I know I’ve been a little bit quite here on the blog lately. I’ve been working away behind the scenes sharing in depth emails for the 25 Day Grace Filled Journey to Real Food. To be honest, I am tired. It’s been a lot of work on my end, but the blessing of seeing so many people enthusiastically learning such important information about our food system, and then, implementing small changes to nourish their families has quite literally brought tears to my eyes. God is good!
Just so you know, you can subscribe to the 25 Day Grace Filled Journey to Real Food at any time and you’ll start receiving the emails from day one. Its been going amazingly well and it’s been neat to see our facebook group grow by leaps and bounds!
We’re now over 1,000 people!
What I love about this group is that everyone there is so encouraging and willing to help one another on our journey’s. It’s been fantastic to be a part of! Feel free to join us by clicking here.
So, as part of this journey I’ve been sharing many topics about the basics of real food. Yesterday, I wrote an email called, The Tangled Web of Bread. I’ve shared briefly about my own thoughts and uses of bread throughout the years; however, I’ve never dedicated a post to it. It’s such a hard topic to write about because there are so many different thoughts, philosophy, and really personal convictions when it comes to bread.
I finally got all of my own thoughts about the subject down and I feel that I’m finally at a settled place with it so I’ve decided to share it here with all of you. Now please remember that this is my own understanding and research about the subject. I’d love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to comment and let me know what you think in the comments.
Also.. the email post was sponsored by Jovial Foods so you will learn a bit about their company as well. Please take note that they have kindly extended their online coupon code to all the My Humble Kitchen readers. It’s a good one so stick around to the end 😉
The Tangled Web of Bread
“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Bread has been eaten since creation – It’s been a form of sustenance and nourishment. Widows and those without would glean wheat berries from the fields after harvest to be ground and made into bread. It’s amazing to think that since the beginning of time, people not only survived but thrived on bread.
Why is it that today so many of us suffer from allergies, gluten intolerance, and other deficiencies from what was once the sustenance of life? Lets start with the wheat berry.
What is a Wheat Berry?
A wheat kernel (berry) is an edible seed composed of three parts – the bran, the endosperm, and the germ. Since the wheat kernel is left intact, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away.
The bran is the outer covering of the kernel. It makes up only a small portion of the grain but consists of several layers – including the nutrient-rich aleurone – and contains a disproportionate share of nutrients. The bran layers supply 86 percent of the niacin, 43 percent of the riboflavin, and 66 percent of all the minerals in the grain, as well as practically all of the grain’s dietary fiber.
The starchy endosperm accounts for about 83 percent of the grain’s weight. Most of the protein and carbohydrates are stored in the endosperm, as are some minerals and B vitamins (though less than are in the bran). This layer also has some dietary fiber; for example, about 25 percent of the fiber in wheat is found in the endosperm.
The smallest part of the grain is the germ; it constitutes about 2 percent of the kernel’s weight. Located at the base of the kernel, the germ is the part of the seed that if planted would sprout to form a new plant. It contains a good amount of polyunsaturated fat, and, as a consequence, is often removed during milling to prevent grain products from turning rancid. The germ is also relatively rich in vitamin E and the B vitamins, though it has fewer of the latter than are found in the bran or endosperm, and some minerals.
White flour is actually made by stripping the bran and the germ, leaving the white endosperm. This refined flour looses between 48-98% of the many naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
By this information alone, it’s no wonder that wheat flour is what is promoted as healthy. However, if whole wheat is so healthy, why are there so many people that are gluten intolerant?
Modern Wheat Versus Traditional Wheat
If you look at the picture above from Jovial Farms, the wheat to the left are Ancient grains. Carla, founder of Jovial Foods, is holding Einkorn. The wheat to the right is modern, hybridized wheat.
Can you tell the difference. The one to the left is taller with less grains. The wheat to the right is shorter with larger heads of grain.
Deep into the industrial revolution, experts engineered and bred grain to streamline the baking process. Fast, efficient baking methods required larger amounts of gluten and yeast. After all, gluten is what holds those desirable holes in the bread that make the difference between a light, airy loaf and a dense, thick loaf. So, wheat was engineered to contain more gluten. And then it was engineered to contain even more gluten. Today’s wheat contains far more gluten than any ancient grains.
Additionally, wheat was bred to respond to heavy applications of fertilizers. This led to another problem. Wheat was a fairly tall plant. The fertilized wheat tended to be unstable and couldn’t stay upright due to a faster growing process and heavier yields. So, hybridization led to a dwarf variety in the late 1960’s. But again, it led to another problem. Now that the wheat was closer to the ground, it was vulnerable to pests. So, again the wheat was hybridized to withstand invasions from common pests. Through this process of hybridization the plant was engineered to produce larger and larger yields, continually reducing the cost of wheat.
On the surface, it seemed like a winning solution. More flour, easier to grow and bake with. Unfortunately, no one bothered to analyze the nutritional content with this change. As an organic gardener, I know that my vegetables are only as nutrient dense as the soil they are grown in. It’s imperative to give them the space they need and to not overcrowd or the plants will be competing for those nutrients. When we hybridize plants to yield double, guess what, they have to share all of the nutrients in the ground. This means that the nutrient content in those plants diminishes significantly. The mineral content for modern wheat is about 30% – 40% less than those of ancient grains. Additionally, the increase in gluten means that the composition of wheat flour today compared to wheat flour a few hundred years ago is very different.
In my deepest of hearts, I believe this is the number one reason so many people are gluten intolerant today.
There is so much more to it. The extraction of the flour, refining process, and the way we leaven our bread quickly instead of slowly has a lot to do with our intolerances as well.
A fantastic book to give you a thorough insight to the history of bread and the importance of sourdough is The Vintage Remedies Guide To Bread.
It’s a great book that will spark your interest to start baking with sourdough.
What About This Whole Soaking Thing?
For those of you familiar with Nourishing Traditions, a lot of focus has been pointed to the phytic acid level in the whole grain. If you’re not familiar with this topic, pretty much, the phytate in the bran of the wheat berry acts as a chelator, a “claw”. It grasps the minerals such as phosphorous, iron, magnesium, and zinc, within the flour. Our digestive process in our bodies are not sufficient enough to cause it to release the nutrients. They then pass through us unused and can actually cause a depletion of these minerals within our body.
In order to release these nutrients, break down the phytate, many people soak their flours with an acid medium before baking or sprout their grains. Both of these methods have been proven to be un-effective.
According to The Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread, the only process to break down phytate is leavening your flour through the process of sourdough. Just like in the days of past.
Update* I’ve had many people ask me about phytic acid and if they should be avoiding it. Well, for me… I still go back to this article from Sue Becker. Click here to read her article, Phytic Acid – Friend or Foe. I personally don’t worry about phytic acid.
What Kind of Flour Do You Recommend I Buy?
This is going to be a very personal decision to each individual.
The first step I would honestly recommend is to buy a grain mill.
My absolute favorite is the NutriMill.
It will save you a lot of money in the long run to be able to grind your own wheat berries to make your own flour. You can click on this post here to learn the cost saving benefits of owning a grain mill. In this post I also share with you a bit about the different types of wheat berries you can buy and where to source them. It is an expensive initial investment, so I’ve known families to join together and buy one and share it.
Just note that when you do buy even organic wheat berries they are still of the modern variety that contain a lot of gluten. Also, for those worried about phytic acid, by grinding your own flour your still not ridding the phytate unless you leaven with sourdough.
For me personally, throughout the spring and summer, I don’t have a lot of time to keep on top of my sourdough.
So personally, these are the flours I use for my own family.
1. Organic, un-bleached, un-bromated, un-enriched white flour. I buy this directly from my baker and use it to make a variety of breads.
2. Most recently, my family has now switched over to buying high extraction einkor flour from Jovial and Einkorn grains. Be aware, einkorn grains are more expensive but I’m excited to start using it with sourdough knowing its a true source of nourishment that we can eat more of throughout our day.
Although Einkorn still contains gluten, many people that are gluten intolerant are learning they can enjoy bread again when using this ancient grain. Be aware though, that if you have celiac disease, it still contains gluten!
Of course, these flours are going to be more expensive. So you can only do what you can do. Don’t make bread a burden; Instead, give it all to the Lord.
Jovial: A Family Owned Company With Integrity
I am personally honored that Jovial has partnered with me to help in providing you the 25 Day Grace Filled Journey to Real Food for free. They are one of my favorite family owned businesses that takes the time and dedication to bring forth great nourishing foods. They are the first to have brought the ancient einkorn grain to the market and have a wonderful variety of jarred tomatoes free of bpa, einkorn pastas, and a tremendous variety of gluten free foods that are making it easier for all of us to live a life in real food.
Below is a question and answer series from the amazing people at Jovial Foods.
Q. What Makes Einkorn Different Than Regular Wheat?
- Super-nutritious ancient grain – with 30% more protein (satiety) than regular wheat, plus much more B Vitamins (energy), trace minerals like Iron
- A different type of gluten – Einkorn contains gluten and is not ok for folks with Celiac Disease, but if you are sensitive to modern wheat, the gluten in einkorn lacks the high molecular weight proteins people can digest
- The GMO antithesis – Einkorn is the only wheat to have just 2 sets of chromosomes and to have never been hybridized, this is real wheat, the way it was meant to be.
- Flavor, flavor, flavor – Nutrients have flavor and the intensive farming methods used to produce today’s wheat has stripped food from flavor. Einkorn just tastes great!
Q. What Is The Jovial Difference?
We are a small family owned business so we are very different from large corporations and companies. We have real relationships with our farmers and our manufacturers. All of our organic farms and our manufacturing is done in Italy where we use “old world” traditions and craftsmanship to provide the very best products.
WE TAKE OUR MISSION VERY SERIOUSLY AND PROMISE TO:
- Rediscover the purest ancient and heirloom varieties of ingredients, replenish their supply and transform them into products that enhance nature’s innate goodness.
- Honor individuals with food intolerance by sourcing only the finest allergen-free ingredients to create delicious and wholesome foods they can enjoy with confidence.
- Support the small-family farmer and pursue a sustainable business model in which we are directly monitoring the growing, harvesting and processing in limited geographical areas to reduce our fossil fuel consumption.
- Offer the cleanest and most recyclable and compostable packaging options available, because caring about the environment means considering the entire process, from seed to shelf.
Q. Who owns, Jovial? Is it a family company?
Yes, we are a family owned and operated company. Carla and Roldolfo are the owners and they reside in Italy for most of the year overseeing the farming and manufacturing and then they are here in the US during the summers and holidays. Carla & Rodolfo became interested in einkorn because their daughter was struggling with gluten sensitivity. We are a small company and it feels like family.
Click Here for a Great Video Tour of the Jovial Farms
Q. Who are the Jovial farmers?
We have different farmers all of them organic and all of them located in Italy. We grow tomatoes, einkorn wheat, and brown rice. The brown rice and the einkorn are grown on two totally separate farms. We are in the process of updating our website and we plan on having a section where you can meet the farmers. Please be sure to check it out, in many ways they are the base of our business.
Q. What are some of your best selling products?
We have two lines of products that we sell. Einkorn products and gluten free products. Our best-selling einkorn products are our flour, wheat berries andpasta. Our best selling gluten free products is our egg tagliatelle and ourcookies! We also sell a lot of organic jarred tomatoes (which happen to be gluten free).
Coupon and Online Savings From Jovial Foods!
Thanks to Jovial Foods for providing an online coupon that you can print off and use for $1 off savings at your local store. Click here to download the coupon.
Here’s an even better deal thanks to the great people at Jovial Foods!
Shop Jovial Foods Online!
By using the online code: HumbleK at the online Jovial Store you will get 10% off your purchase plus FREE Shipping!!
Now that’s a great deal so stock up today!
This online coupon is good through March 1, 2014!
I would really like to thank Jovial foods for believing in the 25 Day Grace Filled Journey to Real Food! I’d sincerely appreciate it if you could give them a like on facebook here and let them know that you appreciate their efforts! Thank you so much for giving them a shout out to their integrity in real food!
So, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. What kind of flour do you use? Do you grind your own grains? Do you use Einkorn? Have you found baking with it different than baking with modern wheat?
I would love a great recipe for einkorn sourdough. I haven’t had good luck.
[email protected] says
Good thoughts Diana! I agree with you on a lot of this stuff. It is crazy how much our food has changed over the past 50-100 years! Sometimes I wish I was born and raised in the old days before technology decided to play God and mess with our food 🙂
I would love to try einkorn some day just to taste the difference. As you know, living in Honduras does not give me a lot of options on buying good flours… I am thankful that I can buy whole wheat flour for a good price in the city and recently one of the stores I buy things in bulk is now carrying King Aurther’s all-purpose flour. I am excited because I’ve been wanting to make no-knead sourdough bread using all-purpose flour. I hope I can get the hang of it!! Maybe that would be something you can help me figure out when you come in March… that is, if I haven’t already 😀
I was really excited to read this post. I watched Jovials video about their olive oil last week and then spent time on their website reading their blog and searching their store. Fortunately, no one in my family appears to suffer from gluten intolerance that I know of, but I am anxious to try their products. I’d prefer to feed my family food that is natural as can be and not fiddled with by some food scientist.
Great article, but we should all refrain from using the word “engineered” when it comes to the hybridization of foods. Yes, grain has been changed, to our own detriment, by centuries of humans selectively breeding it until we have the wheat of today, but that is VERY different from ‘engineering’ food. Part of the reason the American public isn’t outraged about Genetically Modified organisms is that big Ag has been successful in confusing the issues of hybridization and actual genetic engineering. While a hybrid tomato may not taste as good as an heirloom one it still only contains tomato DNA. That newfangled wheat is still just wheat. Again, great article, but in the interest of better food for everyone we should be clear about our terminology. PS LOVE my 25 days…I look forward to your email every day!! Bless you for doing it!
Just now reading your comment in 2017! Thank you for taking the time to clarify the issue of terminology.
I am so glad I read this post. I have been wondering what the difference in wheat was. You made it so clear. I am eager to try grinding grain and make sourdough. Thanks so much for this post!!! Wish I wouldn’t have missed the 25 day emails.
Good article ! I agree with your conclusion & love Jovial Foods!
I am a little confused though by why you recommend a grain mill & the white flour. You seemed to prove that whole grain is best in the beginning of the article.
Did I miss something ?
I am excited to get back into sourdough 🙂
Can you point me in the direction of the studies that have shown soaking/sprouting to be ineffective? This was the first time I have heard that. Thanks.
Melissa K. Norris says
Another alternative to Einkorn (and a wee bit more affordable) is Spelt. It’s a primitive non-hybridized grain. I purchase it organically from our local food co-op. It has a higher protein and lower gluten content than regular modern wheat. It also works great in baked goods. I use it for all of my cookies, muffins, and cakes.
So glad to see you covering the importance of grinding your own wheat for the nutritional benefits. We purchased our grain mill (Wondermill) last spring and absolutely love it!
Such a great post! We have been using Einkorn wheat berries for about a year now and Jovial Einkorn pasta is the only pasta we use. My kids favorite meal is Einkorn pasta with some olive oil, garlic, Italian herbs, and pepper. There is no “carb crashing” with Einkorn. Hoping more people start using it and more recipes become available…it’s so good!
Reading over my comment, I see that I was probably confusing . I was wondering why you recommended grinding your grain ( I agree & do ) but then said that you now use white flour ( prior to einkorn) Just a bit confused 🙂