Friday, March 27, 2015

Bread and flour definitions

Mmmmmm Hot Bread!

I got access to a stove, so rather than making my usual flat bread, I decided to bake bun. Haven't done this since was on the Great Central Road.

But, while doing this, I read the self raising wholemeal flour ingredient list: "Wheat flour, Coarse Bran, Acidity Regulators (339,341,450,500)".

I'm not that keen on the acidity regulators now that I look them up, but 'Coarse bran'? Why is there coarse bran in wholemeal flour?

I had perhaps, naively, assumed that "wholemeal" meant what the dictionary said it did "...made from the entire wheat kernel... " .

But, no. Foolish assumption!

Hunting about led me to Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 2.1.1 - Cereals and Cereal Products

Extracting out bits:

"flours or meals means the products of grinding or milling of cereals, legumes or other seeds."

"wholegrain means the intact grain or the dehulled, ground, milled, cracked or flaked grain where the constituents – endosperm, germ and bran – are present in such proportions that represent the typical ratio of those fractions occurring in the whole cereal, and includes wholemeal."

"wholemeal means the product containing all the milled constituents of the grain in such proportions that it represents the typical ratio of those fractions occurring in the whole cereal."

What is the typical ratio of endosperm, germ and bran?

Looking about, found on Wikipedia that "Wheat consists of approximately 83% endosperm, 14.5% bran, and 2.5% germ by mass."

Over on Australian Food Standards website, they state "Ingredients must be listed in descending order (by ingoing weight)." Seems to me that the flour isn't wholemeal as per the standard as it is missing the 'germ'. Since it has 'wheat flour' as the first ingredient, and bran as the second.

Looking at Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council picture of the parts, and the section "Identifying Whole Grains" it says "When checking to see if a food contains whole grain ingredients look for these words in the ingredient list:" and then, shows that "wheat flour" is not a wholegrain.

Looks to me like false marketing - calling the flour "Wholemeal flour" when it isn't.

Also note, nothing says they have to add in the same part of that grain back in. So, start with the grain, remove the germ, and bran, and then mill the endosperm. Ship the three parts to different factories. Each factory adds in their own stock of missing parts, maybe from overseas sources, and then calls it 'wholegrain'. And that is ok.

I cannot find a definition of "coarse bran".  Looking about the supermarket, the one other "Wholemeal" flour I found had the ingredients as "Wholemeal wheat flour" - which is more like what I wanted - having all the parts of the grain.

You cannot trust any words written on the front of a packet.

Edit: fixed weird formating.