Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wild Flour

As you may or may not know, I am fairly obsessed with baking, and my current focus is all about ridding our lives of processed food. This has been an exciting and fascinating journey thus far, including much discussion about goats...

...but more on that another time.

At first my quest, to produce better than I could buy, began with bread. I buy bread, so why not just make it myself? However, once you pull the thread it all begins to unravel, and then you start asking questions about what you are making it with...

Today lets talk about flour. White powdery stuff, simple right? actually not so....

I, like most people I imagine, have been in the habit of just buying which ever brand is cheapest. I was aware of a brand of flour produced by Eureka Mills, and I knew that it was stone ground (because it said so on the bag) but I actually had no real understanding of what that meant, or how significantly different the end product can be.

Allow me to break it down for you. Modern mills generally use a large number of steel rollers to grind their flour, this results in a huge amount of heat being generated. This heat basically destroys the beneficial enzymes within the wheat. Stone grinding flour is essentially the 'old-fashioned' way of doing it - with large stone grinders. However, fewer grinders made of stone, produce far less heat than many, made of steel. Thus, the protein in the wheat is not damaged before your body can use it, making this flour much better for you.

Modern flour processing also generally contains a bleaching step. While this has been purported to produce better baked goods, it is certainly not better for the health of your body! Happily, Eureka Mills does not bleach their flour and I, quite frankly, have never noticed a significant difference in my baked goods.

unbleached flour
Eureka Mills also source all of their wheat locally, with most being grown in the Southern Cape by farmers using sustainable farming practices. These include crop rotation with legumes, so that nitrogen fertilizers need to be used much less than they would on commercial wheat farms. Therefore, better soil = better wheat.

If you care about what you eat, and are going to go to the trouble of making baked goods yourself, then you are at liberty to control what you put in your food. As such, choosing good quality products makes the best sense, both in terms of your health and your purse! It is still cheaper to buy good quality flour and make your own bread, than to buy commercially-produced bread. And honestly, there is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house.....

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