How Whole Grain Flour Mixes For Baking Affect The Results

Many of us are starting to appreciate the health benefits of eating whole grains rather than processed ones. Using them in baked goods is a great way to ingest more nutrients. However, it can feel like we have to re-learn how to bake again. Understanding how different whole grain flour mixes for baking will affect the end result is crucial to making great food.

Firstly, we should define whole grains. They are grains which have been left in their natural state, or as close to it as possible. There are three parts to a grain, the germ, bran and endosperm. Lots of milling removes the germ and bran and just leaves the starchy endosperm. This makes a very fine flour but it removes most of the essential nutrients.

Research has shown that grains contain high levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants so they can be an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Many scientific papers have shown a link between grain consumption and obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. These nutrients seem to be highly involved in lowering inflammation and helping the body to fight disease.

When buying whole grains these are some of the most nutritious to look out for, amaranth, teff, quinoa, rye and barley. They are all useful in baking and can make delicious breads, cakes and cookies. There are more than twenty whole grains so the scope for new baking experiences is very wide. Using pre-mixed flours is the easiest way start to get familiar with these products.

To make bread it is better to use something which contains at least one of the heavier grains such as rye. Bread is generally made with wheat because it contains gluten, this is what gives bread a chewy texture. When using mixes which do not contain wheat the best results are achieved by adding something to substitute for gluten as the texture will be very crumbly without it. Chia seeds, flaxseeds or xantham gum are all good options.

When making cakes there is plenty of scope to experiment with different grains. Many are now widely available or you can get a pre-mixed flour. Think about the texture you want to achieve. If you want a light, melt in the mouth crumb, then use a high proportion of rice flour, cornmeal or barley flour. Heavier flours such as oat give a wonderful chew to cakes and a nutty flavor. They are best when mixed with something lighter.

It is also possible to mix whole grains with refined flours. This will give a more familiar result and is a great way to start experimenting. It means that the nutrients are there but the texture and flavor remains more like what we are used to. Over time many people find that the proportions change as they start to favor the wholesome, nutrients of whole grains.

Baking with knew flours can be an exciting experience for any baker. The variety of results is fascinating and delicious. Finding these knew grains is increasingly simple as large stores and online suppliers sell more and more of them to cater to increasing demand. It is possible to buy pre-mixed bags of different flours or by them separate and mix them at home.

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