Eater published an article by Dayna Evans that’s falling under multiple names:
- (Almost) Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Flour
- The Differences Between Processed White Flour and Whole Grain Flour
- Flour Trip: One woman’s journey into the heart of grain and how our flour is made
These titles give you enough to triangulate what the longform piece is about, and it’s worth a read. I encourage readers (and eaters) to pay attention to the tension points in the article. For example, King Arthur Flour says, “If you look at the definition of whole wheat flour on the government website, it has to be 100 percent whole grain. I don’t see how any company gets away with selling the flour without all its parts back in it.” Yet, the “2020 study in the Journal of Food Science commissioned by Community Grains, an Oakland-based miller, looked at a sample of grocery store flours labeled as whole wheat and found that they contained up to 40 percent less of a certain whole wheat protein than the 100 percent whole grain standard.”
When asked about this discrepancy, I pointed to a few examples among the many unenforced policies we have. Take our federal language accessibility policies. Do you see all federal documents available in multiple languages? No. Policies are meaningful when enforced, and there’s no one going around checking on flour wholeness. And I said that a person can tell the difference when they’ve interacted with truly 100% unsifted, whole wheat flour. Do yourself a favor and get some actual whole wheat flour and give it the ol’ sniff test. Let your senses help you discern the difference between true whole wheat and what’s labeled as such.
There are additional tension points and unanswered questions, namely how do we make true whole wheat available? That’s what I’m trying to answer on my farm, in collaboration with Grist and Toll, and in community with bakers, chefs, and people who will invest in and advocate for the policies and infrastructure needed to sustain whole grain economies and, in turn, us. Reach out if you’d like to join us.