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!

High Gluten Flours and Gluten Free Alternatives

Gluten Free foods are a growing sector for food manufacturers and bakeries. While on the outside this movement might look like a trend, the number of people who could benefit from a gluten free diet is large, including those suffering from celiac disease to folks with eczema (a very common skin condition).

Gluten is a protein found in wheat. It helps make dough rise, keep shape and gives your dough elasticity. However, According to the National Library of Medicine, Celiac Disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine by not being able to process gluten and prevents your small intestine from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found primarily in wheat. With roughly 1 out of every 100 people in the US having this disease and that number growing constantly, how can you not help serve this growing community?

Now that we understand what gluten is and the risks of exposure to gluten for those with this disease, we must figure out a way to bake and manufacture goods that do not include gluten. There are a few different types of gluten free wheat, here at Bremer we have yellow cornmeal and buckwheat flour.

Yellow cornmeal is made from ground corn and is generally heavier than cornflour. Though it is not interchangeable in cornflour recipes, there are many great pastries and pie crusts that can be made with cornmeal. The buckwheat flour is actually not a flour as the name says, but is actually related to rhubarb with the small seeds of the plant used to make the flour. Buckwheat flour has a great nutty flavor and is often used in muffins.

There are a lot of different gluten free recipes and ways to replace certain flours with gluten free flours. Let us know if you have any questions and please share any recipes you have!

Choose your words wisely when marketing sweet baked goods

There are a lot of different options when promoting your pastries. Between the local, healthy, organic, all natural, we often forget that at the end of the day a lot of people want their pastries sweet.

In our beginning over 65 years ago, when we only sold sugars, we have seen many different changes in what small and large bakeries market. It used to be, “We have the sweetest pastries in town” then “We have the freshest pastries in town” and now it is “We have the most organic or local or healthy pastries in town”. It’s not to say that these marketing tactics don’t work but research* from leading confectioners show that when people indulge in sweets they don’t care if it is healthy. In fact, saying it’s healthy might lose sales.

This might take a little bit of explaining so let’s start from the beginning. When the health craze began around 50 years ago people started trying to make healthier candies and while “candy that is good for you” sounds like a great thing; people didn’t buy it. Even today when, as many would say, we are at the peak of another health craze people still choose their candies and sweets, like pastries, based on flavor over healthiness. In fact, to take it even further, people are less likely to buy sweets and pastries that are marketed as healthy.

To think of it from the mind of your customer, understand that when they go in to buy a pastry, they are expecting to indulge themselves. They have already factored into their minds that they will be taking in certain amount of calories and sugars. However, when they think of the item as healthy, it doesn’t turn into a positive, but instead it becomes a negative because of what the customer perceives natural or healthy food to taste like. A better idea is to still use quality and healthy ingredients but when promoting the goods use words like “sweet” and “delicious” instead of words like “healthy” or “all natural”. Give your customer the best of both worlds, even if they don’t know it!

* This information comes from a personal interview with head of marketing at K&M Food Concepts April 2012.