Wheat is a dietary staple that forms the base of different types of flours and foods you probably have in your pantry. In order to put it to its best use, it pays to know about this basic food. These tips will explain the basics of wheat.
1. Whole wheat flour basics
You can pick up whole wheat flour in coarse and fine varieties, roller milled or stone ground or a mixture of both as well as good, old-fashioned plain or self-raising. It gives products a more crumbly, dense texture than white flour or a mixture of whole wheat and white flours.
2. Basics of cornstarch
You use this as a thickener in your cooking. There are two types of cornstarch. True cornstarch is made from ground maize. Its substitute, wheaten corn flour, is separated from its protein component by mixing flour to a dough with water, then washing out the starch which is dried, milled to an even particle size and packed for sale.
3. Semolina basics
If you enjoy baking and making your own sauces, you probably have this in stock. Semolina is used in cakes, breakfast cereals and sometimes as instant thickening for sauces and casseroles. It’s a coarsely milled endosperm or starch of hard wheat that is granular in appearance. It ranges in hue from clear yellow to beige in colour. Bright yellow semolina milled from durum wheat is used for making extruded pasta products such as macaroni and spaghetti.
4. Bran basics
Bran is the coarse outer layer of the wheat grain that is removed during the early stages of milling. Bran contains fibre, iron, thiamin and magnesium and has excellent laxative properties. Millers’ bran, otherwise known as unprocessed bran, and bran breakfast cereals are the most concentrated sources of cereal fibre. Bran is also included in some kinds of muesli.
5. Wheat germ
The germ of the wheat grain is removed from the kernel during the milling of white flour. Wheat germ is the richest natural source of vitamin E and a good source of B-group vitamins. It is often used to supplement breakfast cereals. It is high in fat and you should refrigerate it in hot weather.
6. Basics of cracked or kibbled wheat
These are great for soaking and adding texture to doughs and flavour to mixed-grain breads. How they’re made is during the early stages of milling the wheat grains are cracked and broken open.
7. Basics of pasta
Macaroni, spaghetti and other pastas are traditionally made from high-protein durum wheat that is milled into semolina, mixed to a very stiff dough with water, extruded under pressure into the desired shape and then dried. You’ve probably noticed that pastas made from durum semolina retain their shape during cooking. Pastas made from other wheats tend to lose texture and shape on standing after cooking.
Easy wheats and flours
Knowing your wheats whether forming the base of four or other foods in your cupboard helps you to eat and cook much better. These tips will give you the knowledge to make the most of what you have in stock for nutritious and delicious meals.