Not all wheats are alike
Botanically, there are more than 30,000 varieties of wheat which fall into six major classes that are grown in the United States. The six classes are based on planting and harvesting dates, as well as hardness, color and shape of kernels. The classes are hard red spring, hard red winter, soft red winter, hard white wheat, soft white wheat and durum.
Hard wheats are higher in protein and gluten and are therefore usually used for yeast breads. Soft wheats make very tender pastries, cakes, cookies, flatbreads, crackers and muffins. Soft and hard wheats are often blended to make all-purpose flour. The hardest wheat, durum, is primarily used for making pasta.
When it comes to bread.. .What is the difference between enriched, whole grain and wheat?
Enriched bread is made from enriched white flour, which comes from the endosperm of the wheat kernel and is fortified with iron, B-vitamins and, in some cases, calcium. Enriched white bread has more than twice the amount of folic acid as whole-wheat bread.
Whole-wheat bread is made from whole-grain flour, or the entire wheat kernel, and naturally contains fiber, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens, which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
Wheat bread is made from a combination of white and whole-grain flour and provides a combination of their benefits. All three kinds of bread offer a wide range of nutrients and complex carbohydrates and help regulate the appetite.
Wheat and Barley Nutrition, Health and Educational Resources
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image - a place setting for a meal. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate, in your cup, or in your bowl. Produced by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) to improve the nutrition and well-being of Americans.
- Resources from the Wheat Foods Council: Including wheat facts, educational tool kits, visual resources, Wheat Foods University, Kernels e-zine, and more useful links.
- Nutrition.gov: Nutrition.gov provides easy access to vetted food and nutrition information from across the federal government. It serves as a gateway to reliable information on nutrition, healthy eating, physical activity, and food safety for consumers.
- Wheat from Field to Flour (pdf): A resource book on the production of wheat and the science of creating flour from the Nebraska Wheat Board.
- Whole Grains from the Harvard School of Public Health's Nutrition Source.
- Wheat Grains: Hearty options for a healthy diet from the Mayo Clinic.
- Health Benefits of Wheat from the Oldways Whole Grains Council.
- Health Benefits of Barley from the Oldways Whole Grains Council.
- Barley Health Benefits from WebMD.
- USDA Foods Fact Sheet: Whole Wheat Flour.
- Grain for Health Foundation.
- Whole Grains and Fiber from the American Heart Association.