I LOVE bread with butter; I think I could eat it all day long. When I became more health conscious, I switched to whole wheat, like most of you probably have. But most people don’t really think about the potential nutritional value of bread which makes up a major part of their diet.
How much bread do you eat? I bet more than you think. We have 5 children. All but the new baby eat sandwiches for lunch almost every day. Add one for me most days, and that’s TEN SLICES OF BREAD each week per person, and that’s just for lunches. On Shabbat we enjoy a sweet Challah loaf (or two), and we eat bread with a dinner meal at least 2 or 3 times a week. That’s a LOT of bread.
Are all whole wheat breads the same? Is the whole wheat flour you buy at the store really better for you than the white flour? Why would anyone be crazy enough to spend the time and effort to grind his own flour? I’m going to answer questions like these and more, and you will likely be very surprised at what you learn. I know I was. (Hint: see the title)
The kernel of wheat is composed of the outer bran layer, the germ, and the endosperm. It is rich in nutrients, many of which are concentrated in the bran and germ. It contains the entire B complex, except for vitamin B12.
Wheat germ has a very high content of vitamin E. Vitamin E increases the good HDL cholesterol. Animal studies have also shown that vitamin E protects against free radicals released by the body when it is exposed to toxic chemicals.
During the milling process, steel rollers crush the grain, and the flour separated by sifters. The bran and germ are totally removed in this process. They are used in the production of animal feeds and by pharmaceutical laboratories for making diet supplements.
Whole wheat flour is produced by recombining ground bran with endosperm flour, but the germ is usually left out, because it would go rancid.