In Part One I talked about the “Broken Staff of Life”, the loss of nutrition in bread & baking made with highly processed white flour. So many people unknowingly suffer from metabolic disorders linked to a lack of Vitamin B1 as a result of eating too high a proportion of white flour. 1 A lack of vitamin B in the diet comes through the combination of white flour, which is low in vitamin B, and high consumption of refined sugar, which is a Vitamin B robber.2
One of the first steps towards long term good health is to encourage and enable ordinary people, like ourselves, to incorporate more whole grains in our diet. A small step but a wise one - Greatly enhance the nutritional quality of your baking by substituting a good part of the white flour in a recipe with wholemeal flour. I’m not asking you to ‘go raw’, although there is a place for that and I’ll talk about ‘raw’ in another newsletter. You don’t have to be a fanatic – just be wise.
Most flours consumed are made from wheat and are the most readily available. Wheat contains the most gluten. Gluten is a protein found in some grains that helps bread rise and keep its shape. Flours with more gluten make better breads.
White flour available in NZ.3
- All-purpose flour is a blend of bread flour and pastry flour - for most baking needs.
- High grade or “strong” flour. Also called Baker’s Flour is made from semi-hard wheat and has a medium to high protein content. It is used for making bread.
- Standard or plain flour, also called soft flour, is made from soft wheat varieties and has a low protein content. It is used for making cakes and biscuits
- Self-raising flour is made by combining flour with baking powder or a similar chemical aerating agent. How to make your own self-raising flour http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Self-Rising-Flour
- Durum flour is ground from durum wheat, the hardest wheat grown. Semolina is refined durum flour. It is the flour commonly used for making pasta. In wholemeal pasta (LINK TO PASTA) the bran and germ have been left in the flour the giving the pasta its characteristic brown colour.
- Gluten flour is made from hard wheat that has been treated to remove some of its starch and concentrate its protein. Gluten flour contains at least 70% pure gluten. It can be added to low-gluten flours to lighten the loaf. This is a highly refined flour and should only be used sparingly to improve bread rising capabilities.
- Unbleached, organic white flour is highly refined. Although we don’t bleach our flour here in NZ it is sometimes labelled “unbleached”. However most of the nutrients have been removed during the refining process. It can be used for breads, pastries, cookies or cakes.
i. Wholemeal Bread flour or hard wholemeal flour is ground from semi-hard wheat, and is the best for making breads and rolls.
ii. Wholemeal Pastry flour or soft wholemeal flour is milled from soft wheat, a different variety of wheat than the one used for bread baking. It has the ability to hold a lot of fat, and is ideal for pastry and cake making. Breads made with whole wheat pastry flour will not rise.
Wise Tip: Eat your food as unprocessed as possible, as natural as possible and as fresh as possible.