wheat flour

Whole wheat flour

Whole wheat flour is a powdery substance derived by grinding or mashing the wheat's whole grain. It is used in baking but typically added to other "white" flours to provide nutrients (especially fiber and protein), texture, and body to the finished product.

Overview

The word "whole" refers to the fact that all of the grain (bran, germ, and endosperm) is used and nothing is lost in the process of making the flour. This is in contrast to white, refined flours, which contain only the endosperm. Because the whole flour contains the remains of all of the grain, it has a textured, brownish appearance.

Benefits

Whole wheat flour is more nutritious than refined white flour. In a process called food fortification, some micronutrients are added back to the white flour (required by law in some jurisdictions) though. Fortified white wheat flour does not, however, contain the macronutrients of the wheat's bran and germ (especially fiber and protein). Whole wheat is a good source of calcium, iron, fiber and other minerals like selenium.

Drawbacks

Whole wheat flour has a shorter shelf life than white flour, as the higher oil content leads to rancidification. It is also more expensive.

Usually, whole wheat flour is not the main ingredients of baked goods, as it adds a certain "heaviness" which prevents them from rising as well as white flours. This adds to the cost per volume of the baked item as it requires more flour to obtain the same volume, due to the fewer and smaller air pockets trapped in the raised goods. Thus, many baked goods advertised as whole wheat are not entirely whole wheat; they may contain some refined white wheat, as long as the majority of the wheat used is whole wheat.

Nevertheless, it is possible to make a high-rising, light loaf of 100% whole wheat bread, so long as one increases the water content of the dough (the bran and germ in whole wheat absorb more water than plain white flour), kneads the dough for a longer period of time to develop the gluten adequately, and allows for a longer rise before shaping the dough. Some bakers let the dough rise twice before shaping. The addition of fats, such as butter or oil, and milk products (fresh milk, powdered milk, buttermilk, yogurt, etc.) can also greatly assist the rise.

White whole wheat

White whole wheat flour is flour produced from soft white wheat varieties. Instead of being made from red wheat, the most common type in the United States, like most whole wheat flour, white whole wheat is made from white wheat, more common in the United Kingdom. The difference is that soft white wheat has a lower gluten content as well as lacking the tannins and phenolic acid that red wheat does, causing white whole wheat to appear and taste more like refined red wheat; it is whitish in color and does not taste bitter.

White whole wheat has almost the same nutrient content as red whole wheat. However, soft white whole wheat has a lower gluten content and contains a lower protein content (between 9% and 11%) when compared with harder wheats like red (15%-16% protein content) or golden wheat.

References

See also

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