Unless you have missed out on every single nutritional item since the early 1990s, you probably know that a whole grain bread beats miracle bread every time when it comes to nutrition. By using all of the wheat grain, whole grain flour is richer in fiber. That means a slice of whole grain bread You are less likely to raise your blood sugar levels than having one White flour and it keep you full longer as fiber takes time to digest. It become Likewise Keep your gastrointestinal tract moving as fiber is good for “regularity”. In addition, whole wheat flours tend to contain more vitamins and minerals, including selenium, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of several common cancers, including breast and colon cancer; Manganese, a trace element that can help build strong bones; and folate, a B vitamin that helps produce red blood cells.
The problem, however, is that whole wheat flour tastes healthy. This high fiber content weighs down breads and results in toothy biscuits, to put it mildly. Some people may even find the taste of whole grains slightly bitter.
Bakers have been trying to find workarounds for years. Many “whole grain” bread recipes use a mixture of wheat and white flour. Flour manufacturers have tried to develop offerings that taste less like whole grains. Then there’s the King Arthur Baking Company’s Whole Grain Bread Improver, a blend of vital wheat gluten, soy flour, and inactive yeast that promises a better boost in even the heartiest of breads. While these innovations improve baked whole grains, the end results mostly keep their ’70s era, Erdmama, “Would you like some carob chips with it?” Vibrations.
Now, however, Bay State Milling, a Massachusetts-based grain company, says it has chopped delicious, high-fiber flour once and for all. His new product, called Flourish, claims to act like white flour, despite having as much fiber as whole grains. The secret, says Matthew Jacobs, director of strategic marketing at Flourish, is a special type of wheat from Australia.
First, a quick lesson on the anatomy of a grain of wheat. On the outside is the bran, which looks like a thin brown skin. Most of the wheat grown in the United States has all of the fiber on it. If you are making whole wheat flour, grind all of your grain, including the bran. To grind white flour, on the other hand, you peel off the bran and simply pulverize the inside of the kernel, called the endosperm.
Flourish uses a variety of wheat developed by scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia’s national research agency for science back in the 1990s. It was then that the Australian government realized that its citizens were not getting enough fiber and put scientists to work to grow better tasting, high fiber wheat. According to CSIRO, two enzymes have been identified that, when reduced in normal wheat, increase the total fiber content in the endosperm. The scientists then set about growing wheat that contained less of these enzymes. This wheat became commercially available for food manufacturers in 2017 and is now being offered to consumers in the form of flour for the first time. To make flourish, the company removes the kernels of its bran to make sure it bakes and tastes like white flour. However, thanks to the fiber in its endosperm, it has an even better nutritional profile than whole grains. A 30-gram serving (about a quarter of a cup) of flourish has six grams of fiber, while an equal serving of whole grains is only three grams, and white flour has at best one gram (my bread flour doesn’t even state fiber on the nutrition label).
More notably, the endosperm contains amylose starch, or “resistant starch,” which is a particularly healthy species, says Abby Langer, a Toronto-based dietitian and author of the book Good food, bad nutrition. During digestion, resistant starch turns into short-chain fatty acids that feed our gut microbiota, she says. While research into our gut microbiomes is an emerging area, healthy gut microbes can improve immune system function, regulate weight, and aid general digestion. Langer makes sure, of course, that resistant starch can also be obtained from a number of other foods such as lentils and Jerusalem artichokes.
She also winces when I tell her the price. Amazon sells a five pound bag from Flourish for $ 22.50. Why does it cost so much? Jillian Wishman, Strategic Marketing Manager at Flourish, points out that six years ago the company had to start building a whole new supply chain for this very special wheat. That means signing contracts directly with wheat farmers and guaranteeing a premium price for growing their product.
The real question, however, is whether it’s worth it. I put flourish in the bread recipe I make every Sunday. Essentially, it’s a loaf that’s 70 percent white flour and 30 percent whole wheat flour, with some oatmeal for texture. I used flourish instead of the white and whole wheat flour, and because Jacobs warned me that “fibers love water,” I increased the H2O a little in my tried and tested recipe. It usually calls for two cups, but I added two and a half.
Two climbs and a trip through a 350-degree oven later, I had a well-risen loaf begging to be sliced and buttered. I have to admit it tasted better than my normal white and wheat mix. It was a product that looked more like white flour bread.
The bottom line, if you want to add more resistant starches to your diet and have the cash to spare, this could be a great option. Just know that, like your bread dough, your grocery bill will go up.
Main photo: Ronald R. Koeberer / Cavan