Processed white flour
If flour lived in Never-Never Land, enriched white wheat flour would play the part of Captain Hook. Arrrr… it’s bad to the core. In fact, it’s bad because it has no core.
After milling, only the endosperm remains. The outside layer, the bran, is discarded in the grinding process. Wheat’s healthy fiber goes out with the bran.
But even worse, wheat’s heart of gold, the germ, is beaten out of it too. The germ is drubbed from white flour because it produces an oil when ground. The oil goes sour quickly, shortening flour’s shelf life. And with the loss of wheat’s germ, out goes most of wheat’s nutrition.
Some vitamins are added back after the grinding, thus the nickname “Enriched”. But enriched flour is still no treasure chest.
Forget Invisibles Wonder Bread, made from unbleached wheat flour. It’s the Smee of Never-Never Land. It tries… but it just doesn’t measure up.
Nothing beats whole-grain wheat flour for natural goodness. But it can be hard to find. Where oh where is the Peter Pan of our flour saga hiding?
At Bulk Barn, the flours marked “whole wheat” had unbleached wheat flour near the top of the ingredient list. Same at Natural Food Pantry. So I sent Tinkerbell out to find our hero. When she came back, she said I should be looking for stone-ground whole-grain wheat flour to play the good guy. As long as it’s labeled whole grain it’s the real thing. Stone-ground is a bonus.
It’s the only kind of flour where the endosperm, bran, and germ all remain in their original proportions. Because the stones grind slowly, the germ stays cooler. The oils aren’t broken down by heat as much and the vitamins are preserved better.
Only small amounts are ground at once, so the germ’s oil is well distributed, to reduce spoilage. Because stone-ground flour is coarser than the roller-ground stuff, oxygen has less chance to break down the oils and its nutrients.
Bakers and health nuts alike prefer stone-ground whole-grain wheat flour because of its texture, its sweet, nutty taste, and it’s good nutrition.
Many folks today say Peter Pan is a Lost Boy. These people stay away from all kinds of wheat flour, even whole grains, and eat “gluten-free.”. But unless you are allergic, or sensitive, to gluten, I think this trend is a bit over the top. The science on this just isn’t in yet.
As a general rule for good health, I’d rather see people steer clear of sugar than wheat.
Try this easy bread recipe that kids can make themselves in no time flat. It’s like a tasty, banana-flavored pita bread, without the pocket! Sprinkle a little fairy dust and make a snack platter you can fly away on to the land of good eating!
Pita Pan Bread Snack-Platter
Make the bread
- 1 large ripe banana
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces or 170 grams) stone-ground whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- A tablespoon or two of coconut or canola oil
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mash banana with fork.
- Combine flour, sugar, and spices, and mix them into the banana, just until a dough forms. Knead once or twice to bring into a nice ball.
- On flour-dusted work surface, cut the dough into 6 pieces. Shape each piece into a round disk. Roll each disk into a thin, flat round, about 4 or 5 inches across.
- In a hot frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until it sizzles. Fry the dough rounds, in batches, about 45 seconds on each side or until browned. Add more oil to coat pan, as needed.
- Cool on wire rack. Store in refrigerator or freeze, separated between sheets of wax paper, in large resealable plastic food-storage bag. Makes 6 pita pan breads.
Make the snack platter
Cut each round into four pieces. Decorate the pieces with the following, alone or in combinations of your own liking:
- Peanut butter
- No-sugar-added jam
- Cream cheese
- Pepper jelly
- Home-made nutella
- Almond flakes, pistachios, or cashews
- Dried cranberries, raisins, or apricots
I’ve tried this out on all sizes of pirates, young and old. They all say, “Thank you, Pita Pan!”
- Wheat is not Satan… but watch out for the sugar devils An introduction to the gluten-free debate.
- Wheat and the glycemic index – Glycemic load may be a better guide to healthy eating than the glycemic index.