About Bread

I’m going to spend a little time talking about wheat and other grains here. It’s not something people know much about, and there are a lot more varieties than people know about.
Red Wheat: this is your cheapest most basic option for wheat. The vast majority of wheat used in this country is red wheat. Red wheat has a fairly strong flavor. Some people love it, some people don’t. I personally don’t, and it kept me from eating wheat bread for years.
Hard White Wheat: This is a strain of wheat that was developed in the 80′s, if I remember right. It has the same nutrient value as red wheat, but a much milder flavor. It works well for breads and other doughs where gluten is developed (i.e. you beat it or knead it for awhile).
Soft White Wheat: A cousin of the hard white wheat, it has a slightly lower protein content and works well for pastries, cookies, and other more delicate doughs. I use it oven in cookies, muffins and quick breads and my kids (and neighbors) can’t even tell I’m not using processed white flour.
Durum Wheat: used for making pastas.
About using wheat flour:
Use quickly: Freshly ground wheat flour uses the whole wheat berry. In commercial processes, they strip off the hull and take out the germ and process the rest. This removes some of the oils, and a lot of the nutrients. It has the advantage of making the flour much more shelf stable though. You can purchase wheat flours, or make your own (see the equipment page for an excellent grinder), but remember to use it within a few months or it will go rancid. If you store wheat and then just grind what you need for that month, you won’t have that problem.
When making whole wheat products: use a recipe that is intended for using whole wheat. You can substitute whole wheat flour for white flour in some cases and the results will be good, but with bread especially it’s good to work with a recipe that is intended for whole wheat. You will find ingredients such as wheat gluten, lecithin, or dough enhancer in these recipes. These ingredients help the bread be soft and stick together without being crumbly. They’re well worth it, and you can often find them in bulk supply or health food stores.
Work up slowly: Don’t just start feeding your family whole wheat products all at once. The body needs time to adjust, and toddlers and babies can have a harder time digesting whole grains. Start with 1/4 whole wheat, move up to 1/2, and so on. I still use a little white flour in whatever I make about 1/4 to 1/3 white flour). I just like the results better than 100% whole wheat.
Super Grains:
There are a variety of grains that are not talked about much but are amazing. They have a full protein, complex carbs, and are extremely good nutritionally.
They are:
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah)
Amaranth
Millet (yes, you’ll find it in bird seed)
Spelt
and there are others
A note about protein: Generally a legume (beans, peas, etc.) are missing some essential amino acids and therefore are not a complete protein. You need to “complement” it, or eat it with food that has the missing essential amino acids. Grains such as wheat and corn have those missing essential amino acids, but are missing some of the ones the legumes have. Adding a little meat also helps complement the proteins. So you’ll often find in regional diets the grains and legumes are naturally complemented. For example: Corn tortillas and beans, fish and rice, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The difference with these super grains is that they already have a complete protein. You can eat it by itself and it’s fine.
I’ve found that mixing some quinoa, amaranth, and millet in with my wheat flour for my breads and muffins makes an amazing product that when you eat it, you feel great! You don’t have to add much of these grains to make a big difference.

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