100% Whole Wheat, huh?

I found some 100% whole wheat bread! There’s no question of it being a blend of whole wheat and white. This is touted as the healthy stuff. Here’s what the fine print said:

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CRACKED WHEAT, HONEY, WHEAT GLUTEN, SALT, YEAST, SOYBEAN OIL, MOLASSES, WHEAT BRAN, RAISIN JUICE CONCENTRATE, CALCIUM PROPIONATE (PRESERVATIVE), GRAIN VINEGAR, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, MONOGLYCERIDES, CALCIUM SULFATE, ASCORBIC ACID (DOUGH CONDITIONER), SOY LECITHIN, AZODICARBONAMIDE.

I’m sure you’ve guessed I have a problem with this. I’ll skip the High Fructose Corn Syrup for now. And as usual, I have no idea what the big words mean. What I do know is that wheat gluten is not “whole wheat.”

See, before the “100%” craze, we used to get snowed by “whole wheat bread” which was made with both white flour (called “enriched wheat flour” on the label) and whole wheat flour, often mostly the former. Why? Because it’s easier to get bread to rise and be fluffy if it’s stripped of the stuff that makes it *substantial* — the bran and the germ. White, high-gluten flour makes fluffy (stryofoam) bread. People liked this.

Then people caught on to the ruse. “Whole wheat” bread is full of white flour, and isn’t “healthy” after all. The solution? Well, if you’re Wonder Bread (or Safeway, or Kroger, or…) you solve this problem by selling “100% whole wheat bread,” and adding something that doesn’t count as white flour, but is in fact what I’d call extra-extra white flour, or the stripped-down wheat grain: wheat gluten.

All wheat contains some gluten, and bread wheat contains relatively more than other kinds. But if 2% of the bread is added wheat gluten, that means the bread wasn’t made with just whatever gluten content the “hard” wheat had, but with some more ultra-refined wheat in addition. Hardly “100% whole wheat.”

As it happens, I have a child who won’t eat *food,* so I bought some of this stuff to keep him alive in the short run, while I work on helping him figure out the long run. And who knows? Maybe he’s one of the lucky ones who can tolerate this stuff.

Me, though — I require food.

Coming soon: Good news about bread!