A variety of Bread is acquirable in the market. Of which the debate is often which is better Brown Bread vs White Bread. So I thought of sharing my views on the same.
A few days back, I was sitting with my friend and we were talking about bread. She mentioned her kid loves to eat bread and she doesn’t mind it as long as it's brown bread.
Out of curiosity, I asked: “Why brown bread?”
She said: “Don’t you know? Brown bread is healthy bread!! It's packed with nutrients and prepared using whole wheat flour. Every nutritionist and health-conscious person out there recommends it.
Now is that true?
Are brown bread and whole wheat bread the same?
Is brown bread a healthy choice?
Are white bread actually as bad as everyone believes it to be?
My friend definitely believes the right answer is yes to all these questions, what about you? Do you agree with her?
If your answer is yes, you may want to keep reading further.
But, before we get into those hard-hitting questions, let me take you through a few elementary things.
What is bread?
In simple words, it’s a staple food made with flour and water which we use every day. Wait, that does not sound right, shouldn’t yeast be a part of this? Not necessarily! A general belief is that bread is yeast proofed, fluffy, loaf-shaped packet we buy from a bakery/supermarket, which is true but partial.
To clarify, chapatti, paratha, naan, kulcha, pav, and many Indian staples are all forms of bread. Are we not using yeast in them? Although bread is a vast subject in and of itself, we will focus on the bread we buy off the shelves today.
Bread: then and now!!
You know I miss the days when buying bread was a simple task. You had only two options, the white bread/pav, and milk bread.
If you are not from my generation, you might think what the hell is she talking about? Just two kinds of bread, how did you survive? And today there is a whole shelf dedicated only to bread.
There is white bread, brown bread, multigrain bread, multigrain with seeds, Focaccia, etc. We will discuss varied types of bread in detail sometime soon.
This post is only about the two most common bread, Brown bread VS white bread.
For those who do not know, refined flour or maida is the key ingredient used in making white bread, and for brown bread, it is whole wheat flour (or so people believe, more on this later).
White bread: Process Involved in Making?
The process begins by activating yeast with lukewarm milk or water and sugar. After that Maida/refined flour is mixed along with activated yeast, salt, water, or milk to make a dough.
This dough is kneaded well and proofed twice, before going into the oven. And outcomes of your loaf of bread. This is to give you an introductory idea and a very précised version of the whole process.
The reason bakers prefer refined flour for bread baking is that bran in the wheat flour pokes air bubbles, created during the proofing of bread.
Refined flour/maida – a major culprit!!
As refined flour/maida is the most important ingredient, knowing this part is important.
The wheat grain consists of three parts, bran, germ, and endosperm. The endosperm is the thickest and most starchy part of wheat used to make refined flour/maida. Since it is wheat, at this stage the flour is yellow in color.
To give it that snow-white whiteness, it is bleached with chemicals including benzoyl peroxide, chlorine dioxide, and potassium bromate. During this process, there is a tendency to lose fiber, protein, and vital vitamins.
White bread benefits:
No, I am not trying to sell or encourage the consumption of white bread with this heading.
The only advantage I can think of is, it has a better texture. You probably are thinking what else matters? Continue reading and decide for yourself.
Is white bread actually as bad as everyone believes it to be?
· It contains refined flour and is does not have of fiber and nutrients.
· Lack of fiber makes it difficult to digest; it sticks to the intestine walls and takes a long time to pass through your system. This leads to constipation and bloating which slows down metabolism and makes you feel sluggish.
· Commercially sold bread has high salt amounts, which can increase your sodium levels.
· The chemicals used in processing refined flour and making the bread, though used in small amounts can be carcinogenic in the long run.
I know it sounds like a science class but we need to answer these queries.
· Is maida/refined flour harmful?
· Is Maida/refined flour hard to digest?
· Does maida/refined flour lead to diabetes?
Again all the disadvantages listed above are related to high and long-term consumption. We are not trying to put any fear in you. Our goal is to create awareness and encourage you to make healthy choices.
What is the alternative?
I assume the first thing that pops into your mind is ok, I will buy brown bread from now onwards. After all brown bread is wheat bread and has to be healthy, right? Sorry to break your bubble, but that is not the case.
Today’s well-informed society is making a conscious effort to stay fit. This reflects in their food choices too. People know brown rice is better than white rice.
Oats are now a breakfast food in so many homes. Similarly, the switch from white bread to brown bread is the “in” thing.
Are brown bread and whole wheat bread same?
In the debate between brown bread vs white bread, let's get in-depth about knowing them. Brown bread is technically a wheat loaf made entirely of whole wheat flour. At least, that's what we thought when we bought it.
But, commercially acquirable brown bread is not the same as whole wheat bread. "What," you say. Is that even feasible? Let me explain.
First, what is wheat flour/atta; whole wheat grain along with bran, germ, and endosperm, milled into flour is wheat flour. This makes wheat flour loaded with fiber and nutrients that are missing in refined flour. Automatically it becomes the healthier choice.
But, commercially sold bread is your white bread with added caramel color and labeled as brown bread. If you read the ingredient list, you will see the percentage of flour used. Do not fall for the marketing tricks and make it a practice to always read the ingredients.
Things to keep in mind while choosing bread:
· Flour percentage- always choose 100% whole wheat
· Palm oil/margarine – try and avoid these
· Food color/caramel – avoid this
· Added sugar/corn syrup – avoid
· Enriched flour is flour that has had some nutrients added to it that were previously lost.
Bread sold in the market has added preservatives to increase shelf-life. If you want preservative-free bread there are two options. Bake it yourself or buy it from someone who bakes it preservative-free.
Try our 100% Whole Wheat Baking course to know more about various bread varieties that can be baked at home.
Is whole wheat bread a healthy choice?
The answer to the question is not as simple as it seems. Whole wheat bread is healthier than white bread but it still has sugar and other ingredients that are in white bread.
· Whole wheat flour is rich in fiber which makes it easy to digest and regulate bowel movements.
· It is rich in other nutrients and minerals that are away in refined flour.
· It is less on the glycemic index compared to refined flour/maida. This means it does not spike your blood sugar as quickly as refined flour.
· It is also less in calories as compared to the white bread.
Drawbacks of brown bread:
Brown bread contains more fiber, which can be good for your diet but also makes the bread heavier and chewier, which some people don't like. It also has a slightly different taste from white bread.
This is because of the addition of other ingredients such as molasses and wheat germ, which may be an issue for those who are used to white or whole-grain bread.
Brown bread and weight loss:
If you are a health-conscious person and are wondering which one of the two brown bread vs white bread you should choose? Then Yes, brown bread may help in your weight loss journey.
But this does not mean eating it day in and day out is the solution. Making the switch to brown bread is a judicious choice but you need to eat a healthy diet. Brown bread has fewer calories, but it won't help you lose weight if you do not do any physical activities.
It’s hard to tell if brown bread is more helpful for weight loss. But it does help in regulating blood sugar levels and providing longer-lasting energy than white bread does.
What is the right choice?
The battle between brown bread Vs white bread, which of these slices of bread is better has been here for a while and brown bread wins every time. I'm hoping you've figured out what brown bread is.
Yes, brown bread is healthy compared to white bread and is a better choice but it is not preservative-free. It is true, that everything sold commercially will always have chemicals in it. So, what should we do? Not everyone can avoid it in today's fast-paced world.
I sent an email to anybodycanbake.com. describing my use of Mrs. Gupta’s recipe for whole wheat bread with questions about
using the recipe for other breads. And, for the record, I use unbleached non-self rising stone ground all purpose flour and unbleached non-self rising stone ground bread flour, as well as stone ground wheat flour.
Thank you so much for trying the recipe and writing back. Let us know if you have any queries. We would love to address that.