What is the difference between stone ground flour and industrially ground flour? I get this question a lot and it’s a great question and a really important question given that flour is the main event in bread! Simply put, stone ground flour is flour that is made when a miller grinds grain between two stones. They can be little stones like these:
They can be massive stones like this:
Whatever size they are, they mill grain gently, they keep it cold so the nutrients are not “cooked away” in the milling process, and they mill for whole grain flour. Imagine the miller pours the grain in at the top, the stones whir around and grind the grain, and the flour is collected in a bag at the bottom. That’s pretty much how it works. If a miller wants big flecky bits of bran, they “dress” the mills in one way. If a miller wants tiny little bits of bran, they “dress” the mill in another way. If they want whole grain flour, they leave it as it is. If they want white flour, they sieve the flour, catching the bigger bits of bran and germ in the sieve and allowing the ground up white bit of the grain (the endosperm) and whatever little bits of bran and germ are milled finely enough (and that is up to them entirely) to be included in the white flour. Milling is absolutely fascinating and you can read more about it, and about the health benefits of stone milled flour here.
The most interesting thing about stone milled flour is its colour. White stone milled flour is not white. It is beige. Some people think they are eating whole meal, others thing they are eating rye but they would need to stand corrected. Unbleached, colour impacted by tiny little bits of bran and germ, stone milled flour is often beige. It tastes great, it’s good for you, and it makes simply great bread. Search for stone milled flour and start buying it today. Most mills even do mail order so that takes all the fuss out of it. You will be amazed at the difference in performance and taste and you can be confident that it really is so much better for your health than anything that comes out of an industrial mill.