You’ve probably heard or read that some foods contain enriched or fortified flours. But do you know what they are or what they contain?
Let’s start with the basics. Flour is obtained when the grains of different cereals are milled. The most common cereals are wheat, corn, and rice. However, others can be extracted from oats, rye, barley, amaranth, etc. Cereal grains are formed by three essential parts: the endosperm, where the starch and proteins are contained; the bran, which is the layer that protects the grain (rich in fiber and some antioxidants) and the germ, which is the heart of the grain and where good fats, micronutrients, and antioxidants are found.
Flour type is determined by the parts of the grain that are present in it. When all the grain elements are milled, whole-grain flour is obtained. This doesn't mean you will find pieces of grain in this type of flour, but rather that it includes all parts of the grain — endosperm, bran, and germ. When making white flour, we eliminate nearly all bran and germ, resulting in a high-endosperm content that’s rich in complex carbohydrates such as starch. Because many micronutrients are lost during milling, vitamins and minerals are often added during the flour production process.