White Flour & Whole Grain Flour Differences

One question we get often is – What’s the difference between white and whole grain flours? So we thought we’d put together a quick post to help answer that question.

First we should probably get to understand what actually makes up the grain of wheat used in these flours. The wheat grain is made up of three parts – the bran, the endosperm and the germ. The bran has the majority of the fiber and the nutrients like vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, zinc, iron etc. The endosperm is the majority of the wheat, about 80% of the grain, this is where the proteins and carbs reside. The rest of the grain is the germ, which also contains some vitamins, minerals, fat and protein.

So now that we understand what the wheat grain is made up of we can begin to understand the differences between the flavors and general color variations of the lighter white and darker whole grain flour. The white flour is made up solely of the core, which means the nutritious husk and germ are removed. Removing the husk and germ is part of the reason the bread is lighter but many white flours are also bleached in order to give them the bright white color. This isn’t the same bleach you’d use to clean your bathroom, but it does take a lot more processing than the whole grain breads. There are also many countries, like the U.S. flour producers that make white flour and fortify their product with some of the minerals that are lost in the processing, which is why you see “enriched flours”.

Whole grain breads on the other hand include all parts of the grain, which is why many people think this bread is healthier for you (it is). You’ll also notice this bread is heavier in weight and the texture is much more rough.

This is all not to say that one is better than the other, they are just different. White breads, while they don’t have the same nutrients, are often more sweet and soft than whole grain breads and have high levels of protein and carbohydrates. Whole grain breads often are high in protein, fiber and nutrients and its flavor is more nutty and the bread is much more dense.

Now that we have that question out of the way, what other questions can we answer for you? Let us know!