Simply put, whole grain bread is the healthiest option when it comes to bread choices. Whole grain bread uses grains that are fully intact. This means that the fiber-dense bran, the starchy endosperm, and the nutrient-rich germ are all used to make the flour, which in turn is used to make the bread. White bread (or other non-whole grain bread) uses processed flour which removes the bran and germ to make a lighter and fluffier overall product.
Whole Grain Bread Trivia
- The first type of bread that was made over 30,000 years ago was probably whole grain bread as flour processing is a fairly recent discovery in the grand scale of things.
- It is believed that grains have been milled for over 75,000 years.
- Whole-grain bread is much healthier than bread made out of processed flour.
- China produces about 1/6th of all the wheat in the world, the U.S. comes in third right after India.
- In the 1500s, one’s status was the basis of getting bread parts. This is where the term “the upper crust” came from. Guests and important people get the best part of the bread which was the upper crust, the family getting the middle while the workers usually got the burnt bottom parts of the bread.
Whole Grain Bread Buying Guide
With more and more people going for eating real food and healthier options, more and more commercial bread producers are trying to get a share of the market with labeling that may trick people into thinking that the product is made from whole grains when it actually isn’t. We’ve put together a list of things to look out for when you’re shopping for whole grain bread that should make your life easier.
- The 100% whole grain label – This is the number one packaging label that you should be on the lookout for. Federal labeling guidelines state that only bread made from 100% whole grains can use this label and there’s no way around it.
- Multigrain bread – Now some people may think that multigrain means that the bread is made from 100% whole grains but it’s not. This just means that multiple types of grains have been used in making the bread.
- “Made with” [Insert whole grain here] – This is probably one of the most misleading bread labels out there. Since whole grain is on the label, people will naturally assume that the bread is 100% whole grain, but in reality, it is only “Made with” whole grains. This means that there are whole grains in the bread but in an unspecified amount. It could be that only a handful of grains are added per batch to make it seem healthier.
- Enriched – This is another very clever term. It will seem very good because it would seem like the bread is healthier with the addition of nutrients, but in reality, these are natural or synthetic nutrients that are added to replace those that are lost in the milling process.
- All-natural, organic and other “natural” sounding terms – These are all well and good, but unless the 100% whole grain label is present, this would just mean that the processed flour used is naturally sourced but it doesn’t change the fact that the grains have been processed.
- Some Random Number + Grain – Labels like 12-grain, seven-grain, nine-grain, and whatever number of grains used may sound very healthy, but again, unless it’s 100% whole grain, it’s still not as healthy as whole grain bread.
- Check the ingredients panel – Always check the ingredient panel for other ingredients that have been added to improve the bread’s texture, taste, color, and shelf life.
Don’t have time to go over the labels of hundreds of bread packs on supermarket shelves? There’s one quick way to buy whole grain bread without the headaches of reading through labels, and that is to source your bread directly from artisan producers. Not only will you be sure that the bread is made with 100% whole grains, but you’ll be sure that the bread is made with all the skill and care that goes into the making of artisan bread.
Whole Grain Bread Production & Farming in Texas
It is very easy to find whole grain bread in Texas. Just head on over to a farmers’ market and there’s probably one or two bakers there that make whole grain bread regularly. In commercial settings, whole grain bread is no longer limited to hipster cafes and coffee shops as more and more establishments offer specialty sandwiches made with whole grain bread.
Another movement in Texas that is contributing to the growth of healthier whole grain bread options is the establishment of small mills that cater to lower smaller milling requirements. This gives local bakeries and bakers access to whole grain flour that is locally milled and guaranteed to be whole grain.
Preservatives, Chemicals, and Additives:
Now you might be asking, is whole grain bread really worth the extra price when compared to regular bread? Well, there are two answers to that. The first answer is yes, the nutrients, fiber, and other benefits you get from whole grain bread does justify the slightly higher cost vs. standard bread made with refined flour.
The second answer is yes, it’s worth it because of the thing you’re NOT getting in your bread. See, with 100% whole grain bread baked by your local baker, you’re NOT getting the following:
- Corn syrup solids
- Cultured corn solids
- Cultured dextrose
- High fructose corn syrup
- Ammonium chloride
- Ammonium phosphate
- Calcium peroxide
- Calcium propionate
- Dicalcium phosphate
- Caramel color
- “Natural Flavors”
- Nutritional supplements
Don’t believe us? The next time you go to your local grocer, check out the ingredients panel of your standard package of bread and you’ll find most of the listed stuff there. Or if you have a bag of bread at home, check out the ingredients panel, you’d be surprised at what you’ll find. There may be more or less, but those preservatives, additives, and chemicals will be present.
What do artisan bakers use when making whole grain bread? The list is short.
- Whole grain flour
- Sugar (or choice of organic sweetener)
- Other whole grains, oats, or seeds
Supermarket bread is typically packaged in single-use plastic bags. Whole grain bread from bakers are usually displayed unpacked and are usually placed in brown paper bags once sold.
Enjoying Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread can be eaten just like any other bread. They are great when toasted and topped with homemade jams and jellies, or for sandwiches. Whole grain bread, due to their dense texture, is also great for sopping up soup and stews.
Whole grain bread, when stored properly in a storage bag or breadbox, can last for 4 days to a week at normal room temperature. It can also be frozen for up to three months before the quality starts to degrade.
For commercial whole grain bread, refer to the best before date on the bag so you’ll know when it was made and when it will expire.
Bake your own simple whole grain bread:
Baking your own bread is quite simple. While you won’t get the fluffy texture or perfect-looking bread that you get from supermarkets, you will get a healthy, freshly baked bread that is free from chemicals, preservatives, and additives. Not to mention, the bonus of having the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through your house.
Ingredients: (As we mentioned earlier, real bread uses very little ingredients)
520g whole wheat (or any type of whole grain) flour
1 packet of yeast
Half teaspoon of salt
two teaspoons maple syrup (or organic sweetener of your choice)
480ml warm water
Add the dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix properly.
Dissolve your sweetener of choice in the water.
Mix all of the ingredients together until you have a sticky, well combined dough mixture. Do not knead.
Transfer to a greased 9×5 loaf pan and leave to rise covered for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 390F.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Tip: Homemade whole grain bread is best consumed a day or two after baking, after that, they make for great toasts.