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Monday, November 1, 2010

Oliveto Leads the Hunt for Honest Whole Wheat Flour

Posted By on Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 6:28 PM

click to enlarge Community Grains' flours and polentas are available via wholesale only, at least for now. - CIVIL EATS
  • Civil Eats
  • Community Grains' flours and polentas are available via wholesale only, at least for now.

Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

We all know whole wheat, right? Brown, rusky. It bakes up into clammy Birkenstock breads you eat because they're good for you until you develop a taste for them.

Turns out we were tricked: Commercial whole wheat flour is a fake ― a reconstruction, technically, says Beth Hoffman today at Civil Eats:

Most "whole wheat" sold at the supermarket is "rolled," a process of milling that separates the bran, germ and endosperm of the wheat. Only after the wheat is refined are the parts reconstituted, bringing back together the ratio of bran, germ and "flour" desired by the miller.
But, Hoffman reports, a revolution in whole wheat has sprouted here in Northern California, centered around Oakland restaurant Oliveto. Oliveto and Certified Foods ― a mill in Woodland, Calif. ― have been experimenting with farmers and bakers to produce honest whole wheat flour from California grain, in a project called Community Grains.

Oliveto chef Paul Canales has been using 100 percent whole wheat flour in penne, pizza dough, and focaccia and says it's unlike those things made with clunky commercial whole-grain flour. "They ... turned out just the way they should be," Hoffman says, "chewy, yet crusty. Other bakers, like Craig Ponsford, Master Baker and Chairman of the Board of the Bread Bakers Guild of America, then used the flour for ciabatta, croissants, and even palmiers."

The flours are wholesale only for now. "But until you can bake your own," Hoffman writes, "virtually every piece of bread, pasta and pizza available at Oliveto is made with 100 percent whole grain flour, including the shortbread cookies and they are divine!" Let us know if you've checked them out.

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