Since the onset and progression of modern day agricultural, milling industries and ignorance in modern science…
Note: wheat flour not used within 48 hours of being milled loses all of its nutrient value!
History of the Lost Art of Bread Making & Milling:
Precious Stones by W. T. Fernie, M.D. 1907 pp. 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122.
The Emerald—Smaragdus—(so Messrs. Gould, Homoeo-pathic Chemists, London, report,)—has been triturated with sugar of milk in America for curative purposes. They further go on to state: “The friction of the harder on the softer substance is enormous, and serves to show its carbonising effect on the sugar in a very marked manner, by turning it lightly brown.” It may thus be fairly assumed that, on the same principle, with regard to our Bread, if the wheat from which it is made be ground between mill-stones, after the old-fashioned way, the colour of the Bread baked therefrom, which is known to become dark, is rendered so by this thermo-chemical action liberating the Carbon. Such bread— “Stan-Myln” (Stone-ground) was always made in home-baking days with flour of wheat-grains, including their germ, or embryo; which germ is characterized by its special richness in proteid, and fat,—each in a soluble form. But now-a-days, so as to produce white bread for fastidious consumers, by the modern processes of roller-milling, the wheat germ is purposely left out therefrom. A supposition is advanced that the oil which is contained so abundantly in the germ is apt to become rancid, and to spoil the flour; also that at the same time the soluble proteids which are present in the germ, being apt to act upon the starch of the flour, serve to convert part thereof into soluble dextrin, and sugar; these darkening the colour of the bread in the oven. But this plausible conjecture is really not tenable. Rancid bread in the good old home-baking days was a thing unknown; indeed, the said household bread, of appetisingly brownish hue, with its sweet, nutty flavour, would remain quite excellent for eating, a full fortnight, or longer, after its baking. Far more likely is it that the said dark colour of such bread (offending the dainty folk of these Sybarite times) is due to the salutary “carbonising” which we have described. Moreover, the positive fact should be borne in mind that this carbonising materially increases the easy digestibility of the loaf. An important increment of mineral food-salts, over and above what white bread is able to afford, is at the same time secured. Regarding this whole subject (which is assuredly of vital importance) **The Lancet, in a comparatively recent article on “The Purity of Bread,” has taught uncompromisingly what a much better “staff of life” is the old-fashioned loaf, made from stone-crushed flour, than the modern unnatural snow-white bread, with this quality of deceptive whiteness: as much due to chemicals as to the steam-roller-milling process. *"The latest device for producing such *absurdly white bread as the pampered taste of to-day likes to procure, is that of bleaching the flour by means of ozone, and nitrous acid. Canaught be more deleterious than this in the long run?” With reference to "Stan-Myln " (Saxon, “Stone-Mill”) flour, a firm of leading millers (at Kingston-on-Thames) draw attention to the fact that in the composition of stone-ground bread the wheat-germ itself is of a deep golden colour; and, as this is ground by the fraying action of the stones into countless minute particles which mingle with the starch of the flour, it must considerably modify the whiteness of the total product: (a paraphrase this in some sense, of the Scriptural query— “What man is there of you whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?”). These manufacturers, stone millers, of sixty years standing, add: “We buy wheats of the finest quality only, for Stan-Myln flour, whilst paying scrupulous attention to their ‘condition,’ and blending.” This may account for the absence of anything like a rancid flavour, such as has been observed in certain other breads, some of which are made from the germ obtained from roller mills, merely ground, and mixed with ordinary flour, and other material. " Up to the present we have not received a single complaint, as to any taint in our bread, such as would be caused by the presence of rancid germ-oil." “By our process we add nothing whatever to the flour; and ‘Stan-Myln’ bread is in every particular what one remembers fondly in boyhood,—the good old-fashioned, home-made bread of forty, or fifty years ago, when roller mills were unknown: except that this bread of ours is now made from a better average class of wheats, more carefully blended, than the miller of those days used.” Personal recollections of our own certainly bear out the statement; it being well remembered by us that baking-day,—a periodical little festival of childhood’s time, and much reckoned on then, because of certain privileged Dough-nuts, hot, sweet, and eagerly eaten,—did not recur more often than once a week at the outside; and that the batch of bread baked at such infrequent times continued to be appetising, and moist, and of nice flavour, to the last. Loving memories of the dear old wood-heated brick oven, immediately beyond the kitchen precincts, still dwell regretfully in our minds. In the “Btan-Myln” mills already noticed, the tough germ-seed escapes all risk of becoming flattened out, to the detriment of the flour; because contact with, and the friction of, the rough surfaces of the mill-stones reduces the germ to fine particles which are impalpably miscible with the flour. But in roller mills the result is far different, because the friction effected by two iron rollers revolving in opposite directions, is looser than that brought about by the close millstones; and thus the germ-seed becomes quickly liberated in the form of small discs, which escape altogether from the flour.
LINES—" To GOD." " Bread for our service, bread for shew; Meat for our meals; and fragments too: He gives not poorly,—taking some Between the finger and the thumb ; But for our glut, and for our store, Fine flour press’d down, and running o’er."
“In former days,” tells Dr. R. Hutchison, “when good flour was more expensive than now, adulterants were often added to bread; of which alum was one of the most harmful. Inferior flour will not form good dough because of too great a solubility of its proteids; but alum seems to unite with these proteids so that they become inert, the dough therefore retaining its toughness, and power of holding water. Sulphate of copper, and lime, will act in a like manner. Fortunately, however, these adulterations would seem to have become things of the past; and it is comforting to learn, on capable authority (Goodfellow), what may now be considered a certain fact, that the bread supplied to the people of England is practically pure.” We may note that the crust of bread contains eight times as much soluble nutrient proteid as the crumb; also three times as much nitrogenous (muscle-building) matter, half as much again of starch (warmth-producing), and less than half as much water. A considerable portion of protein (a valuable constituent of wheat) is withheld in the coarser parts of the grain,—the bran, and pollard, —which, if left in the bread, would resist the action of the digestive juices, and defy digestion. But these valuable food-salts may be utilized by making “Bran-tea,” which is specially beneficial for children affected with rickets. Such a “tea" may be readily brewed by putting one measure of ordinary coarse wheat-bran into three measures of the same size of fast-boiling water, and allowing it to simmer steadily for not less than thirty minutes. A small lump of cane-sugar, if added, will help to maintain the full boiling-point of the water. The liquor should be then strained through a sieve, and may be used as a tea; also in making stock for soup, or barley-water; as well as for boiling rice therein. Again, bran serves excellent purposes for outward use. Foot-baths prepared therewith are of capital service for relieving gouty limbs, as well as for affording comfort, and ease to tender feet. For which uses some bran should be put loosely in a large flannel bag (secured at its top), and completely covered by boiling water. The temperature of the bath must be kept as high as it can be borne. In Hard Times, by Charles Dickens, 1854, a capital character, Mrs. Sparsit, who poses as a pattern of self-denial, but takes good care of Number One, in the privacy of her own (the Housekeeper’s) room, is required by Mr. Bounderby, her master, to go as care-taker at Mr. B’s Bank. She pleads, with a sigh—“I shall not be freed from the necessity of eating the bread of dependence!” (She might have said “the ‘sweet-bread,’ seeing that this delicate article, in a savoury brown sauce, was her favourite supper.”) A writer of note in his day (long past ;—1380), John Mirfield, advised “to take warm bread, a few morsels only, for prevailing against pestilential air, and against fetid morbific vapours. This is also good against the fetor of the sea; and, if you have not warm fresh bread,” wrote Mirfield, “da tostum” :—use toast. It is re-markable with regard to this phrase " the fetor of the sea," that our present general notion that fresh lively breezes from the open sea are eminently salubrious, has not always prevailed. For example :—in an account of Northamptonshire, published in 1738,—the writer thus expresses himself : “The air of Northamptonshire is exceedingly pleasant, and wholesome ; the sea being so remote that this air is not infected with its (the sea’s) noisome fumes.”