A Word of Warning
In all recipes in this book, to save space and repetition, the grain
ingredients are listed simply as wheat flour, oaten flour, soy, rye,
corn meal, buckwheat and the like. Naturally we are referring only to
100% stoneground wholegrains.
There is some confusion, in the public mind, about two other terms
often advertised. One is "Unbleached Flour." This is simply white
flour, without the chemical bleach. in no sense is "unbleached flour" a
wholegrain because, like any other white flour, it does not contain the
natural vitamins and other nutritional elements always present in
Another term often misued is "Water Ground Meal." In the beginning
stone mills were, by necessity, turned by water power created by a
water wheel. "Water" has nothing to do with the meal except to provide
power. The important fact is that the stone mill must be turned slowly
so as to grind the grains cold, as will be explained in the following
pages. A stone mill can be turned slowly by horses, windmills, electric
motors, gasoline engines or even atomic energy; it makes no difference
what the power is.
And one more word of warning: Labels are sometimes misleading on whole
wheat products. Federal law requires that all ingredients be listed.
This under the title "Wholegrain Bread" you can read in very fine print
that the ingredients are "wholegrain wheat flour" and "white
flour." The proportions are never given. They could be one barrel
of "white floiur" and one teaspoon of "wholegrain flour" and be within
the law. That's like the classic recipe for Rabbit-Elephant Stew: One
rabbit and one elephant!
Mystery of the Mill
"And when i have broken the staff of your bread -
Ye shall eat and not be satisfied."
A COOKING BOOK devoted exclusively to cooking with wholegrain flour is
such an old-idea that it's brand new. Up to 1850 there was no other
kind of cooking book. Yet there is probable not in print today, and
certainly there has not been published this side of three-quarters of a
century, a basic book of this character. This paradox can be explained
by a brief excursion into the history of milling,
But before this excursion into the past, I must define my terms.
What is this wholegrain that we have all heard so much talk about in
the last few years, particularly during the last decade?The answer is
simple enough........it s all of of the grain kernel ground into meal
of flour, whether it be corn, rye, wheat or oats.
Some confusion aries due to the several names given the wholegrain
wheat products. In England, it is variously called wholemeal, entire
wheat, wholegrain, and whole wheaten flour and in America, Graham flour
and "wholewheat" flour. I prefer the term wholegrain flour to
distinguish from that now prostituted word wholewheat, which in
American has no more meaning whatever due to the shred manipulation of
the English language by the millers and bakers or their advertising
agents. For wholewheat is no longer a word meaning all of the wheat
berry. You can buy "wholewheat" bread and "wholewheat" flour but you
are in no sense getting all of the kernel of wheat. The millers and
bakers get around the federal laws under which manufactures are
supposed to attach true names descriptive of their produts by claiming
that their product is wholewheat or, in their language, all
wheat....that is to say, no barley, no corn, no oats. But in no sense
is it all of the wheat.
Now when and why did the millers, already characterizes as shrewd,
begin to use less than all of the wheat berry which nature in its
munificence furnished to mankind?
The story begins in the Stone Age when wheat berries were crushed or
pounded betwen stones by the females of the tribe. After a few thousand
years they learned to use saddle-stones, or one concave stone upon
which the grain was spread and another stone to rub or grind the grain
into a coarse and primitive meal. Even today in Mexico this
saddle-stone, calle the metata there, is used for grinding corn from
which the Mexicans make their tortillas. The third and last development
of the stone was the quern or the stone rotation mill, the first
complete milling machine. In existence as early as the second century
B.C. this device was composed of two round French Buhr, or granite
stones into which grooves were cut (the top turning on the stationary
bottom stone), and it persisted down to about 75 years ago in England
and America, and indeed is found in back country regions even today.
All of these aforementioned processes obviously ground all of the
kernel of corn, rye, oats, or wheat into meal, taking no part out and
therefore giving real meaning to the word wholegrain. Then came the
About the middle of the 19th Century when the industrial age was
reaching out for more production and a mass market, there was invented
and developed (chiefly by Hungarians at first and later by other
continental Europeans) the roller-mill. The first complete automatic
roller-mill was established in the United Kingdom in 1878 at Dublin,
although the principle had been introduced into Scotland as early as
The roller-mill, ancestor of the contemporary milling apparatus is
practically all civilized countries, consisted principally of a pair of
fluted or grooved metal rollers. Unlike the single pair of cold stones
turned slowly by waterpower, these rollers were arranged in a series,
beginning with breakers to split the wheat, thus releasing the starch
or endosperm so that it might be completely pulverized and ground by
the smoother reduction rollers into white flour we know today.
Naturally speed was the main objective. Such a system produced flour
just about 100 times faster tan the old slow-poke stone mills.
Yet the very slowness of the stone mill constituted its chief value as
a food producing tool. The rich germ of the grain kernel has an oil
that is susceptible to rancidity when heated in grinding, and if so
heated clogs up the grinding surfaces. But the cold stone mills turned
slowly, and could pulverize the germ into flour or meal. But like many
another tool of early days, character and quality soon became less
important than speed, and so the stone mills gave way, about 1870, to
Now we come to the "mystery of the mill." What else dud the new
high-speed steel roller-mills do except to grind grain 100 times
faster? Well, it was soon evident that the germ gummed up the high
speed rollers. Therefore, by a series of graduated siftings it was
possible to screen out this germ. This epoch-making discovery allowed
the millers to expedite their operations, but more significant, they
discovered soon enough that flour from which the live and perishable
germ was screened out would keep indefinitely on store shelves.
It is rather appalling to realize how easily the milling trade has
succeeded these many years keeping these facts from the public, both in
America and Great Britain. We only have to look to that famous
authority, The Encyclopedia Britannia, to obtain bonafide
evidence. The erudite and technical account of milling in that
compendium was written by an English miller, and it is revealing to see
how nonchalantly he treats of the process by which the germ was
eliminated. He says, "............in roller milling the germ was easily
separated from the rest of the berry and it was readily sifted from the
stock. The germ contains a good deal of fatty matter which, if allowed
to remain, would not increase the keeping qualities of the flour."
That such a standard reference should allow truth to be so distorted is
amazing enough, were it not for the more sinister fact that the milling
trade has now reached the apotheosis of the craft when they believe
their own lies and perpetrate them with no moral guilt whatever.
But it might be interesting to ask what this refined white flour that
keeps better is doing to out stomachs. No one has summed it up more
than Geoffrey Bowles in that delightful magazine the British
Countryman, when he declared: "much of our national illness is caused
by crazes for food that is (1) white, (2) refined, and (3) keepable.
All three crazes are exemplified in white flour. The best food chemists
are the earth and the sun, which produce the wholewheat that the steel
rollers of the white flour millers spoil. White flour makes white
faces.........food is stuff to be eaten fresh, not to be "kept: as if
it were an heirloom.........wholemeal flour naturally does not "keep"
because the germ in it is alive. Germless white flour "keeps"
because it is dead, because it is as dead as Portland cement powder,
all its goodness having been sifted out of it. Let them "keep" their
flour who have no care to keep their health."
Let it not be thought from the forgiving that our cooking book is a
polemic against the milling business. But to understand what actually
has happened to food during the years of "refinement," it is necessary
to look carefully into that simple thing; the wheat berry or the corn
kernel, and to understand why it has been treated so unfairly.
Without getting too technical we can say that the wheat berry consists
of three sections, (a) the skin or what is commonly known as the bran,
which holds the rest of the kernel together, (b) the endosperm, is
volume the main part of the berry, or seed of life from which new life
springs if planted, and which give life-nourishing factors if eaten.
This energizing germ contains most of the vitamins and minerals of the
berry, very approximately 90%. Yet this germ, in modern milling, is
cast aside as a by-product. That such is paradox could persist these
many years is astonishing. Yet it is easy to see that when a process
and results in millions of dollars of profits yearly, the millers are
not likely to change in favor of producing a better product when they
can make more money with what they are doing.
And it is not because they have been given no opportunity. From a
process introduced about 1910, down to the revolutionary milling
methods of an engineer name Earle, introduced in England before the
Hitler war, millers have been offered machines by which they could not
only include the vital germ of the grain in flour, but they could still
grind it as fast as by the roller-mill system. Their argument that, to
grind the germ into the flour, they would have to return to the stone
mill, does not hold water.
The British Countryman, at the beginning of the second World War,
started a brave crusade for real wholegrain bread in England, but it
was not strong enough to beat down the resistance of entrenched
millers. In this country there has been no concerted movement to oppose
the milling trust, and certainly this author is not foolhardy to
undertake what could be at best a quixote adventure. However, this is
not to say that in the United States there is not an increasing number
of persons discovering the truth about modern milling. And certainly in
our small hill village in Vermont we have seen what can happen when
intelligent people catch on. The Vermont Country Store stone mill in
Weston is not hard at work grinding wholegrain products which are
distributed to Americans all over the land by mail.
This wholegrain "revival" is small and will never reach more than a
million people, because - as authorities have pointed out, there seems
to be a perversity in human beings to like things that are not good for
them! This is due somewhat to the obdurate fact that the milling and
baking groups have for fifty or more years kept alive the public's
opinion that refined white flour was refined in more than the technical
way, that is, it was socially incorrect to be caught eating dark bread
or, as the propagandists now call it, peasant bread. Although millions
of people today eat they assume to be wholewheat bread issued by modern
bakers, thus is in most cases made of nothing more than patent white
flour colored with bran.
The original meaning of the word flour, from the French fleur,
signified "the best part," but it apparently is no longer the best part
at all. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture in one of its Bulletins
had the courage to state that "..............experiments have shown
that in general the highly refined flours contain practically none of
the vitamins present in the whole grain product."
A great to-do has been made in recent years over the "enrichment" of
bread and flour. In England millers and bakers were compelled by the
government to give the people of that country more vitamins per loaf
during the war by producing a higher extraction flour, fortified with
synthetic vitamins. However, this very slight improvement was fought
bitterly by the millers and bakers who played up the horrible fact that
the good folk of England were being forced to eat peasant bread! Yet in
America, those gentlemen eagerly accepted the enrichment idea, as a sop
to public demand for better bread.
But this enrichment program is at the bottom a delusion and a deceit.*
*Gayelord Hauser, in his book "Look Younger, Live Longer," says, "No
vitamin E and only two of the sixteen or more known B vitamins are
added to devitalized bread ironically publicized as "Enriched." What
strange mathematics - to take away sixteen and add only two, and call
the result "enriched." Such misbranding should be dealt with under the
Pure Food and Drug Act."
The original wheat berry contains a number of minerals such as calcium,
iron, and phosphorus as well as fat, and the vitamins A, E, and the
B-complec group of vitamins. In the wheat berry (as nature grew it)
these elements exist in perfect balance and furthermore, create a rich
nutty flavor which anyone can discover by chewing a few fresh, unground
berries of wheat. The "enrichment" of bread consists of purring back
into the defunct white flour one or two synthetic vitamins. The other
vitamins and minerals and nature's balance, as well as the flavor of
the original product are omitted. What we really have in these
synthetically enriched products is something approaching a patent
medicine lost in a welter of starch, and starch, of course is destitute
of flavor. The white bread eater walks out of the grocery store
with several loaves of white bread under his arm and in order to obtain
any discernible nourishment, he must walk across the street to the
drugstore and buy several bottles of vitamin pills. But even then he is
missing a great deal in actual nourishment and downright eating
pleasure. Also, sadly enough, diseases increase and fertility decreases.
Medical discoveries not accepted by all well known nutritionists show
that vitamin E (which is present in the original wheat berry) benefits
many types of heart disease. Reputable physicians after a great deal of
research have discovered that the known increase in heart disease may
well be due to the over-refinement of foods such as the removal of the
germ, and therefore of the vitamins and minerals from flour.
And when it comes to fertility, it is well established now that the oil
in the germ is rich in vitamin E which confers upon mankind fertility
This germ is removed by modern milling processes.
It might seem that I wandered far from cooking. But this volume
is an attempt, by the empirical method, to prove that everything good
may still be made of wholegrain flour in spite of the fact that the
hundreds of cook books in print today are based upon germless white
flour. The impression has got about (and not unaided) that you can cook
nothing fit for human consumption of wholegrain products and that you
need white flour to make beautiful light, fluffy bread, rolls, cakes,
I sometimes wonder just how this food lightness and food whiteness got
started. My hunch is that the lighter and whiter a food is, the less
tasty and satisfying. I suspect that the desirability of making foods
as light as a feather and as white as chalk was brought about,
shrewdly, after millers and bakers found by the removal of the germ,
and by the introduction of bleachers and chemicals they could make food
that, like any other embalmed thing, kept until it was sold! They have
been able to educate the public into believing that lightness and
whiteness are more important than taste and nutrition.
I strongly suspect that modern cooking, promoted by the cook books and
cooking schools subsidized by manufactures of refined and processed
products, is a way of making something to eat that will quickly and
completely fool the eater into thinking it is something good to eat.
One has only to look at the brilliant display of items on the shelves
of the supermarkets to realize that they eye appeal is the main
desideratum. I feel that many of us, until we are shown better, are
very much like the woman who rushed home from a meeting of the Wooman's
Sewing Circle and, surrounded by her husband and children, exclaimed
with great pride: "Oh, I learned a wonderful recipe for cake today from
Mrs. Jones. She gave me her rule for making cake without using any eggs
or butter at all!" The next step would be cheating at solitaire!
For thousands of years bread was made of genuine wholegrain flour, and
man thrived. As a matter of fact the highest level of cooking as an
art, as well as a method of fortifying the human frame, was reached in
the 18th Century. Those great chefs of France, such as Brillat-Savarin
and Monsieur Careme now considered the greatest cooks of all time, were
plying their art before modern white patent flour was ever dreamt
of. They cooked everything with wholegrain flour and firmly
established cooking among the great arts of civilization. This was a
contributing factor in making France one of the great civilized nations
of the world.
"COOKING WITH WHOLEGRAINS" is not, however, a book for professional
chefs or for those who believed that they can duplicate the success of
Brillat-Savarin and Careme. It is for everyday housewives and also men
who are occasionally found in the kitchen, who wish to cook something
not only good to eat but good for them!
I will state without fear of contravention that all edibles capable of
being cooked with grains can be better cooked with wholegrains and,
what is more important perhaps, be better eaten for better health and
This book was originally published because of a new concern about
nutrition that was being expressed at that time in articles and books
by a few pioneer crusaders for better health, such as Adelle Davis. Now
that interest has been tremendously intensified not only because many
new books now pay attention to good cooking as well as good health, but
because the Federal Government, through its several consumer protection
agencies, has begun to see to it that the public knows what it is
buying from reading the labels on what is being bought.
But today the broader interest in natural foods and wholegrains goes
way beyond these factors. A new audience has been born. Young people
all over the land are experiencing a new joy that this book reveals.
They are discovering that cooking with wholegrains, as a process, is
stimulating and rewarding because it produces foods of superlative
taste that appeal to an educated and committed gourmet, not whom, of
course, good eating is not a necessity but an art.
And the young folk are not inhibited against experimenting. That is why
they are finding a new interest in a "Basic Cookbook" like this one
which leaves room for the exercise of the imagination and aids in the
acquisition of new skills.
Of a necessity, a quite different set of recipes is needed for
wholegrain cooking than for cooking with germless commercial meals and
flour. In using wholegrain products, the relationship between dry and
liquid ingredients is different, and other ingredients change in
amounts, and especially the knack of combining them. For example,
wholegrain corn and wheat contain considerable natural sweetness, and
therefore it is never necessary strongly to fortify them with sugar, as
must be done when cooking with tasteless and lifeless commercial flour.
It occurred to me that my wife probably knew as much about cooking with
wholegrains as any other woman not because of her particular genius as
a cook (although she is an excellent one), but because in all these
years we have been operating a stone mill here in Vermont she has
cooked with wholegrains products!
Being a fellow who believes that things must work to be good, I was
forced to the realization that my wife was the only person to prepare
this cooking book. So this year she has been hard at work. Every
recipe in this book has been eaten, not sold. Many recipes in this book
have been tried time and time again until the right blend was achieved.
I am proud to se that my wife has not committed the cardinal sin of
some cooks. I have seen and tussled with, I refer to the sin of using
any sugar at all in Southern, or Rhode Island Johnnycake, hoe cake or
whatever you prefer to call it. Having eaten and drunk my way
pleasantly from New Orleans to Philadelphia, I take off my hat to those
lovely ladies of the South, who know by nature that wholegrain corn
meal tickles the palate with its own natural sweetness, and that it is
as sacrilegious to add sugar to corn dishes as it would be to erect a
stature of Sherman in Atlanta.
Further, while these charming ladies of the Providence Plantations
still swear by white corn meal, which I claim exhibits less than half
the flavor and natural sweetness of yellow, I am ready to forgive this
fall from grace on the ground that in my early days in their nation I
relished with no little gusto to the classic Rhode Island johnnycake,
flavored with bacon fat, covered with South country butter, and washed
down with a beer that was, the last i heard, still made in those parts,
and a credit to the country.
My wife won't admit it, but I am of course somewhat of a cook myself! I
sneak into the kitchen, particularly in the morning, and knock off
muffins or pancakes, at will. However, if I were to write the recipe in
this book, they would go something like the one for flapjacks I made
last Sunday morning. I give you my recipe for what it may be worth: -
My Own Flapjacks
Da\ump some wholegrain oaten flour into a large dish and into that some
wholegrain wheat flour. Mix these together with the hands so that lumps
are broken up. Then shake some baking powder out of the can into the
mixture, and some salt. Mix again. In another dish beat up two eggs
with wire whip until they run over the edge. Pour this liquid into the
dry mixture and then add some milk and stir but not beat. Melt some
lard and when cool stir it in. Now you have flapjacks that when
properly and slowly fried on a soapstone griddle on top of a
woodburning stove, and then dished onto a plate and covered with butter
and maple syrup are fit to eat.
I suppose, however, that it would be difficult for some people to
follow such a recipe but frankly I cook by ear. I can never remember
how much of anything. If you wish to cook this way, I suggest that you
eat a little raw wholegrain meal of different kinds and see how it
tastes. And since you know how milk, eggs, and other ingredients taste
you should be able to put them together in such a way that when they
get through everything tastes good. This is my method of cooking.
Probably most women will be glad that this is not my wife's.
I want to say a word about bread which my wife has really paid a great
deal of attention to in the following recipes. It should be obvious
that the bakers' bread we eat nowadays is no longer the staff of life.
The most classic evidence of this was reported some years ago in the
British Medical Journal. It seems that Sir William Wilcox discovered
that in the hospitals of Egypt during the first World War there existed
an epidemic of beri-beri which knocked off the white troops but not the
Indians. When Sir William looked into the matter he found that the
Indian troops had been fed their native flour made of wholegrain ground
on stones. The white troops had been treated a little better and fed
It is to bad that modern penology does not recognize the wisdom of
punishments meted out to bread adulterators in the early days. Records
show that the making of bread has always been regulated from the Middle
Ages and that in the 18th Century it was usual, when bread prices were
raised too high, to hang a baker or two. An authority writing of the
bakers of Cinstantinople relates that it was the custom of master
bakers to keep a second employee in reserve who in consideration of a
small increase in his weekly wage, agreed to appear before the court in
case a victim was wanted. In Egypt bakers who sold adulterated
bread were nailed to the door posts of their establishments by their
I suppose it is too much to hope that this tradition will be slavishly
followed by out government, and as a matter of cold fact, if most of
the world wishes to eat sawdust, I don't know as it is any concern of
mine. I shall have to be content in the hop that a chosen few who have
been introduced to the wholesome, rich, nutty flavor of wholegrains
will be eager t try a hand at new and different way of cooking them.
I would, however, make a final plea for the healthy exercise of the
imagination. Cooking, being an art, is no different, at bottom, form
any other art. The rules of painting, or the notes of an immortal
sonata can be set carefully down, and in fact beautifully printed, but
the result is still in the hands, mind, and heart of the practitioner.
So with cooking.
The recipes that follow are, like the rules for mixing paints, or the
symbols for finding notes on the keyboard, merely to guide you. They
are basic recipes, and can, by minor changes, be varied ion dozens of
different ways. It is your imagination, and your technique (which
may be no more than "just getting the right knack") that can help you
reach the Olympian heights of all those who practice the culinary arts,
where it is realized that we live to eat, rather than eat to live.
Vrest Orton, (1897-1986), 1951, from "Cooking with Wholegrains," by
Mildred Ellen Orton (1911- ), Introduction by Vrest
This page is presented by Theodore R. Hazen & Pond Lily Mill Restorations
Return to the Miller's Bookself
Copyright 2007 by T. R. Hazen.