This morning I was making pancakes and talking about this blog post when my son Dallin came up with the title for the post . . . Five Healthy Pancakes. Kids are so funny. Then he started going on about how every post I did could be titled "Five Healthy" and then what ever food I am talking about.
So what makes pancakes so healthy? I started making home made pancakes because Bisquick was expensive and had hydrogenated fats in it. Then I continued to make pancakes because my oldest (Dallin) has never liked milk, and I was always looking for ways to get some milk in him. Home made pancakes have a lot of milk in them.
Recently I discovered one of my new favorite things (drum roll please . . . ) WHITE WHOLE WHEAT! What is it? It is another variety of wheat that bakes up much better then the usual Red Whole Wheat. It is kinda like how there are lots of kinds of grass. There is the blue grama grass which is great for places where it is cold like North Dakota or there is the Bent Grass, which is great for golf courses because of its softness. They are both grass, but they are different species of grass.
- Stores for 25 plus years in the whole kernal form
- Heavier for breads and baking
- I have heard it doesn't store as long (even if it is 10 years, that is ok with me)
- Has a lighter less harder texture; ie: its texture is like white bread
Just so we are clear, I am not talking about white flour. I am talking about 100% whole wheat flour made from the hard white wheat kind of wheat. Both white wheat and red wheat have the same nutritional value.
So what are the benefits of 100% whole wheat vs. enriched wheat flour?
The white flour that you buy at the store to make cookies and bread with is enriched wheat flour. It is enriched because they lose so many nutrients in the process of making the enriched white flour. Enriched white flour is wheat flour that has had the bran and germ removed; therefore, just using the "middle" section. This "middle section" has so little nutrients that it is a law that certain amounts of nutrients are added back into the flour; therefore, enriching it. The bran is the outer layer of the wheat kernal and the germ is the inner soft middle.
For a better visual of this, think of a piece of popcorn that hadn't been popped. The outer layer that gets stuck in your teeth is the bran. The inner layer that is soft and chewy (if you have ever chewed a popcorn kernel) is the germ. The middle section is the part that explodes into the popped corn.
The bran is particularly rich in fiber and omegas, and it also has vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ is a concentrated source of several essential nutrients including, vit E, folic acid, phosphorus, thiamin, zinc, and magnesium. It is a good source of fiber.
The wheat germ is the part that spouts into a plant. So that means that the germ has enough nutrients to support the life of a plant until the plant makes enough roots to get its own nutrients.
One Cup of 100% whole wheat flour has:
59% of your daily fiber
26% of your daily iron
20% of your daily vitamin B6
13% of your daily folate
23% of your daily zinc
Because they "enrich" (which mean "add back in") processed white flour, many of the main nutrients are the same, but a huge difference is the fiber.
Click on this link to see someones test between white and red wheat with cooking bread.
I don't do a ton of baking, but I do like to make pancakes from scratch. It doesn't take that long, and it is easy to replace white flour with whole wheat flour. I don't know if they sell the whole wheat white flour already ground up at just any store, but I did find it online here. If you are unsure, just check the ingredient list. It would be safe to say that if it doesn't have the word enriched in it, it is probably 100% whole wheat white flour.
My favorite pancake recipes come from my brother Scott and his wife Brenda.
2 C. milk
2-4 T canola oil
4 T light sour cream (yogurt also works)
2 C. whole wheat flour
2 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 1/4 C. flour (I tried whole wheat white flour and it was good!)
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3 T sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 C. fat-free buttermilk
3 T. canola oil
Mix all ingredients together.
Soon you will never eat another white pancake again!