Make half your grains whole grains

August 20, 2014

We’ve all heard that whole grains are healthy, but what separates a whole grain from…..everything else? This week’s baking tip is all about making more of your “half grains” whole, and why.

Image: Picture compares whole wheat flour to white flour. Picture courtesy of King Arthur Flour.
A wheat kernel has three parts: the endosperm, bran, and germ. For flour to be considered “whole grain” it has to have been made from the entire kernel of wheat.

Nutrition Educator, Cindy Falk says, “If all three parts of the grain are present in processed foods, they are considered whole grain. By comparison refined grain foods contain only the endosperm.”

All Purpose Flour or “White Flour” is often enriched with iron and B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid) added in amounts equal to or exceeding that in whole wheat flour. The reason for the enriching process is that when this type of flour is milled the germ and bran are removed, leaving only the endosperm. This creates a lighter color and textured flour.

Whole wheat flour can be used interchangeably with white flour in baked goods although products may be slightly heavier. Add a small amount of additional liquid when you choose this option because the bran tents to absorb more water and dehydrate foods.

When converting a recipe from white to whole wheat flour, experiment with a percentage of whole wheat flour. If you find the resulting wheat product too heavy, using 25-75 percent whole wheat flour as opposed to 100 percent may yield a more acceptable product.

Kansas Wheat Test Kitchen Tip: To create a lighter whole wheat yeast bread, add ½ tablespoon of gluten and an equal amount of water per 1 cup of whole wheat flour.

Studies have shown that eating whole grains can lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes, childhood athsma, improve gastrointestinal health and reduce risk of breast cancer in women.

by Nicole Lane, Kansas Wheat Communications Intern, and Cindy Falk, Kansas Wheat Nutrition Educator