Half-White Isn’t Half-Bad
Wednesday, June 01, 2016
I would like to say that when I ordered Castle Valley Mill’s Stone Ground Bolted Hard Wheat Flour, it was after a great deal of research and deliberation. But what I should say is the truth: recalling that we had run out of whole-wheat flour while I was in the middle of placing an order with the incomparable Winter Harvest, I saw “whole wheat” in the name and “good for baking” in the description. That was it, but “it” turned out to be a fortuitous discovery.
Accoring to the Castle Valley Mill site, what makes this flour unique is that the coarsest pieces of bran are sifted out, leaving a much lighter flour. In fact, Castle Valley describes it as “half white.” While it is true that there is some nutritional value lost by sifting out the bran, I can now bake bread using only this flour. Previously, I could use only 30% whole-wheat flour at best. You can see the result in my focaccia (taken from Anna Del Conte’s Gastronomy of Italy).
I had little difficulty hydrating or handling this dough, and the rising time wasn’t any longer. Also, the texture was the same light, sponginess you would expect of focaccia. Most importantly, I could indulge in an extra piece (or two) without feeling much guilt.