Understanding What Whole Grain Bread Is

There are so many terms out there these days that what used to be the simple act of buying a loaf of bread has become complex and confusing. What do you want if you’re looking for a healthy option? Whole wheat? Multigrain? Whole grain? Natural? Gluten-free? The key to wading through this jungle of terms is to understand what they mean. Let’s start with what the difference is between whole wheat, multigrain, and whole grain bread, since these are the three most commonly confused.

Whole Grain Bread

  • Whole Wheat Bread – The plain white bread you’ve probably enjoyed since childhood is made with a stripped-down version of wheat. The kernels have been highly processed, removing the bran and nutrient-rich germ, leaving only the starchy endosperm. When you switch to whole wheat bread, you are getting the whole kernel with all three components intact. Don’t be confused by wheat bread, which is really nothing different than white bread. Be sure to look for the “whole” in the name. To confuse matters even more, there is a white whole wheat bread on the market that does have a whole kernel, but is made from albino whole wheat.
  • Whole Grain Bread – Technically, whole wheat bread is a whole grain bread because the grain used is whole. However, a whole grain bread can also contain other whole grains, such as rolled oats, brown rice, whole barley, and whole grain oats.
  • Multigrain Bread – This one is a tricky marketing ploy because it gives the illusion of being even healthier than whole grain bread. The reality is that although it can have several different grains in it, there is no guarantee that those grains are whole grains. If the majority or even all of them have been processed to remove the bran and germ, it is no healthier than plain white or wheat bread because the nutrients are gone. If the label shows a high nutritional value, it is because it has been enriched, which isn’t the same thing as having natural nutrients.

If you are looking for healthy bread alternatives, such as 100% whole grain bread, come see us at Great Harvest Bread Co. of Asheville. We mill our own 100% whole wheat flour to give you a whole wheat bread you can trust to have the nutrients you want. We make our whole grain wheat bread simply, with just five ingredients: yeast, water, salt, honey, and flour. Feel free to call or stop by with any questions you may have.