Wheat is one of the oldest and most important cereals .
It has accompanied us since the beginnings of agriculture, i.e. many thousands of years. During that time, many species and varieties were created.
What is important to know about her?
In this article, you will learn about its most famous types, nutritional values and tips for its preparation.
Wheat, a demanding cereal with great potential
Did you know that around 800 million tons of wheat are grown in the world¹?
Do you know which wheat still exists in its original uncultivated form?
How to properly sprout wheat grains?
Or what are different types of flour used for?
Let’s check it out together!
Why consume wheat?
Consuming wheat has several health benefits such as
High in nutrients and fiber
- fiber that aids digestion
- vitamins such as vitamin B, niacin, thiamin and folate
- minerals such as zinc, iron, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium
- antioxidants such as phytic acid, ferulic acid and sulfur compounds
- plant compounds that help prevent several diseases, such as polyphenols, stanols and sterols²
It helps with digestion
Fiber in grains can support healthy digestion by adding bulk to stools, preventing constipation and helping to eliminate bad gut bacteria.
Reduces chronic inflammation
Whole grains can help reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of complications occurring as a result of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Nutritional values of wheat
In the table below, see how the nutritional values of white wheat flour and whole wheat flour differ.
|Nutritional values (/100 g raw state)³||Unit||White wheat flour||Whole wheat flour|
|Carbohydrates||G||73.6 a||61.3 a|
Types of wheat
There are many types of wheat. Over the years, genetically distinct wheat species have evolved, dominated by the following two:
- Common wheat is the most widespread of all types of wheat. It is generally high in protein and gluten, with the endosperm being either hard or soft. The same group also includes spelled , which contains more vitamins, minerals and fiber. You can use spelled in soups, salads, pilaf and risotto. Get inspired by our recipes for spelled cookies and experience Christmas in a healthy style !
- Durum wheat is known for its hardness, high protein content, intense yellow color, nutty taste and excellent cooking properties. Between 25 and 30 million tonnes are produced each year, representing 4% of global wheat production⁴. The grains of this wheat can be ground into coarse flour, which we call semolina . It is commonly used in pasta or to make couscous . It can also be used to prepare cereals, puddings or grind it into finer flour and prepare dough for unleavened bread or pizza .
We have the best homemade pizza recipes for you! Which one will you try first?
The original cultivated species were einkorn wheat and later also einkorn wheat . Semolina also arose from the same ancestors as durum wheat.
- Emmer wheat is the most primitive form of wheat on Earth. It is easier to digest and contains more protein and antioxidants than modern wheat. The crop is not planted often and has recently become popular as a super food. You can grind it into flour , which you can use like any other wheat.
- Durum wheat is lower in gluten and higher in micronutrients such as minerals and antioxidants compared to today’s modern wheat. It goes well with salads and can be used to make bread and pasta . It is also excellent in soups and a great substitute for rice in dishes.
- Kamut wheat (khorasan) is a close relative of durum wheat and semolina. It is valued for its easy digestibility, sweet nutty-buttery taste, firm texture and nutrients contained in it. It is an excellent source of protein, fiber and many vitamins and has a high mineral content, including selenium. You can make pancakes, bread from kamut, it is also great for salads . Flour from this wheat can also be used as a thickener for sauces instead of classic wheat flour.
Kamut, einkorn and einkorn exist in their original uncultivated form, unlike sown wheat.
Wheat is usually ground into flour, which is then used to prepare a wide variety of foods.
Flour is most often divided according to the type number (according to the content of non-combustible, mainly mineral substances) into:
- semi-thick – used for cupcakes , gingerbread , poppy seeds or bubbles
- coarse – it is especially suitable for dumplings , gnocchi or pasta
- semolina – children love it in the form of porridge , in puddings, puddings or other flours, it is also used in potato dumplings
- smooth light – is suitable for yeast buns , pizza, sponge cake or Christmas pastries
- smooth semi-light – as well as smooth light, it is suitable for all leavened and durable doughs
- bread – used for bread and bread products in the home bakery and oven
- whole grain coarse or fine – it is suitable for preparing dough for various pastries, buns and cakes
Another use of wheat in the kitchen
Wheat cereals are great as a breakfast and are mainly made from wheat grains. The different types of cereal that are available can be eaten as a cold breakfast, soaked in milk, or hot, boiled in water. To improve the natural taste of the cereal, you can add other ingredients such as honey, various toppings or dried fruit.
They are a source of plant nutrients and minerals and have a sweet nutty taste. They are also a wonderful source of fiber. A quarter cup contains 6 grams of fiber, which is 24% of the recommended daily allowance⁵.
How to eat them?
- Pour them into warm oatmeal or add to cereal. (If you’re looking for tips on how to make great oatmeal multiple ways, we’ve got the best recipes for you!)
- Add them to soups or stews.
- Add them to yogurt or smoothies.
- Use them on pancakes and waffles.
- Add them to the dough for rolls or bread.
Wheat germ is rich in nutrients and more digestible than wheat grains. They can be added to bread, pastries, cakes and biscuits or sprinkled into yoghurts, breakfast cereals or fruit dishes.
And how to germinate correctly?
- Thoroughly rinse ½ cup of wheat grains and remove any residue or stones.
- Place the beans in a quart sprouting dish or other container.
- Fill with water, cover with a sprouting sieve.
- Leave to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Drain all the water from the wheat grains.
- From now on, never pour water into the container continuously, but only rinse the grains with clean water.
- Preferably 2-3 times a day (morning and evening).
- Tiny sprouts should start forming in 2-3 days.
- At this point, germination is complete.
- Drain well before using or storing.
- Transfer the sprouts to a covered container.
- It will last up to 3 days in the fridge.
The sprouts must remain moist, but must not stand in water. Therefore, it is important that all excess water is always drained from the container.
Couscous is one of the tastiest side dishes and one of the easiest to prepare quickly. They are actually small balls of semolina and are actually a type of pasta. It can be used as a side dish or in salads or soups.
And how to prepare it simply?
You will need 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, and 1 1/2 cups couscous.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water (or stock), salt, butter and oil to a boil.
- Stir in the couscous, cover tightly with a lid and remove from heat.
- Leave the couscous like this for 5 minutes.
- Then fluff it up with a fork and you’re done.
- Serve warm.
- It can be frozen for up to 3 months.
It is produced by pre-cooking wheat, drying it and then coarsely grinding it. It is commonly used in secondary education dishes with stewed meat, in salads (like tabbouleh) or cooked in milk for pudding or porridge. It can also be added to bread or mixed with ground meat and formed into balls known as kibbeh. You do not need to rinse or soak bulgur before cooking.
And how to prepare it?
Cook the bulgur in water for 10-15 minutes or place in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 20-30 minutes until the water is absorbed and the grains are soft. Soaking bulgur gives it a chewier texture that’s perfect for salads like tabbouleh. It can also be cooked directly in soups and stews.
Basic cooking method:
- Place the bulgur in a heatproof bowl.
- Pour boiling water so that the water exceeds the bulgur by about 2-3 cm.
- Cover the bowl with a plate or tea towel and let it soak for 20-30 minutes until all the water is absorbed. (You can also use broth for more flavor).
- Separate the kernels and fluff with a fork, then mix into salads or serve with other dishes.
Try our luxurious couscous and bulgur recipes !
Wheat starch works to thicken most sauces or soups. Puddings and pie fillings are also thickened with it. Compared to corn starch, wheat starch is a milder thickener. It’s usually best to dissolve it in water before adding it to anything else, as lumps can form.
Tips on how to cook wheat grain
Learn how to cook the perfect wheat grain! Perfect for soups or salads. It has a great texture and a sweet nutty taste. Plus, it’s full of nutrients.
Wheat grains are easy to cook, but cooking times can vary greatly depending on the type you buy.
- Bring at least 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Add 1 cup rinsed wheat kernels and reduce heat.
- Cook until soft, checking regularly to see if they are already done.
- Be patient and cook until the grains are soft.
- When the wheat grains are soft, drain off the excess water.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
What about gluten? yes or no
Eating wheat is not harmful to health, but whole wheat is healthier because all the nutrients are intact. Foods containing gluten are essential for our health. Gluten is a protein present in wheat , which has recently caused some people to avoid eating wheat and other grains. However, gluten is not harmful , except for a small percentage of the population with conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, or gluten allergy, and people who cannot tolerate gluten and must remove it from their diet to reduce abdominal pain and other symptoms associated with their condition.
Wheat cultivation and interesting facts
The oldest finds of wheat are from the period 8000 – 7500 BC . Its origins go as far as southeastern Turkey. It is the staple food of millions of people and one of the 3 cereals produced worldwide.⁶
Although wheat is grown in a variety of climates and soil types, it thrives best in temperate regions with rainfall between 30 and 90 cm .⁷ In our country, it is grown in the form of winter and spring .
Winter wheat has higher soil requirements, it is sown in the fall when there is enough moisture and a temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius.
Spring wheat is usually sown in March and tolerates possible frosts. It is a complementary species to winter wheat.