Like I’ve said before, I always try to have some nutrients in every ingredient I cook with. Well flour has been on my mind lately. I am doing an Autism presentation at school and have learned a lot about gluten. This had me asking a lot of questions about flour. The big questions are do flours have nutrients and what the heck is the difference between all the flours I’m seeing out there today? The more I cook, the more control I have of incorporating healthy flours. I haven’t always been eating like this. I was one that just usually watched my calorie and fat intake, I still do that, but now want foods that are nutrient dense and will nourish my body. I would like to work on prevention of chronic diseases than treatments of them. Makes sense right? Prevention seems to be a whole lot cheaper as well.
So here is the low down on white flour and the history of it. Flour is made by grinding grain. Grain has 3 parts to it: endosperm, bran, and germ.
Flour has a relatively short shelf life due to the fatty acids of the germ. Hooray, fatty acids are good for me so that is awesome it’s in there! In the 19th century, the distribution of flour was slow and the flour was going rancid before it got on the shelf due to the germ in there. So they had a great idea to take the germ out and problem solved. But wait, so now there aren’t any amino acids, vitamins or micro nutrients in this white flour? And now you bleach it with chlorine dioxide (unstable to transport in the US), calcium peroxide, and azodicarbonamide? Supposedly these chemicals make it white and pretty and your baked goods will set faster and be fluffier. That all sounds fantastic but the chemicals sound not so fantastic.
Well here are some flours that I do prefer to use. You might need to combine some flours to get the the result you want because they might not rise on their own. But please at least lets use the unbleached flour.
White Whole Wheat Flour: This flour is a whole wheat flour but it is white because they use “white” or albino wheat rather than red wheat. It has more nutrients and an ideal compromise when it comes to taste and functionality of bleached flour.
Buckwheat Flour: This flour has protein, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. It is gluten free so it must be combined to rise or it will become dense and heavy. Mix 25% buckwheat with whole wheat, unbleached all purpose or pastry flour. It’s great for pancakes and crepes!
Oat Flour: This flour has the B vitamins, Vitamin E, calcium, zinc, and iron. Makes muffins, cookies, and bread hearty and moist. Gluten free so substitute 25% oat flour and combine with whole wheat, unbleached all purpose or pastry flour.
Amaranth Flour: This flour is high in protein and loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, and fiber. This flour is gluten free and will need to be combined with others to rise. This is also great in muffins, pancakes, cookies, and crepes.
These are all organic flours and have a ton of nutrients in them. You might have to play around and see which ones you like according to taste and texture. You can also use quinoa flour! Buy them in the bulk aisle as well so you don’t have to buy as much while you’re trying them out. And since these flours have the germ in them, please keep these flours in the refrigerator so they don’t go rancid.
Enjoy all those nutrients. Love your body and I guarantee it will love you right back!
To your health,