What Different Ingredients Are in Wheat Bread Than White Bread?
- A basic homemade bread recipe relies on four things: flour, water, salt and yeast. When you make a homemade bread recipe, the main difference between wheat and white breads is what flour is used. Contrary to what you might think, the amounts of flour are usually not a 1:1 substitution between the two. Substituting 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour for 1.5 cups of regular flour in a bread recipe would result in a dense, hard loaf that most people would not want to eat. More commonly, to make wheat bread, you substitute wheat flour for between 1/3 and 3/4 of the amount of regular flour specified in the recipe. Some recipes may call for additional ingredients, such as a sweetener, milk or eggs, but these ingredients have no bearing on the difference between wheat and white breads.
- Store-bought bread differs generally from homemade bread due to considerations of shelf life. Turn over a package of any bread at the grocery store and you'll see a long list of ingredients -- much longer than you'll see in most bread recipes. Some of these ingredients are preservatives, while others simply enhance the flavor so that the bread has a consistently good taste for the duration of its shelf life. Despite the fact that you may find many different ingredients when comparing brands of store-bought bread, the use of whole wheat and regular flours is still the only true difference between wheat and white breads. A company's proprietary recipes for their breads may reflect additional ingredients, however.
- Not all store-bought breads are full of preservatives. Some brands specialize in marketing preservative-free breads. While these are not the same as homemade, they are closer to it than traditional store-bought breads. The same difference between wheat and white breads applies here, too -- it's just what flour is used in making the bread.
- Healthy living enthusiasts know that the greater the amount of whole wheat flour in a bread, the healthier it is. Bread made with whole wheat flour is naturally darker than white bread, because the wheat bran and germ are milled as part of the flour. Some manufacturers of breads you buy in the store have found a shortcut between the soft, desirable texture of white bread and the healthy perception of wheat bread: caramel food coloring, which dyes lighter breads brown. Check the ingredients on any wheat bread you are thinking of buying. True wheat bread should have whole wheat flour listed as one of the first two ingredients on the package.