We always start January with better-for-you tips of the day. There are a few weeks between the holidays and Valentine’s Day temptations where we can actually focus on better-for-you foods.
Americans say that their number one resolution for the new year is to lose weight. “Eat healthier” is in the top five.
One of the easiest switches Americans can make is to whole wheat flour in daily bread products—bagels, sandwiches, pasta, pizza crusts; baked goods like chocolate chip cookies and brownies; and family favorites like pancakes and waffles. Whole wheat provides lots of nutritional benefits and helps to mitigate the guilt of enjoying carbs.
But many Americans don’t like the stronger taste of whole wheat.
Enter white whole wheat flour, also called whole white wheat flour and marketed by some bread manufacturers as whole grain white bread. It’s milder in flavor and whiter in color than conventional whole wheat, and is a terrific option for nutrition-oriented people who aren’t crazy about the flavor of conventional whole wheat.
Aren’t “white whole wheat” and “whole grain white bread” contradictions in terms?
Friends, it’s only confusing at first. Just think of white whole wheat as “albino whole wheat.”
WHAT IS WHITE WHOLE WHEAT?
Most of the wheat grown in the U.S. is hard red winter wheat. In Australia, most of the wheat grown is hard white spring wheat. Both genuses of wheat are milled into whole grain flour (containing the bran, endosperm and germ) that is equally nutritious.
While white wheat has been grown in Australia for decades, different varieties needed to be developed to do well in American soil and climate. It has been slowly creeping into retail America, both in sacks of flour and baked goods. Even Wonder Bread now sells whole grain white bread!
Why is it whiter?
Hard white wheat lacks the genes for bran color. Traditional red wheat has one to three bran color genes.
The bran of white wheat is not only lighter in color but it’s also milder in flavor, because it also lacks the strongly-flavored phenolic compounds in red wheat. The milder flavor also means that products made with white whole wheat require less added sweetener to attain the same level of perceived sweetness.
The flavor of whole white wheat flour is more appealing to people who prefer refined white flour. If that’s you, you can now have your cake [or bread] and eat it, too.
TIPS FOR BAKING WITH WHITE WHOLE WHEAT
Use it as you would regular whole wheat flour. Try these tips from King Arthur Flour, useful for both red and white whole wheat flours:
Plan ahead for brunch next weekend: Try this cinnamon swirl bread recipe from King Arthur Flour.
YOUR NEXT STEP
Pick up a sack of white whole wheat flour and try it with some favorite recipes. See if you can tell the difference in flavor.
If you can’t find it at your supermarket, look at natural food stores.
Get yours at KingArthurFlour.com.