If you use Bob’s Red Mill products, you’re familiar with top quality whole grains: wholesome, timeless foods that have nourished people for generations. For this month’s installment of A Happier Healthier You 2015 we’re talking with Bob Moore, the friendly face behind the company, to dig deeper into the world of whole grains.
I am so excited to be featuring Bob! His enthusiasm for providing the best quality, most nutritious product he can is pretty amazing. And did you know that for his 81st birthday, he surprised all his employees by giving them total ownership of Bob's Red Mill through an Employee Stock Ownership Program? What an incredible guy.
Photo courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill.
One of the things I admire most about Bob’s Red Mill is their commitment to doing things with integrity; from their website:
At Bob's Red Mill, we know that you can't rush quality. That's why we manufacture our products using time-honored techniques, like grinding whole grains at cool temperatures with a traditional stone mill. This production 'secret' allows us to seal in the freshness and bring you wholesome, quality foods, just as nature intended.
Our beautiful stone grinding mills are much like the ones used during early Roman times. And to this day, our quartz millstones remain the best way to produce the finest products available. Unlike high-speed steel rollers, our stone mills ensure the most nutritious parts of the whole grain remain, so we can pack all-natural goodness right into your bag.
I’m also impressed by the degree to which Bob’s Red Mill takes gluten free seriously. When I’m cooking or baking for someone with a gluten sensitivity, their products are my first choice.
Bob was kind enough to answer a few questions for us…
1. The old method of stone-grinding requires much more craftsmanship than the use of modern high-speed steel rollers and seems to be much more of an art; what first drew your interest to stone-grinding?
I have always loved old machinery. I happened to pick up a copy of John Goffe’s Mill a while back and my passion for old machinery took a new turn as I read about stone-grinding mills. My interest in stone milling became a slight obsession. The idea of putting one pound of flour into a mill and getting one pound of flour out is almost magical—such a simple idea that reminds you of all that is right in the world. At this time, Charlee was trying to feed our three boys with wholesome foods. When I retired, the two ideas came together when I found a set of usable stone mills and an old mill. My wife, along with my boys, helped me open our first mill in Redding, California and the rest is history. It’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but it came together and look where we are now.
2. How does stone-grinding work and why does this process yield a product that is nutritionally preferable?
Briefly, clean grain begins its journey to freshly milled flour in the hopper. From the hopper, grain is ground by slow moving quartz millstones to produce flour. The upper stone moves grain against the lower stone to produce the flour. Adjusting the lower stone controls the granulation of the flour. Our stone mills are motor-driven, but throughout history they have been propelled by man, animal, water and wind. Flour milled at Bob’s Red Mill is made with 100% whole grains. What is placed in the hopper comes out as smooth, wholesome whole grain flour perfect for baking. Stone grinding is preferable because it keeps the flour at a cooler temperature, preserving vital nutrients.
Stone grinding graphic courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill.
3. Another important factor that impacts the nutritional content of the final product is the source of the grain and the farming practices that were utilized to grow it. Can you tell us how you source your products and what farming practices you look for in the farmers you partner with?
We offer a huge variety of grains and beans and we source them where they are best grown. For most grains, this means the United States. Some grains, like quinoa and amaranth, are only grown in other parts of the world. We strive to know our farmers and visit their farms. Each farmer must adhere to strict documentation regarding how products are grown and seeds are sourced. For example, if an ingredient will be used in our gluten free facility, the farmer must ensure that the crop is grown and processed in a way that will still yield a gluten free ingredient.
4. Bob’s Red Mill is known for its high-quality whole grains; can you tell us a bit about the nutritional benefits that whole grains provide and the role they play in a balanced diet?
Whole grains are the foundation of a healthy diet. They provide fiber, protein and essential nutrients. The fiber helps keep you full, so you’re less likely to reach for those donuts mid-morning. Each grain offers different nutritional benefits. Take quinoa, for example, it’s a complete protein and a good option for plant-based diets. Millet is an alkaline grain, which helps keep the body in balance. Pair whole grains with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats and you have a recipe for success.
5. What advice can you give to people who want to try to incorporate more whole grains into their daily eating to get nutritional benefits, but don’t have a lot of time to cook or are just learning how to cook? Are there any whole grains in particular that you recommend for someone in that situation?
There are some easy ways to incorporate whole grains into a busy life. Oatmeal is a whole grain and can be prepared quickly or even put in a thermos overnight. Popcorn is a great whole grain snack and can be cooked easily in a brown paper bag in the microwave; forget those microwave packets, they’re just full of junk. Quinoa and buckwheat take about 15 minutes on the stove top, which is about how long the rest of your meal will take to prepare. Beyond that, many people at the mill will cook up big batches of whole grains on the weekend and use them throughout the week. We have a lot of recipes on our website to make trying whole grains easy for any level of cook.
Clockwise from top right: quinoa, chickpeas, buckwheat, and farro; image courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill.
6. The ancient grains featured in your Grains of Discovery are pretty incredible. They originate from various different areas of the world and their history reflects both culture and cuisine from the region they come from. Can you tell us about your personal favorite; how was it used in ancient times and how is it used today? What health benefits does it offer?
I can’t just pick one. That’s like telling a mother to pick her favorite child. My favorite grain in general is the humble oat, but lately, I’ve become fond of sorghum. It’s a gluten free grain that most people don’t know about. It takes a little longer to cook, but it’s worth it. The chewy texture and earthy flavor go well with savory dishes, like roasted vegetables and grilled chicken.
I wanted to make one of Bob’s favorite dishes to share with you and I decided on Bob’s Favorite Scottish Oatcakes. Lately I’ve been reducing gluten from my diet so I made a couple changes to the original recipe to make my oatcakes gluten free. A combination of almond meal and tapioca starch stand in for whole wheat pastry flour here, and it worked perfectly.
If you’re not familiar with oatcakes, they’re crisp Scottish crackers made mostly of oats. I love their nutty flavor, and the fact that they can go either sweet or savory depending what you top them with (I think they’re wonderful with cheese and/or jam). I wanted to find out what Bob likes to put on his oatcakes, and here’s what he said:
When I’m at our restaurant for breakfast I like to go back into our bakery and enjoy a couple of oatcakes – fresh from the oven. They’re so good when they’re just-baked and warm, I usually eat them without any topping, but if I spread anything on them it has to be marionberry jam!
Living on the East Coast, I am looking forward to the day I can get my hands on marionberry jam (or marionberries to make jam) to try it on oatcakes. :)
Thank you so much for being here, Bob! Take a look at Bob’s Red Mill to see what fabulous whole grain (and more!) products they offer, and for more healthy recipe inspiration.
- 1½ cups (215 g) + 2 TB Scottish oatmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill), divided
- 6 tablespoons (42 g) almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- 4 tablespoons (30 g) tapioca starch (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (regular sugar or brown sugar will also work)
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup (55 g) unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup (60 ml) hot water (slightly more or less as necessary)
- Preheat the oven to 325F; grease a large baking sheet with butter or line it with parchment paper or a silpat liner.
- Stir together 1½ cups Scottish oatmeal, almond meal, tapioca starch, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter and stir until evenly distributed, then use a fork to gradually mix in enough water so the dough is moistened and comes together as a ball when squeezed.
- Form the dough into a ball and then flatten it slightly. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Scottish oatmeal onto a countertop or other flat surface. Roll the dough out to ¼-inch thick, and then use a 2 to 3-inch round cutter to stamp out dough circles. Re-roll the scraps and repeat.
- Arrange the oatcake circles about ¼-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until they’re golden, about 25 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
- Enjoy as-is, serve with jam or cheese, or use them to build hors d’oeuvres.
: : GIVEAWAY : :
I am thrilled to be giving away a $100 gift card for www.BobsRedMill.com to one lucky winner! (HUGE thank you to Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this giveaway!)
To participate in this giveaway, just leave a comment on this post telling me what you like best about the month of May (it’s my anniversary month, so that’s what I like best ;) ).
For extra entries, you can do any of the following (please leave a separate comment for each):
- Tell me your favorite whole grain.
- Like An Edible Mosaic on Facebook.
- Like Bob’s Red Mill on Facebook.
- Follow An Edible Mosaic on Twitter.
- Follow Bob’s Red Mill on Twitter.
You do not need to have a blog to enter this giveaway. For shipping purposes, this giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. This giveaway ends on May 8, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST. Once the giveaway ends, the winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email. The winner will have three business days to respond with his or her mailing information, otherwise a new winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck to all!
Disclosure: Bob’s Red Mill provided me with their products that are used in this recipe and they are providing the prize for this giveaway; as always, opinions stated are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items, which helps me keep this site alive – thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!