What's in whole wheat bread

Recognize real wholemeal bread - avoid typical mistakes

A crispy grain crust often conceals cheap extract flour. Image: pixabay.com

Whole grain products play an important role in a balanced diet. Unfortunately, wholemeal bread is not always immediately recognizable at the baker's. On the contrary, it is often wrongly given the impression that a grain bread is a "whole grain bread".

So that you don't make this typical mistake, we have collected some useful information about wholemeal bread, which you can use as a guide when shopping.

That means "whole grain"

The term "whole grain" stands for products whose grain content is obtained from whole grain. After the harvest, only the husks and awns are removed from the grain - the bran and seedling remain. This is what distinguishes wholemeal flour from flours made from hulled grain (which are mostly used).

The advantage of whole grain products is that they are rich in vitamins, nutrients, natural oils and valuable fiber. Whole grain bread also lasts longer than bread made from extract flour.

The definition of what counts as "whole grain" differs in detail from one grain to another. But it is important: In Germany there is a legal definition for "wholemeal bread". Therefore, not every bread can be called "whole grain bread".

Wheat is an important staple food - but it is often heavily processed. Image: pixabay.com

Whole grain bread is not always the same

Whole wheat flour is - despite the less processing - usually more expensive than extract flour. That is why many bakers try to make conventional bread look like high-quality wholemeal bread without designating it as such.

Typical terms are e.g. B. "grain bread", "multigrain bread", "whole grain bread" or "power grain bread". Often it is bread made from (cheaper) extract flour, which has also been enriched with whole grains. Important: such products can Whole-grain breads can also be, but they are often not.

Because just because there are a few grains on the crust or in the bread, the flour used is far from being wholemeal flour. A bread made from white flour can also be sprinkled with sunflower seeds and the like.

At the same time, wholemeal bread does not necessarily have to contain whole grains. Even a bread without whole grains can be whole grain bread.

Whole grain bread is not always recognizable by its color.

A nice, crispy brown bread looks like real whole grain bread. But the impression is sometimes deceptive! Often only the crust has this appetizing color. And many bakers color their breads with caramel syrup to give them a rustic look that many consumers associate with healthy, moist bread.

A real wholemeal bread can also have a relatively light, gray color. Whole grain breads are often juicy and dark (especially sourdough breads), but by no means always!

Whole grain bread - this is what you should watch out for

But how do you actually recognize a real wholemeal bread? How do you distinguish it from normal bread made from extract flour?
Here are a few important points:

  • Whole grain bread is a protected term. A real wholemeal bread must consist of 90% wholemeal flour (based on the proportion of grain).
  • Whole grain bread is a quality term. Many bakers who value good bread will therefore label their wholemeal bread that way (or label it in addition).
  • Whole grain bread doesn't have to contain whole grains or seeds. Grains and kernels are not a mandatory reference to whole grains.
  • Breads with whole grains are more recommendable than breads made from pure flour. But they must not be called "whole grain bread".
  • Whole grain bread cannot always be identified by its color. Whole grain yeast breads in particular can also be relatively light.

Finding a real wholemeal bread has become really difficult in many bakeries. Because behind all the brown, juicy and crunchy breads, there is often a dough made of cheap extract flour that is low in vitamins, essential fatty acids and fiber.

So don't just rely on the optical impression at the bakery, but pay attention to the term "wholemeal bread" and ask specifically if necessary. Because even if non-wholemeal breads taste good (and can of course be enjoyed from time to time), wholemeal bread is the type of bread that we should prefer to maintain our health and quality of life.

Did you know that a really good whole-grain sourdough bread ripens for a few days - and then tastes particularly good? So if you have wholemeal bread, go for (cheaper) bread from the day before. Find out more here.

>>> More than 5,100 have it: Vegan newsletter!

Author: Kilian Thirty