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Whole Wheat Flour

Whole Wheat Flour is a basic food ingredient which is obtained by grinding the whole grain of wheat, including the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The whole wheat grain is also known as ‘wheat berry’. Whole wheat flour is coarse and slightly brown in color due to the complete wheat kernel being used for grinding.

 

Origin

 

The first archaeological evidence of wheat cultivation has been found 9000 years ago, in the Fertile Crescent including Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Armenia and Iraq.

 

Methods of Preparation

 

Whole wheat flour can be kneaded into dough or mixed into a batter for further use. The batter or dough can be baked, steamed, fried or roasted. The dough can be fermented to further increase the nutritional content of the whole wheat flour.

 

Cuisines and Popular Recipes

 

Whole wheat flour is widely used in most cuisines of the world – such as Mexican, Italian, Indian etc. – for making various dishes and basic food items. The most popular being the whole wheat bread which is a staple food across the world. Whole wheat bread may be found in the form of buns, loaves, bagels, pretzels, tortillas, wraps, chapattis, rotis or parathas. Other popular uses of whole wheat flour is for making specific whole wheat cakes, muffins, pancakes, cookies, pizza dough, crackers, pie crusts, macaroni, spaghetti or vermicelli. While all of the above items are also made with refined flour, there is a growing demand for all products made with whole wheat flour because of its health benefits over refined flour.

 

Nutritive Value

 

Whole wheat flour is more nutritious than refined flour because of its high content of various vitamins, minerals and protein. It is rich in thiamine, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium and fiber which also lend it the earthy taste. It contains phytochemicals including antioxidants which help to ward off cancer. It acts as a laxative and also helps to substantially lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk.

 

Buying and Storing

 

There is a wide variety of wheat available depending on which part of the world, it has been cultivated. Commonly available are the White or Red Spring Wheat and the White or Red Winter Wheat. While buying flour packets, it is vital to look for securely sealed bags or boxes, as torn packages will expose the flour to air and insect contamination. Whole wheat flour has a shorter shelf life than its counterpart – white flour. This is because the oil from the bran can cause it to become rancid. It can be stored at room temperature for up to a week or two, but beyond this it should be either refrigerated or kept in the freezer, which will keep it good for even up to a year.

 

Non-Food Uses

 

Whole wheat flour is widely used in the production of cosmetics, alcohol, wallboard, news print, paper products, concrete, gluten and oil.

 

Trivia

 

  • Wheat is such a versatile crop that it is harvested every month in some part of the world.
  • In United States, the per capita consumption of wheat exceeds any other single food staple.