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Brown Bread and Whole Wheat Bread Conundrum

Posted on Mar 28 2016


The Brown Bread (so called whole wheat bread) available in the market Vs the Organic Express’s whole wheat bread.

 We get asked the below questions a lot.

(1)  Why is Organic Express bread not brown in color? We want a healthy brown bread sandwich.

(2) Why is your whole wheat bread so coarse while the brown (supposedly whole wheat bread) we get in the market is super soft?

(3) Why is Organic Express bread somewhat expensive as compared to conventional breads available in the market?

(4)  Why does Organic Express bread have a very short shelf life as compared to the conventional commercial breads?

We will start by explaining the difference between whole wheat flour (aata) and refined wheat flour (maida or just wheat flour). Whole-wheat flour is derived by grinding the whole grain of wheat. The word "whole" refers to the fact that all of the grain (bran, germ, and endosperm) is used and nothing is lost in the process of making the flour. This is in contrast to white, refined flours, which contain only the endosperm. Because the whole flour contains the remains of all of the grain, it has a textured, brownish appearance.

Whole wheat flour is full-flavored flour containing vitamins, minerals and protein. Whole wheat flour is more nutritious than refined white flour and does not contain the macronutrients of the wheat's bran and germ (especially fiber and protein) like whole-wheat flour does, and is notably lacking in fiber. Whole grain is a good source of calcium, iron, fiber, and other minerals like selenium. Also refined wheat flour has a higher glycemic index as compared to whole wheat flour making refined wheat flour unsuitable for patients with diabetes. High glycemic index foods are also associated with increased risk of obesity. High GI foods also increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration.

So why do bakeries don’t use whole wheat flour and why everything is mostly made up of refined wheat flour

Whole-wheat flour has a shorter shelf life than white flour, as the higher oil content leads to rancidification if not stored properly, such as with refrigeration, or in other cool areas.

Often, whole wheat flour is not the main ingredient in baked goods, as it may add a certain "heaviness" that prevents them from rising as high as refined flours. This can add to the cost per volume of the baked item, as it requires more flour to obtain the same volume, due to the fewer and smaller air pockets trapped in the raised goods.

Nevertheless, it is possible to make a high-rising, light loaf of 100% whole-wheat bread, as long as one increases the water content of the dough (the bran and germ in whole wheat absorb more water than plain white flour), kneads the dough for a longer period of time to develop the gluten adequately, and allows for a longer rise before shaping the dough. Some bakers let the dough rise twice before shaping. The addition of fats, such as butter or oil, and milk products (fresh milk, powdered milk, buttermilk, yogurt, etc.) can also greatly assist the dough in rising. Of course that would make the costs go up again of the baked goods.

Since baked goods made out of refined wheat flour have high GI, they break down into sugars quickly causing a certain craving, which is what the bakery owners want. More the craving more the desire to eat and more the profits for the bakery.

So are the brown breads available in the market made of whole wheat flour?

The answer is NO. Majority of products have the brown color added to the refined wheat flour while baking to fool the customer. This color is either from a brown colored chemical food additive added while baking or from caramelized sugar added while baking.

The labeling game

A lot of companies add just 15%-20% whole wheat flour to their breads plus add color and label as whole wheat bread. Major ingredient is these breads is refined wheat flour/maida. Read the label carefully. Some brands do disclose the actual percentage of whole wheat flour. A lot of them do play with the norms and fool the customers as well. We picked up a popular brand bread from the market with the label on the front claiming 100% whole wheat bread. When we carefully looked at the actual ingredient list it said 20% whole wheat flour rest all refined wheat flour and a lot of chemical additives. Curious – we called the company and questioned them? A prompt reply came – THE 20% WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR THAT WE USE IS PURE 100% WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR WITH NO ADDITIVES. :) :) …REALLY :)

The Organic Express bread

We hope the above will help answer the questions that we get asked often. Of course our 100% whole wheat flour bread is made with organic 100% whole wheat flour with no artificial coloring or additives added. Yes it does costs more to make because we use organic ingredients and we bake it with whole wheat flour (as explained above). It also has a shorter shelf life because we don’t add any chemical preservatives and again because we bake it with whole wheat flour.


Credits: Wikipedia


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