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Stone Ground Flour

Stone Ground Flour is considered by many people to be more nutritious than other flours.

In stone-grinding, the wheat is ground slowly between two stones. All other commercial flours, however, are ground with high-speed steel rollers. The heat generated by these steel rollers strips destroys many of the vitamins and enzymes in the wheat. The stones do not generate this heat, preserving the vitamins.

It's not as simple as that, however. The nutrients lost in steel-roller ground flours have to be restored by producers as a legal requirement in Canada, the UK and the US, making the nutritional value the same.

There's more to the health aspect than that, though. Even though many "universal" health-care systems such as Canada's don't consider teeth as part of your body, you might, and you may have seen one or two archaeological programmes on the History Channel or the BBC and noted the effect that stone-ground wheat had on our ancestor's teeth: enamel so worn away that early in their lives they developed life-long dental pain.

If you choose to use Stone Ground Flour because it reminds you of a kinder, gentler era of millstones, millponds, waterwheels and a smiling miller and his wife, more power to you and enjoy your flour. Don't even think of lording it over the rest of us, though. On balance the nutritional factor is the same or perhaps worse (if you include teeth) than the flour all your neighbours have been buying at the supermarket, and there are reasons other than cost why people came to trust industrially processed flour so quickly (see Literature and Lore section below.)

Consumers should realize as well that there is no legal definition of the term "stone ground." It is largely a marketing term.

"Most U.S. flour sold as stone ground probably never saw a piece of granite. Stone ground can mean anything from wheat berries first cracked on stone mills and then ground to flour on rollers, to finished flour passed over a stone after it's been ground, 'or it could mean that it's just a nice name,' says Jeff Gwirtz, the director of technical services of the Internatonal Association of Operative Millers. 'It's more a conceptual, warm, touchy crunchy feel,' he says." [1]

History Notes

Egyptian households ground their grains in a stone mortar, then sieved them. Even with the sieving, though, mortar dust in the flour and then in their bread wore their teeth down and caused dental pain for them. The worn down teeth are still visible today in mummies.

Literature & Lore

Despite our modern romantic images, in many cultures and places "miller" was a byword for "dishonesty" or "thief". In Poland, there are still legends and folk tales of millers in purgatory doing penance for cheating people by short-changing or adulterating their flour.

There were also many English proverbs about millers. "Safe as a thief in a mill" meant that with the miller being a thief himself, a thief would find a safe haven there. "Many a miller, many a thief" speaks for itself.

In Essex, England, a churchyard tombstone for a miller named Strange still reads: "Here lies an honest miller, and that is Strange".

And, last but not least, we have "The Millers Tale" by Geoffrey Chaucer, probably written between 1392 - 1395, in which the Miller exposes himself as vulgar and depraved. Chaucer describes him:

"He was a janglere and a goliardeys --
And that was moost of synne and harlotries.
Wel koude he stelen corn and tollen thries;
And yet he hadde a thombe of golde, pardee.
A whit cote and a blew hood wered he."


[1] Davis, Robert. The Stone Cold Truth About Stone Ground Floor. USA Today. 2006. Retrieved December 2009 from http://www.measuresofsuccess.com/News+and+Press+Releases/Latest+News/663.aspx


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Also called:

Farine de blé moulue sur pierre (French)


Oulton, Randal. "Stone Ground Flour." CooksInfo.com. Published 08 January 2004; revised 26 June 2009. Web. Accessed 03/23/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/stone-ground-flour>.

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