Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fresh Ground Flour or White?

In cleaning out some files, I came across some information in a file and I'm sure I got it off of one of the agriculture sites, and I'm not happy I can't reference the source! It's great info on why we mill our own grains.

The part that really makes me thankful for my mill is knowing what they do to 'make' white flour. (Last paragraph) They put chlorine in the flour to "hasten" the whitening process. Good grief..!

Our taste buds (not to mention our stomachs) have become so accustomed to grain flour, white flour only takes like rubber to us. Now, adding a cup or two to french bread IS good!
I know some folks cannot afford mills. It is worth saving for, put away a little here, you'll never regret it.

Fresh or Fake?

New techniques were developed that allowed the bran to be separated from the wheat kernel in order to produce cleaner, whiter, and finer textured flour. Chilled rollers, constructed of porcelain or iron, were used to grind the wheat so that heat did not build up. Because the nutrient-rich bran and germ are removed when producing white flour, it is often enriched with vitamins and minerals to replace the missing nutrients.

The use of steel grinding equipment for milling wheat is a common procedure for mills that produce large volumes of flour (known as steel-ground flour) for commercial use and retail sales. The wheat germ and bran are separated from the remaining portion of the kernel automatically, but are returned to the flour later in the milling process to produce the whole-wheat flour. Small quantities of bran and germ may be lost during the process, however when wheat is milled with the traditional method of cold grinding between heavy millstones, no part of the wheat kernel is lost or separated. Many people regard stone ground wheat flour as the most flavorful and nutritious.

Many types of wheat flour are available in bleached and unbleached varieties. Wheat flour becomes white (actually off-white) naturally through oxidation, which in earlier times was the method used by flour millers to create white flour. This eventually became impractical because of the time and space required for large quantities of flour to oxidize naturally so chemical bleaching was developed, which hastens the whitening process. The chemicals used for bleaching flour (usually chlorine, which evaporates after it is added to the flour) act as a preservative so that the flour will not develop an off flavor or spoil after a short period. The chemicals also prevent dough from becoming discolored and provide more consistent results when baking, however the chemicals affect the gluten strength of the flour, therefore bread makers often prefer unbleached flour.

(We use the Nutrimill, the one we sell and recommend)

Blessings, Theresa

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