Healthy Bread Flour

Wholemeal pastries
Breads made with various types of flour. (Image: Jaroslav Frank/iStock/Getty Images)

There are many alternatives to traditional white flour for bread making. Although white flour has the highest gluten content, it is not as healthy or nutritious as other potential bread flours. Baking methods will vary with different bread flours, so experiment with substituting other flours for white flour in breads.

Wheat Flour

Wheat flour is the most similar in texture and taste to white flour. According to the Wheat Foods council, wheat flour is made from the entire wheat berry, and therefore contains all of the wheat plant's nutritional benefits, including fiber, protein and vitamins E and B. Because wheat flour contains the wheat berry's starchy endosperm, it does contain gluten, but the gluten in wheat flour is less concentrated than white flour, making for a slightly denser bread. Mix wheat flour with white flour when making bread for a healthy and light final product.

Rye Flour

Rye flour is typically used to make very dark, heavy breads including rye and pumpernickel. Rye has a lower glycemic content than wheat bread, making it a cook flour option for diabetics. Rye is very high in fiber; one cup of cooked rye has 26 grams of fiber. Rye is not gluten-free, but because it has a lower gluten concentration than wheat or white flour it produces a denser bread.

Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat flour is ground from buckwheat groats, which are actually related to rhubarb. This flour has a strong, bitter taste on its own and is often used in sweeter baking products such as pancakes or muffins. Buckwheat flour can be used for bread making, however. and can make a delicious bread when combined with a sweetener such as sugar or honey. Buckwheat flour is easily digested and is gluten-free. It is high in fiber and Vitamin B.

Brown Rice Flour

Brown rice flour is often used to make gluten-free breads. According to Wheat Free, a gluten-free online resource, this flour is ground from unmilled brown rice, making it both highly nutritious and quite dense. As with all gluten-free flours, using this flour in bread making can produce a heavy bread unless combined with a lighter flour. Brown rice flour is high in fiber and protein. When making bread with brown rice flour, look for the finest-ground flour available, as this flour can be quite gritty.

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