By Dr. Royal Lee
Summary: Although the oil in wheat is extremely beneficial, it is also extremely delicate, writes Dr. Royal Lee, making whole wheat flour “as perishable as milk.” Truly nutritious bread can only be made with flour that is within hours of being ground. Because of this super quick rancidification of the oil in wheat, virtually all commercial “whole wheat” breads are of dubious nutritional value. The surest way to get the true benefits of wheat, Dr. Lee writes, is to buy a home flour mill and bake your bread with freshly ground flour. From Let’s Live magazine, 1958.[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. To view or download the original document, click here.]
An Honest Loaf: Fresh, Stone-Ground Bread
At the recent annual meeting of the American Academy of Nutrition, in Los Angeles, the national chairman of the flour millers [association] stated words to the effect that the reason [commercial] bakers did not make more whole wheat bread was that the public did not “like the taste” of whole wheat bread.
I agree that the taste of [commercial] whole wheat bread is not very appetizing. It is not made from fresh flour in the first place, and to make maters worse, the oils—which all flours contain—are extremely vulnerable to rancidity. Whole wheat flour is as perishable as milk, and I doubt anyone would ever mistake sour milk for fresh milk. Yet that is exactly what these interests would have us believe.
The only wholesome bread is that made from wheat that has been ground into flour by a stone-type mill within a few hours of its conversion to bread.
You must get such flour from a supplier who grinds wheat daily, or get a small mill and grind your own. The wheat should be high protein, grown without irrigation on soil that has not been depleted and preferably has been organically fertilized. Such wheat will cost you twice as much as a lower quality wheat, but it is the cheapest from a nutritional viewpoint. The fine flavor alone will prove its worth.
For Best Results
In baking whole wheat bread, it is important to use as much fluid (water or milk) in the dough as possible. The finer the wheat is ground, the more fluid necessary; the softer the dough, the lighter the loaf. Too much yeast or too rapid rising will make a less flavorful bread—the yeast enzymes must have time to work. Bread can be made without yeast if you allow 24 hours for rising.
Butter should not be used in bread making as a shortening. It inhibits the yeast to a variable extent, so you never can predict what will happen. Peanut oil, corn oil, or olive oil is preferable.
A Case in Point
Now, bread made from freshly ground flour, baked the same day the flour is ground, is delicious, and you do not have to go very far to prove the point. I recall an incident where one of the national millers was telling the same story—how people would not eat whole wheat bread—and at the same time this same man was being served fresh ground whole wheat bread for lunch (without his being aware of what it was). His exact statement was: “That is the best bread I have ever eaten.”
This matter of taste instinct is not very hard to test on animals tha have not been “educated” to the perverted tastes of white flour, sugar that has been refined, etc., because these animals will eat the whole wheat flour and apparently relish it, whereas the bleached or commercial varieties have little or no appeal to them.
It is well known to millers that rats in the warehouse will use a selective process in determining which sacks of grain they infest first—the preference always being for grain that was grown on the most fertile ground. If you have ever noticed cattle or horses feeding in a field that has had crops grown on it, you will observe that they prefer to eat the grass around the edge of the field, which is virgin in nature and has not been depleted of nutrients by prior harvesting.
We, the human race, were endowed with taste instincts that are still in effect if tested on the right substances—organic food does taste better—but when these taste buds are called on to judge between poor and worse, then it is asking too much to expect that they can interpret the errors that have been incorporated into foods by man’s so-called intelligence. The difference is quite clear when the taste instinct is called on to judge the difference between good and bad.
My advice to you, if you want to prove this to yourself, is to obtain some freshly ground flour, bake it into bread, and eat the bread fresh. Test this bread on some of your skeptical friends, and I think you will establish proof to your own satisfaction that we have not become smart enough to change the products provided by nature into counterfeit substitutes.
By Dr. Royal Lee. Let’s Live magazine, 1958.