Sure, flour makes good food. But can it be good for you, too?
Do you think flour has any nutritional value?
If I had to answer honestly, I'd probably say that most of what people in our country eat - highly processed, refined white flour - does not. This would be based on what I know about white flour: that it's often bleached; that it's stripped of its vitamins and minerals; and that it's linked to health problems and disease. And most of it is not organic, so we're ingesting pesticide residue.
That, at least, is the narrative when it comes to refined white flour - 99.9% of what we encounter in the store or the bread products that we eat. But has flour always been this way? Are their other alternatives?
You probably have a friend or family member (or maybe it's even you!) that eats bread that looks radically different from what we usually encounter. It's probably brown and full of various seeds. It likely has a more bitter, and less sweet, taste than conventional bread. It's probably tougher (and maybe someone has made a snarky comment comparing it to cardboard). You can likely find it at small bakeries or from local bakers, or maybe you even make it yourself.
Where does this type of bread come from?
Flour derives, as you probably know, from a wheat plant - specifically, the wheat berry. These berries are what we use when we make flour, and they're also where the nutritional value of wheat lies.
Refined flour processes berries into flour by removing the hard outer shell (the bran) and the wheat germ (part of the wheat kernel or seed). Then, the remainder is processed into the very fine flour we're familiar with. Although it results in a consistency and quality that produces desirable results, it also has no minerals or vitamins. These were removed when the shell and germ were stripped.
Whole grain flour, on the other hand, is milled from intact, unprocessed wheat grains, kernels, and seeds. This preserves the nutrition of the flour. But it can often be dense to bake with, and difficult to digest, or to absorb the nutrients into our bodies.
Biologically, this makes sense - the hard bran shell is meant to protect the seed to preserve the life of the plant. But it also can make it difficult when we're trying to cook with it.
Luckily, there's a middle ground - soaking the grains and sprouting them. This is the practice behind Lindley Mill's Super Sprout whole grain wheat flour. The whole grain is preserved, ensuring that you receive the vitamins and minerals the wheat contains. But it's also sprouted, so that you can actually absorb and digest those nutrients. And, like all Lindley Mills products, it's organic - so you don't need to worry about pesticides.
This is something you won't find in a big box store. Luckily for us, we have a historic local mill (Lindley Mills is a 9th generation mill!) that's within a 20-minute drive from the farm. I feel fortunate that we can access such high-quality food within our small community.
We tend to take a middle path when it comes to all-purpose flour (refined flour) and super sprout whole grain flour. It's often difficult to substitute whole grain wheat flour in recipes because of its density - there's a reason why people wanted refined flour, after all. So we use both. For most recipes, I use all-purpose, and substitute a small amount of sprouted whole grain wheat. That way, I'm able to add in more nutrients, without comprising the final product.
Want to experiment with incorporating sprouted whole grain wheat in your kitchen? Here are three of our favorite recipes, each of which include some sprouted whole grain wheat flour:
I'd love for you to try them and tell me what you think! And, of course, I hope you try our Lindley Mills flour for yourself - and see the difference.