Saturday, March 14, 2009

Searching for wheat bran

Two of the bread recipes I plan on trying out today call for wheat bran which sounds like a simple enough thing to find.  I usually make the hike to the Dekalb Farmers Market on Saturdays,  but today it's rainy and I don't really feel like getting out and doing much so I decided to just go across the street to Publix instead.  It turns out that it is super difficult, if not impossible, to find wheat bran at Publix.  I'm not sure if they carry it, but I was unable to find it if they do.  However, I did find the following similar-sounding things:
  • Oat bran
  • Raisin bran
  • All-Bran cereal
  • Wheat germ
  • Cream of wheat
I really debated over just scratching the recipes I'd chosen.  Ordinarily I would just throw up my hands and go to either Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, or the farmers market, but I just didn't feel like it today!  Instead, I decided to choose one of the other things I found and make a substitution.  I have no idea if this will work, as I haven't even started baking yet, but I'm going to give it a go.
I first looked at the oat bran.  It's a hot cereal made by Quaker, and the only thing listed in the ingredient list is oat bran.  This pleases me because it suggests that it is a whole food with no additives.
Next I checked out the raisin bran.  I knew I wouldn't go this route, but I wanted to read the ingredient list and hopefully learn a little something.  Well, raisin bran contains all sorts of things I try to avoid, including high-fructose corn syrup, niacinamide, and a collection of vitamins.  I know it sounds great that Kellogg's adds vitamins, but I prefer to get them naturally through fruits and vegetables.  
All-bran cereal sounded promising so I checked the label.  The first ingredient listed was wheat bran (!).  So far, so good!  Unfortunately, seventeen other ingredients followed.  Again, a highly processed food containing high-fructose corn syrup.  
Wheat germ is all wrong, so I quickly marked it off my list along with cream of wheat.  I was left with nothing else to examine so I decided to go with the oat bran.  I know this will change the texture and taste of my bread, but I'm going to give it a shot!  With the oat bran I know what I'm substituting is a whole food with no preservatives or other additives.  
Since I had so much trouble finding wheat bran I decided to do a tiny bit of research and find out just what I was looking for.  I learned that a bran (such as wheat bran or oat bran) is the hard outer layer of a grain that becomes a byproduct when the grain is processed.  Good to know!  I'll keep looking for it when I'm out and about, but for now I'm going with the oat bran!

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