More press! KQED’s food blog Bay Area Bites has just published a great piece by Kelly O’Mara: The Whole Grain Revolution: What Does 100% Whole Wheat Mean?
An excellent companion piece to SF Magazine’s recent article which provided a good overview of the local wheat movement here in the Bay Area, O’Mara digs in to an issue close to our heart: “what we think of as whole wheat might not really be whole wheat.”
Talking with good friend and master baker Craig Ponsford as well as Community Grains founder, Bob Klein, O’Mara explains how roller mills have come to dominate the industry producing flour that is reconstituted and possibly incomplete.
While many people assume that putting the pieces back together to make whole wheat flour, per FDA regulations, means putting them back together in the same quantities, that isn’t necessarily true. Some regulations seem to suggest the three parts just have to be there period — in any quantity. Other regulations appear to lay out minimums, like 10%, for each. Often that can mean that only a small amount of germ is returned to the flour, because germ can make it go bad. Sometimes, it seems to mean different kinds of bran — not from grain — are added in. Typically, gluten is added to make the bread light and fluffy. And, all the stuff in between the germ and bran and endosperm, such as the aleurone layer, are entirely lost.
This is precisely why Community Grains believes so strongly in full information & transparency. We believe consumers have the right to know exactly how their flour is being processed. The lacking regulation in regards to the term “whole grain” has forced us to create our own Whole Grain Standard (printed on every box) that clearly states all of our grain is whole-milled in its entirety, never separating the germ, bran, and endosperm. We are hopeful that articles such as this will generate more public demand for greater transparency in the industry as well as a more complete understanding of milling which we believe is truly an art.