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— Sean Gerych, WV
Pleasant Hill Grain Baking Glossary
Watt – A measure of electrical consumption. Note that because a more efficient design can accomplish equal work with less power compared to a less efficient design, when comparing the strength or effectiveness of two devices it's important to remember that wattage doesn't always tell the whole story. A highly efficient device that uses 500 watts of electrical power may be as capable, or more capable, than a highly inefficient device that uses 1000 watts. Also, the more efficient device will do its work with lower energy cost.
Wheat Flour – A course or fine powder ground from any type of wheat grain.
Wheat Germ – (See Germ.)
Wheat Germ Oil – The wheat germ contains some oil, which is referred to as “wheat germ oil.” The germ oil is so delicate it will go rancid in whole grain flour within a few days. Packaged whole grain flour in stores has often gone rancid before it’s purchased.
White Flour – White flour is ground wheat with everything removed from the flour except the endosperm of the grain. Since the germ and bran are removed nearly all the grain’s vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are processed out. Removing these nutritious parts of the grain results in a product with a longer shelf-life and whiter color. In an attempt to compensate for the lack of nutritional quality in this processed flour a few lab-grade vitamins and minerals may be added back in to “enrich” the product. Research has shown, though, that the iron enriching this flour is a metallic form of iron, not a nutritional form. What was once full of complex carbohydrate has been turned into a food with simple carbohydrates and practically no nutritional benefits.
White Rice – Rice which has been polished to remove its bran and germ for a whiter color and longer shelf-life leaving a refined starch of very little nutritional value. (See our non-GMO long grain white rice.)
White Wheat – White wheat is particularly light in color, mildly sweet in flavor, and the bread made with it is soft in texture. Hard white wheat may easily be substituted in place of all-purpose flour. White wheat comes in two varieties: hard white winter wheat and soft spring wheat. Hard white winter wheat is a new development from soft spring wheat, and it’s used just as hard red winter wheat. Using white wheat is a good way to transition from white flour food to whole wheat food. (See our.)
n. An attachment piece controlled by the motor drive of a mixer, or by hand, to spin rapidly or beat back and forth.
v. The process of rapidly bringing air into a substance such as eggs and cream, or light batters to make them fluffy, light, and sometimes stiff.
Whisk – (See Whip.)
Whole Cane Sugar – Unrefined, dried cane sugar in its whole form—this is possibly the least refined of all cane sugar products. Because it’s whole sugar, and unrefined it still contains many vitamins and minerals other sugars have been stripped of. Rapadura is a registered name for the organic whole cane sugar the German company Repunzel sells. This type of sugar may vary slightly in color and taste from package to package, depending on where and how the sugarcane crop was grown.
Whole Grain – A “whole grain” is a grain with the endosperm, germ and bran all still intact. The hull may or may not be present. Because of its whole nature, products made with whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, and many phytonutrients missing from white flour.
Whole grain food is digested slowly in the human digestive system since it has many complex carbohydrates in it; this means whole grains have a low glycemic index rating. To help the human digestive tract deal effectively with these complex carbohydrates, processes such as fermenting, soaking, sprouting and cooking grain are recommended. Amylase is the enzyme that breaks complex carbohydrates down into simpler carbohydrates.
With the bran present in whole grain products, they are rich in fiber. When we eat fiber the muscles of our intestine are triggered to the involuntary contraction and relaxation pattern, moving the food through; so even though fiber is indigestible, it’s very good for our digestive system. Having a fiber rich diet will keep you healthier and maintain a healthy weight. Whole grains will help particularly with good heart health, lowering the risk of cancer, and diabetes.
Something good to remember when preparing food with whole grains is that since whole grains are high in phytic acid it’s beneficial for digestion and mineral absorption to soak, ferment and/or cook grains before consuming them. The phytase enzyme present in plants containing phytic acid neutralizes phytic acid into a digestible form.
Whole Grain Flour – Flour ground from whole grains.
Wild Rice – A gluten-free grain from the four species of grass in the Zitzania grass genus. Wild rice is high in protein, manganese, zinc, and is also a significant source of other nutrients and some dietary fiber.
Wild Yeast – Yeast developed by fermentation of grain. When wild yeast is developing carbon dioxide is formed by the breakdown of carbohydrates in the flour; if gluten has developed sufficiently within the dough, the carbon dioxide will be trapped within the structure resulting in risen bread dough. Wild yeast takes longer to develop dough than commercially cultivated yeast because the probiotic bacteria lactobacilli is created in the process of developing wild yeast. Lactobacillus raises the bread’s acidity level, slowing yeast development. This good bacterium, not found in dough made with commercial yeast, is beneficial to digestion.
Wild Yeast Starter – (See Levain.)
Windowpane Test – Bakers perform this test to see if gluten has developed sufficiently in yeasted bread dough. For the test, grab a golf-ball amount of kneaded dough and slowly stretch it with greased hands, as you rotate it (so it’s stretched evenly all around). If the dough stretches thin enough to let light through without tearing significantly, the gluten is well developed.
Winter Wheat – Wheat planted in the fall and harvested in the late winter/early spring. Winter wheat grows a few inches tall, and then is covered with snowfall through the winter while it sits dormant until the ground warms up in early spring. In the early spring the wheat resumes growth until it’s ready to be harvested. Winter wheat tends to have slightly lower protein content than spring wheat.