Whole Grain for White Flour
Because white is not right.
What is white flour versus whole grain and how did it come to be? Basically, when a grain is processed, the outer layer of bran is removed, taking away the starch, fibre, vitamins, minerals and traces of protein. By removing this outer layer, the grain can basically last forever. Forever shelf life, woohoo! No, wait…
With white flour, the body quickly converts it to glucose. We NEED glucose—it’s the fuel for our brain, kidneys and red blood cells. But when we get a quick hit of it, we’re left feeling hungry again in a short amount of time, not to mention all the benefits of fibre, vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Basically, you’re giving your body nothing useful when you eat white flour.
The better option is obviously whole-grain. When you buy bread at the grocery store, look for the highest whole-grain content possible (it’s actually pretty hard to find more than 35% wholegrain—the brands trickily add in “wheat flour,” which is just them trying to disguise white flour with a healthy name.)
For this easy swap, let’s start simple with adding whole wheat flour into your baking, subbing it in for plain white flour. Whole wheat can be a challenge to bake with as a direct swap for plain—your baking will turn out dry. So, the ideal is to do 50/50 with plain flour and add more moisture. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error, but in general, for every 1 cup of whole wheat flour I have in a recipe, I add an extra half cup of moisture, usually in the form of applesauce or using honey instead of sugar.
Does anyone else have a raisin cake recipe from Nana that you make on the stove top in a pot? This is a version of that and my family loves it. And it couldn’t be easier to make.
Easy Raisin Cake
2 cups of hot or boiling water
1 cup raisins
115 grams of butter
1/2 c. coconut sugar
3/4 c. homemade applesauce
1 3/4 c. flour - half plain, half whole wheat
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 c. walnuts (optional)
Put water and raisins in a large pot on the stove and put on med-high heat for 10 minutes.
At 10 minutes, turn off the heat and add the butter.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flours, soda, salt, powder.
Preheat the oven to 175 C, fan bake. Prepare a 20 cm x 20 cm baking pan—either use a non-stick or line with baking paper.
Add the sugar into the pot, stir to dissolve, then add in applesauce and stir.
Add the flour mixture and stir until just well blended—over-stirring makes a cake dense.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes.
Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack for complete cooling.
Photo by Olga Kudriavtseva