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WHAT ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WHOLEMEAL AND WHITE FLOUR?

We spent a good hour browsing through the difference between wholemeal and white flour. Yes, we admit it, we are nerds. There are a lot of variations to recipes these days, from making paratha to muffins. Some call for white flour and some, wholemeal. We decide to be on the case to find out the basic difference. Here is our findings. You can read about wholemeal bread if you dare to be nerdy like us, here.

THE BASIC DIFFERENCE
Wholemeal flour is made from the entire grain including bran, endosperm, and germ. Strong white flour has a high gluten content.

THE CALORIES
Plain flour : 1oz, 88 calories
Wholemeal flour : 1oz, 85 calories

They turn out to be pretty much the same. Wholemeal or whole wheat bread has about the same calories with white bread. However, wholemeal bread contains more fiber which fills up stomach quickly. Therefore, eating it more often can help us consume less calories because it helps fill the stomach quicker. So, we end up eating less bread. In addition to that, eating foods high in fiber helps speed up the movement through the digestive tract. That means less time for fatty acids to be absorbed before it is eliminated resulting in less calories absorbed.

THE NUTRIENTS
White bread is made is from wheat flour from which the bran and germ have been removed. This is where much of the nutritional bread value is. White bread is lower in zinc, fiber, thiamin, niacin, trace elements and "good" fats and oils. White bread in many countries has to be fortified with vitamins and minerals *by law* during the bread making process. These are usually sprayed into the mix. It's somewhat ironic that the nutrients that are removed from wheat are re-added by this means. Nature provides, we destroy, then add it back in via a man made form.

This is sometimes not true as wholemeal bread are fortified with other ingredients and have a fair amount of preservatives mixed in so that it can keep longer.

BROWN BREAD DOES NOT MEAN WHOLEMEAL
By the way, just because bread is brown in color doesn't necessarily mean it's brown bread in the traditional sense of the term, i.e. meaning whole wheat or wholemeal. Check out the ingredients on the bread that you buy and ensure that the first ingredient is whole wheat or wholemeal flour rather than enriched wheat flour or just wheat flour. Enriched/wheat flour is the same type of flour used in white bread. The presence of caramel also is an indicator that it's not true brown/wholemeal bread as caramel is used as a coloring agent. A couple of other ingredients to avoid if possible are fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil/fats; aka trans fats.

BAKING WITH WHOLEMEAL FLOUR vs WHITE FLOUR
Replace no more than half of the all-purpose flour with wholemeal flour and add half again as much baking powder plus a bit more liquid to the recipe. Compared to all-purpose flour, wholemeal flour makes baked goods denser and coarser in texture.  It provides more fiber but about the same nutrients as enriched all-purpose flour.

2 comments:

smilinggreenmom said...

Thanks for the tips on baking with whole grains. I just recently started using Kamut Wheat which has really helped our family enjoy whole grains even more. It just bakes up so wonderfully and tastes great! We have been trying to get rid of any enriched white stuff in our home and have been eating lots of whole foods in the past year - love it!

Fidgety said...

You are most welcome smilinggreenmom. We try to post our findings and help the community as much as we can. The thing about enriched white stuff is that it just melt in your body and sieves through. What is left are the man made enrichment. We should all be getting our enrichment from natural foods. If we somehow need any form of enrichment, that means we are not eating a balanced diet and should relook at our dietary plans.

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