This section is from the book "A Treatise On Flour, Yeast, Fermentation And Baking Together With RecipesFor Bread And Cakes", by Julius Emil Wihlfahrt. Also available from Amazon: A treatise on flour, yeast, fermentation and baking, together with recipes for bread and cakes.
It is a general theory among many people that bread made from Graham and entire wheat flour is far more digestible than that made of white wheat flour.
Such, however, is not the case. White wheat bread, when properly made from a good quality of flour, is not only more digestible than the Graham and entire wheat breads, but also contains the largest amount of protein.
Graham and entire wheat flours show the highest percentage of gluten and protein before fermentation, and white wheat flour the largest after fermentation. The difference noticeable in this respect is decidedly in favor of the white wheat flour.
This is due to the fact that the Graham and entire wheat flours contain more acids, an over percentage of which is detrimental to fermentation.
The excess of acid contained in the outer part of the wheat berry destroys, during the act of fermentation, so much of the gluten that the food value of "Graham and Entire wheat breads" becomes inferior to that of "White wheat bread."
In the Spring of the year 1900 considerable interest was shown by some of the highest state officials of New York to substitute entire wheat bread for white wheat breads in state institutions, believing the former more nutritious. These attempts have led to a chemical analysis by the United States Government. This analyzation of the different flours, all made of the same quality of wheat, proved the white wheat flour the superior of all.
After baking, the white wheat flour not only proved the more digestible, but the protein contents were as follows:
White wheat flour........
Entire wheat flour........
The claim, therefore, that the Graham and entire wheat flours are more easily digested, on account of the diastase contained in the wheat kernel not extracted from these flours, is not founded upon facts. Any intelligent person can easily judge upon the truthfulness of some of these published statements, from the following:
Diastase is no more than a ferment. No ferment can live in a temperature of 212° Fahrenheit, and a loaf of bread to be baked must reach the temperature of 212° F. in the interior of the loaf. The outside of the loaf is exposed to a temperature at the lowest of 300° F. and as high as 500° F. The statement, therefore, that the diastase can live during the process of baking is laughable, and if some of those who have made discriminating statements against white wheat bread would stop and consider this they would see their own errors.
Graham and entire wheat breads have their own advantage, since they have laxative effects, and are, therefore, valuable for people suffering with constipation; but to state that they contain more nourishment than bread made of white wheat flour is going too far, and people making such statements will never be able to prove them.
The matter, sifted, proves the following:
The first point to be considered is not so much the chemical constituents of the food, as the ability of the stomach to assimilate the constituents of such foods and, second, our own preference for such foods, for unless they are partaken of with a relish little will be the benefits arrived at, and, furthermore, what is good for one may prove disastrous to another.
The healthfulness of bread, therefore, depends upon the purity and quality of its ingredients and care in its preparation.
In general, Graham and entire wheat flours are made of softer wheat than the white wheat flours used for the manufacture of bread. But, even if the flours are all made of the same wheat, the advantage of nutritious value will always be with the white wheat flour bread.