Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them to Jo using this easy form. She would be happy to address your individual concerns as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy, practical applications, and living compassionately. Jo cannot respond to questions about nutrition or answer questions that have already been addressed in the Archives

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Flour Power

question.gif - 1.4 K What is the difference between whole-wheat, whole-wheat pastry, white-wheat, all-purpose, bread, and pastry flours? Are all of them vegan, and are they interchangeable in recipes?

answer.gif - 1.3 K Whole-wheat flour contains the bran (the fibrous outer layer) and the germ (the part that sprouts) of the whole-wheat berry. Therefore it has a higher nutritional, fiber, and fat profile than white flours, which have had both the bran and germ removed, and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent rancidity. The texture of whole-wheat flour can range from soft and powdery to coarse, depending on the amount of bolting (sifting) it receives at the mill. Bolting removes some of the coarse bran, making the flour finer.

Bleached white flours not only have had the bran and germ removed, taking with it essential vitamins and nutrients, they have been "whitened." White flour can be bleached naturally, as it ages, or it can be bleached chemically. Potassium bromate, a chemical used as an oxidizing agent and also used to enhance baking characteristics, has been added regularly to some white flours for a long time. Potassium bromate has been banned in Europe, Japan, and Canada. In California, flours containing this chemical must carry a label warning of its potential as a carcinogen. Unbleached white flours also have had their natural bran and germ removed but they have not undergone a bleaching process. These flours retain more of the natural warm, golden color of wheat than snowy-white bleached flours.

All-purpose flours are a blend of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat and may be used, as the name implies, for all purposes, from thickening sauces and soups to making pastries and yeast bread. Depending on the recipe, however, some baked goods made with all purpose flour may provide less than satisfactory results.

Pastry flour (white or whole-wheat) is made from soft winter wheat, which has a higher starch and lower gluten content. Pastry flour produces the finest, most tender pie crusts and pastries, biscuits, muffins, and scones. Whole-wheat pastry flour is more nutritious than white flour, but it can make baked goods seem heavy and crumbly. Also, since most conventional pastry recipes call for white flour, when you substitute whole-wheat pastry flour you may discover that you need to adjust the quantity of liquid used. Many people who are accustomed to a refined diet but want to adopt a more wholesome way of eating find that using a mixture of half unbleached white flour (pastry or all-purpose) and half whole-wheat pastry flour in their recipes makes their pastries and non-yeasted baked goods lighter and more palatable than if only whole-wheat flour was used.

White whole-wheat flour is milled from hard white winter wheat, a new and exciting variety. It does not have the strong flavor and dark color of traditional whole-wheat flour but, since it includes the entire wheat berry, it contains the fiber-rich bran and mineral-rich germ. Substitute white whole-wheat flour for all-purpose or pastry flour in your cookie, muffin, cake, brownie, pancake, and quick-bread recipes, or try it in whole-wheat yeast bread for a lighter-colored, milder-tasting loaf.

Bread flour - white or whole-wheat - is made from high-protein, hard red spring wheat. The extra gluten (protein) in this flour means yeast bread will rise more strongly and vigorously. Do not substitute pastry flour for bread flour in yeast bread recipes. Conversely, do not substitute bread flour for all-purpose or pastry flour in non-yeasted baked goods. Be aware that different flours will contain varying amounts of moisture depending on the type of flour, its age, and how it was stored. Therefore, you may need to adjust the amount of liquid needed in your recipes.

Although some flours are more nutritious than others, all flours are considered vegan.




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