Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bread Facts ~ Which Bread is Best?

Which Bread is best?
Before 1900 most people made their own bread with freshly ground whole wheat flour.  In the late 1800’s, food processors found that if they sifted away the bran and the germ from the flour, they’d get flour that wouldn’t spoil.  That's great right?

In 1910 white flour became available to everyone. White flour is made only from the endosperm of the wheat kernal.  The bran and the germ, which contain the vitamins, are removed and discarded.  Immediately, people starting developing vitamin B deficiencies and other health problems.  Around the 1920’s they figured out the cause of their problems, but instead of adding the bran and germ back in, they decided to “enrich” the flour by adding only iron, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and later folic acid back in.  What about the other 30+ nutrients which were lost?  How do we get them back?  We eat 100% whole wheat bread.

Here are some helpful definitions:

Whole Wheat Flour - flour made by grinding the entire wheat berry including the bran. It is more nutritious than white flour. 
Enriched White Flour- flour made from the endosperm of the wheat berry. It has a longer shelf life than whole wheat flour because it does not contain the oils found in the wheat germ.
Bleached Flour – enriched flour which contains bleaching agents.  The white color is achieved as the chemical bleaching agent oxidizes the surface of the flour grains. Most people can’t taste the chemicals in bleached flour. Bleaching changes the texture and stiffens soft flour.  This explains why my cookies spread too much when I use whole wheat flour.  It’s commonly used in prepackaged cookies, bagels pancake mixes, pie crusts, and waffles. 
Unbleached Flour –Enriched white flour that hasn't been chemically bleached. As flour ages, it softens.  Unbleached flour bleaches naturally as it ages. Unbleached flour contains more protein than the bleached flour.  It is used most often in yeast bread.

Have you made the switch from white bread to 100% whole wheat?  
When looking for whole wheat bread make sure it lists "whole wheat flour" as the first ingredient.  If it says “wheat flour” or “enriched” or any other flour, it’s not 100% whole wheat.
My family likes Nature’s Pride 100% Whole Wheat bread.  It is the only brand I’ve found that doesn’t contain High Fructose Corn Syrup.   And it’s soft and it doesn’t taste like cardboard- always a plus. 
Or if you're feeling domestic, make your own.

1 comment:

  1. HI Vanessa! This is Paige, Erin's sister. (Michelle and Erin are sister in laws) Anyway, I saw your comment on our recipe blog so I thought I'd check out your blog and I am in love! Not only do I have about 15 pounds of baby weight to lose but being a wife and a new mom I am feeling so much pressure being responsible for my families eating habits. I don't know how to eat healthy, where to start, or how to go about transitioning. This blog is perfect for all three of those things. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'll be checking often. :)