You Should Know

October 2009 Issue

Sifting Through the Fables and Facts of Designer Whole Wheat Flours

Flour is the product you get when you grind wheat kernels or "berries," a practice that dates back to at least 6,700 B.C. The wheat kernel consists of three parts: the outer covering of the grain called bran; the embryo contained inside the kernel referred to as the germ; and the starchy part of the kernel used in all-purpose flour, called endosperm. During milling, the three parts of the kernel are separated and recombined to achieve different types of flours. There are six different classes of wheat: hard red winter, hard red spring, soft red winter, hard white, soft white, and durum. The harder the wheat, the higher the protein content in the flour. Soft, low-protein wheats are typically favored for making cakes, pastries, cookies, crackers and Oriental noodles. Hard, high-protein wheats are usually used in baking breads and quick breads. Durum is used for making pasta and egg noodles.

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