Monday, June 21, 2010

A Better Flour?

I want to recommend Eagle Mills All-Purpose Unbleached Flour to you. But I'm not sure if I can. If the mere fact that I have been using it and love it is enough, then there's your recommendation. I have been using it (I guess I'm on my 30th pound...) and I do love it. I don't know much else about it though.

I buy it at Costco, but I've never seen it anywhere else (haven't looked), so I don't know if the price is competitive, I'm just assuming it is.

I use it for everything -- pie crust, cookies, bread, muffins, whatevs. It bakes up just like white flour, except not icky. It seems to have the good properties of white flour, light, crisp, flavorful but not dominating, without the bland, pasty, whiteness of white flour.

According to its package, it's just about perfect:
  • "All Natural"
  • "Replaces Other All-Purpose Flours Cup For Cup"
  • "Double the Fiber Of Other All-Purpose Flours"
  • "9 Grams of Whole Grain Per Serving"
  • "A Wholesome Blend of White and Ultragrain (r) Flours"
Uh-oh. That trademark symbol. That is not a good sign. At one time I searched the whole label and found something that reassured me about its content, but now I can't find it. Maybe I'd gone to the Eagle Mills website. I'll check and report back. But for now I'll just tell you that the ingredients say

"Ingredients: Unbleached Flour (Wheat Flour and Ultragrain (r) Whole Wheat Flour)."

Seems like it's gotta be GMO. Or something.

OK, here we are at at the Ultragrain Eagle Mills FAQ. All natural, all natural all natural. They're really touting the all-natural, cup-for-cup angle. Finally, way down the page:

"Is Ultragrain(r) genetically modified in any way? No, Ultragrain(r) is an all-natural, 100% whole grain product."

I don't know the law, but I think GMOs can be called all natural. They grow outta the ground after all. And being whole grain is not going to affect whether it is GMO or not, so the answer seems...can I use the word specious here? I'm gonna try it. Also, I don't know that GMOs are all bad. But, as we also don't know that they are all safe, I prefer to steer clear of them.

Anyway, as comforting as Ultragrain(r)'s "all natural" assurance may be, I also learn on this page that Ultragrain(r) is made by ConAgra Foods Inc. (sounds like the name of a recent movie, don't it dot dot dot). I have never known ConAgra to do anything for me that doesn't benefit them tenfold. And they are certainly willing to do do things that benefit them and do me no good at all. For instance these pies. This fairly neutral site gives a general sense of the nature of the company. The sense I get is that they aren't about the food. They're about the stockholders.

So, there you have it. I use this product, I like it, but I'm looking over my shoulder.


Don Trouba said...


Thank you for writing about Eagle Mills Flour made with Ultragrain. I'm also quite happy that you've had good luck with it. I'm the marketing manager for ConAgra Mills, which is part of ConAgra Foods. To answer some of your questions, we developed Ultragrain several years ago. "Developed" can be a scary word, but the flour is truly an all-natural product. We use white wheat that we select based on its flavor and color profiles. We then mill/grind the entire kernel using a patented milling process that is able to grind the bran and the germ of the whole wheat kernel down to the same particle size as refined flour. The advantage for the home user is that it's smoother in texture and lighter in color that a traditional whole wheat. There's nothing artificial about it, and it's non-GMO.

I hope that helps, but if you have any questions, please let me know.

Don Trouba
ConAgra Mills

Paprikapink said...

Thanks for those answers, Don. I've used other white wheat flours, and Ultragrain is definitely better--the other flours had some kind of aftertaste that I didn't like. Maybe that extra fine grinding makes all the difference.

You must have a really good search engine to have found my tiny blog. I guess you're looking over your shoulder too? :^)