like a good option, and they have quite a good range of flours too. Problem is it can be expensive to order large quantities of flour, best if you can find a local source...


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