Why use stone milled flour—
Stone-ground flours are more nutritionally sound because they retain the germ and the bran from the wheat kernel, parts that are often removed when flour is ground with a roller mill. Incidentally, these are the parts that hold a lot of flavor, too. Stone milled flours are whole grain, have all the nutrients and flavor of the wheat kernel as it came out of the field, and bring back a traditional way of creating food that has existed throughout time.
A wheat kernel is made up of these three parts:
The bran is an excellent source of insoluble fiber, making its inclusion in whole wheat flour valuable to improving digestive health for the consumer. It also contains antioxidants and B vitamins.
The endosperm provides nutrition to the seed’s embryo. It provides starchy carbohydrates, proteins and small amounts of minerals and nutrients to the consumer. This is the part of the grain retained when it is processed into flour using roller mills. It is then “enriched” to add the nutrients lost by removing the germ and bran back into the final product.
The germ is the embryo of the wheat plant. Because the germ’s high fat content can limit the shelf life of flour, the germ is often separated from flour during industrial milling. These are healthy fats, however, and are best left in the flour. Wheat germ is the “heart” of the wheat kernel, and is packed with folate, thiamin, magnesium, vitamin B6, iron, selenium, vitamin E, zinc, and fiber.
Whole grains contain all three parts of the kernel. Reﬁning removes the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm. Without the bran and germ, about 25% of the protein is lost, and at least seventeen key nutrients are greatly reduced from the original whole grain.
The initial purpose of removing the bran and germ was to create a more shelf stable product which was also then heated to adjust the moisture content, further increasing its stability. This is a much more transportable product, with a longer shelf life, but as a highly processed food, it lost much of its value in the process. Returning to stone milled flour is a movement toward better health!