With the advent of industrialisation, we moved to consuming more refined wheat flour (milled in roller mills) from whole wheat flour (milled in stone mills).
This has led to multiplicity of phenomenons parallelly:
We practically now have tens of variants in which multiple wheat types can be roller milled and used in cooking and baking.
But, at the same time, increased consumption of refined wheat flour meant that we started having more nutritionally deficit calories, and became more prone to lifestyle disorders. Scientifically speaking, no amount of fortification can make up for the nutrition lost due to refinement.
The way it has affected agriculture is by wiping out all the wheat subspecies and varieties which were not largely fit for the roller milling process in the developed countries, whereas countries like India suffer from a very different kind of policy affected supply chain issues.
Coming from this place of awareness that everything is so interconnected in our global agricultural ecosystems, we must know and understand the structural fundamentals of the wheat kernel before we deep dive into baking.
As it turns out, wheat is not only the most important grain ever grown by mankind, but actually has a very complex evolutionary history as well. Morphologically, it has three main parts, but those parts or layers are all different from each other and carry their own nutritional significance.
The three parts you see are:
Bran: The bran coating comprises approximately 13% of the wheat grain; it contains cellulose, vitamin B, and minerals like calcium and iron.
Germ: It is the part of the wheat grain from which new wheat germinates. It accounts for about 2% of the grain. It is rich in vitamins and hence has good nutritional value. It also contains some fats.
Endosperm: It accounts for about over 85% of the wheat grain. Milled flour is obtained from endosperm.The endosperm consists of starch cells. It also contains protein, oil, sugars, minerals and moisture etc. The outer starch cells of endosperm are large and coarse while inner cells are smaller and fine. It contains a very small amount of cellulose.
As craft bakers using specialty wheat flour, it is imperative that we focus on baking for health and nutrition as well along with taste and presentation, and educate the larger populus about its multitude of benefits.