The Whole Wheat Hoax

For years now, I've been buying whole wheat and whole grain products. I patted myself on the back, thinking I was doing a good thing for my family. I had heard that the term "whole wheat" wasn't regulated and could mean anything (including simply adding molasses to give a darker coloring to the bread), and I knew that some "whole grain" breads had to be healthier than others simply because some seemed chunky and some were no texturally different than white bread. It wasn't until my mother-in-law began taking a healthy eating class, and shared her findings with me, that I got to the bottom of the "whole grain", "whole wheat" mess.

In a nutshell, there are two hurdles to finding truly healthy whole grain bread. For starters, the nutrients in grain deteriorate rapidly - most are gone in just a few days. So no matter how much you spend at the store - even if it's at a health food store - you're bread is only going to be so healthy. The other factor is the amount of bran that is put back into the flour. All flour is processed the same, which is to say that the bran is separated and removed from the flour. In "whole grain" breads, some of the bran is then put back in. "Some" being the operative word. Also, breadmakers are able to add as much gluten as they want to make the bread more palatable. What is "gluten"? White flour (or more precisely, it's part of the white flour). Yeah, I was majorly bummed, too.

So where did this knowledge lead me? It prompted me to drag out the grain grinder we've had in the basement and get grindin'! We purchased wheat berries at our local LDS cannery and Ben mounted the grinder for me so that it had a stable, permanent base. Now I grind my wheat in small batches, use it promptly or freeze it, and therefore am insuring the healthiest bread (and rolls, and pancakes, and get the idea) that I can for my family.

I've been doing this for about 2-3 weeks now and am planning to post a review of the cookbook I've been using, some of the recipes I've tried, and some more info on what I've learned about wheat and what convinced me that this is worth all the hassle. More to come....


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