Bringing Tradition Back; Bakeries Mill Again

The revolution is fermenting.  Right now, in a handful of bakeries around the country, there is a movement underway–stone mills are turning and fresh flour is turning into sourdough.  For most everyone reading this article, flour has always been ghost-white, shelf stable, and flavorless.  Fortunately for those of us who are gluten-tolerant, change is coming!

From California and Arizona to New York and North Carolina, bakeries are bringing tradition back.  In a time that none of us can remember, bakeries were where people bought their flour–freshly milled, whole grain from bran to germ–and had their loaves baked.  In the last 100 years or so, industrialization took over the process and bestowed upon us the wonderful white flour.  Unfortunately, we didn’t totally understand what was happening when we stripped wheat of its perishable part, the germ, and replaced it with a selection of vitamins to ‘fortify’ the remnants, the starchy endosperm.

Dough heavy weights such as Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery (San Francisco), Richard Bourdon of Berkshire Mountain Bakery, and Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco are popularizing on-site milling.  By milling the wheat whole, the oils, enzymes, and nutrients remain intact.  “When you compare what’s removed from wheat to make commercial flour, it tracks pretty well with the nutrients that are most deficient in the U.S. population,” says Dr. David Killilea, a nutritional biochemist at the Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute.  In addition to the nutritional benefits, chefs are working directly with farmers and scientists–particularly those at Washington State University’s Bread Lab–to turn out loaves that maximize the flavor and texture profiles of different breeds.

To read more, click here and here.

 

Nutrition Labels Get FDA-Approved Recipe

Nutrition Facts Label - What

Last week, Michelle Obama made a monumental speech to usher in significant change to the world of packaged foods. The nutrition facts labels are getting a major makeover.  From Oreos to milk, food manufacturers will have two years to comply with the changes.  Here is what to expect:

  • Larger, bolder type for calories and serving size
  • Changes to serving sizes to be more accurate with consumption and packaging
  • Added line to delineate added sugars
  • Additional Nutrients required

While many nutritionists and dietitians see the changes as a great step in the right direction, industry trade groups are speaking up with concerns.  For example, the American Bakers Association is perusing the full 943-page document and has already flagged issues with the timing, definition of dietary fiber, and added sugars.

Additionally, the Grocery Manufacturers Association said the update was due as eating habits have changed.  However, they also have concerns that the new label may cause some confusion and that education will be necessary.

To read more, click here and click here for the FDA’s overview of changes.