December 18, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Stoneground Wheat

I have seen a few breads labeled as "100% stoneground wheat."

Does that have any nutritional implications?

Is it similar to a whole wheat bread?

-- Mariana (last name withheld)

(city withheld), NJ

The literal way to produce stoneground flour is to grind it solely in stone mills (rather than conventional roller mills.)

Most conventional breads sold at supermarkets (which I assume are the ones you are asking about), however, use the term as a healthy-sounding catchphrase in an attempt to confuse consumers who are looking for healthier breads.

The main problem here is that the Food & Drug Administration has not drafted a legal definition of "stoneground." It can basically mean whatever food companies want it to mean!

This is very much akin to the lack of definition of the term “natural ingredients,” which permitted 7-Up to launch a “made with all natural ingredients” campaign a few years back.

Most major bread companies can get away with labeling their breads as “stone ground” if the flour has gone through a stone mill just one time.

This is all irelevant, though. White flour has the same nutritional profile regardless of the type of mill it is processed in.

The most important thing to look for when purchasing bread is that the first ingredient is a WHOLE flour.

Any word other than whole -- such as "stoneground", "unbleached", or "enriched" -- means the main ingredient is white flour with virtually no fiber.

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