Flour is a powder which may either be fine or coarse made by grinding raw grains or roots and used to make many different foods. For we lovers of pasta, pastries, and cakes, we certainly have to recognize that flour wins over Netflix any day, anytime, can I get an Amen? I still love me some Netflix though. Flour is very rich in carbohydrates, it contains a high proportion of starches, which are a subset of carbohydrates.
Wheat flour is produced from the milling of wheat. It is one of the wide range of flours that exist and is the most common flour, it is so common that many understand that ‘flour’ refers to ‘wheat flour alone. The reason is not so far-fetched, wheat flour contains a protein known as gluten which has high binding power, if you have ever tried baking biscuits with any other type of flour and you noticed that it was breaking, it’s probably because of the low gluten content in flour. Due to the unique viscoelastic and adhesive properties of gluten proteins, global demand for wheat is increasing. For example, from FAO Food Balance Sheets, it is notable that the contribution of wheat to total kcal between 1961-2011 increased significantly in Nigeria (from less than 1% to 6.64%, turns out it is not only because of Eba that we are not skinny. Many of us are one baked product from our dream weight.
You may have noticed that not all flours are the same, wheat varieties exist and they could be either soft or weak if their gluten content is low and if its gluten content is high, it is called hard. Hard flour is high in gluten, with 12-14% gluten content, and its dough has an elastic toughness that holds the shape well once baked, hard flour is good for crusty or chewy breads.
On the other hand, soft flour is comparatively low in gluten with about 8-10% gluten content and thus results in products with finer and crumbly texture, soft flour is good for cakes, cookies, and pie crusts. The more gluten in a flour, the easier it is to build up a tough structure able to trap the waste gases of yeast during kneading as well as rise effectively during baking.
Let’s consider some categorizations of wheat flour and their nutritional properties:
White flour: this is produced only from the endosperm part of the wheat kernel. It is more popular because it produces lighter baked goods than whole-wheat flour and has an unequaled ability to form gluten. The problem with white flour is that when the bran (which is the outer layer of the kernel is rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants called lignans, flavonoids, luteins) and germ(germ which is the heart of the kernel is very rich in vitamin E and is known to be the main source of vitamin B complex and includes vitamins like thiamine and folic acid) are removed from the wheat kernel. Vitamins and minerals are decreased along with dietary fiber and to replace some of the missing nutrients, they are enriched with vitamin additives.
Brown flour: this is produced from a part of the germ and a part of the bran of the grain. There are visible brown specks of the germ and bran present in the flour. The problem with this one is the visible specks which many people may not like to see in their baked products but it is a great deal healthier.
THIS POST CONTINUES IN PART TWO.
Post by Miss Toyosi,a food nutritionist and content food writer at Sophyfoodblog