Whole-Wheat - What’s the buzz?

I have to tell you that I didn’t stray far from the beaten path this week; I did however begin to wander off it. The path is not a new one; it’s just one less followed. With renewed interest in “ancient grains”, there is more focused attention to eating healthier, there are signs that this neglected path is beginning to see more and more trekkers.

This week I started by baking two very different breads, whole-wheat baguettes and Five-Grain bread. Each recipe will yield 3 loaves; they both take about three days to make, and both recipes utilize whole wheat as the major ingredient. That’s where the similarity ends. I will be uploading each recipe separately for easier access. Now I want to touch a bit on what whole wheat breads have to offer that regular breads don’t.

The names of each, offers some insight to the type of bread it will produce. Whole wheat uses the entire wheat kernel. White flour has been processed so that most of the harder and darker parts of the kernel have been removed. This results in bread that is mild in flavor, creamy in appearance, and has a softer texture.

There is so much more to know about wheat, but I’m not going to go into it here. l just want to mention that there are many types of wheat. Where they are grown, how they are grown, and when they are grown all add to the specific qualities of each.

What is important to know is that each kernel of wheat is made up of three separate parts. The bran, which is the harder exterior shell of the kernel, protects the two interior parts, which are called the germ and endosperm. The bran is removed during the milling process. According to nutritiondata.self.com1, “This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.”

The germ is the part the kernel that will become a new plant if it is germinated. It is high in fat. Because of this, it can become rancid quickly. Refrigerating or freezing whole-wheat flour will slow down this process. According to nutritiondata.self.com2,”This food is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium and Copper, and a very good source of Thiamin, Phosphorus, Zinc, Manganese and Selenium.”

Lastly, the endosperm is the starchy part of the kernel, which is milled into white flour. Gliadin and glutenin are the two proteins conjoined within the starch that is gluten. Gluten gives bread its’ qualities. It acts like glue and gives the dough its’ elasticity; it also helps bread retain its shape and trap air as it ferments and bakes. For this reason, white flour is included in most whole-wheat recipes. Gluten is essential in the development, structure and texture of bread. Depending on the source and variety of wheat, white flour contains between 7 to 15% protein and is 70% starch with trace minerals. According to nutritiondata.self.com3, “Wheat flour, white, all-purpose, enriched, unbleached is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Folate and Selenium.”

We’ve all been made well aware that white processed flour is loaded with carbohydrates; and carbs translate to calories. Therefore, by replacing some if not all of the processed white flour with whole-wheat flour, you will be getting more nutritional value, more dietary fiber, and lesser amounts of gluten and carbohydrates from your baked goods. This seems like a good way to bake your cake and not feel so guilty about eating it too, doesn’t it?

For more information reference the bibliography on our blog for books or take a look at the information readily available @ http://nutritiondata.self.com.

  1. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5743/2#ixzz3QWBgJIYN

  2. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5743/2

  3. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5828/2#ixzz3QWEGE6Dy

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