Do your kids turn up their noses when you try to get them to eat bread or other foods made with whole wheat? Then you haven't tried whole white wheat flour!
Whole white wheat flour is made from wheat kernels that have white-colored bran (the outer shell). The term "white" refers to the type and color of the kernels, and the flour is considered a whole grain. It is completely different from the traditional white flour you are used to, known as refined all-purpose flour, which is not whole grain and is made from red wheat kernels after the bran has been removed. What most Americans traditionally identify as "whole wheat flour" is milled from red wheat kernels, whose bran has a dark color, heavy texture, and a strong flavor that some don’t like.
In the Kitchen
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people eat more whole grains and many think their only choice in the kitchen is whole wheat flour. But this type of flour, while full of nutrients, is not a favorite for baking because the final product is often heavy and unsmooth. To get around this, recipes often mix whole wheat flour with refined all-purpose flour, but the final baked product won't be 100 percent whole grain.
Whole white wheat flour, on the other hand, is lighter in color and texture, milder in flavor, and sweeter in taste. You can use it alone in your recipes to get all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals in the whole grain, without sacrificing the taste. "Baked goods prepared with whole white wheat flour tend to mimic their refined counterparts in color and texture," says Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It is a great way to boost your family's whole grains intake with minimal effort because "the milder flavor of whole white wheat may be more acceptable to children," she adds. The sweetness of whole white wheat also allows you to use less sugar or other sweeteners when baking.
In the Store
Most mainstream grocery stores sell several brand names of whole white wheat flour and products made with it. Moore advises parents to "look for words like '100% whole wheat' on the package when shopping for bread and other products touting a whole grain status." Alternatively, you can look for the Whole Grain Council's "100% Whole Grain" stamp. To distinguish between products made with whole white wheat flour and others made with regular white flour, look at the ingredients list and make sure the type of flour used is whole wheat, not refined or enriched wheat.