The Wheat Grain

Wheat is a worldwide staple food

The many species of wheat make up the genus Triticum, part of the Poaceae or Gramineae family, which includes other cereals like corn, barley, rice, and rye. Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain, botanically, a type of fruit called a caryopsis, which, when ground, forms the basis of our diet.

The Wheat Grain cereal kernels from Europe

Soft wheat grows everywhere, except in tropical areas. The flowering plant produces spikes, and its seeds are called kernels or grains. Depending on the cultivar or agricultural variety, the shape of the grain, its starch content, protein content, and color vary. The wheat spikes or ears attached to the plant, as found in nature, cannot be ground by the mills. At the time of harvesting, the modern harvesters combine four separate harvesting operations into a single process. These operations are reaping, threshing, gathering, and winnowing. After this stage, the grain is ready to enter the mill, where it is checked and cleaned several times before grinding.

The soft wheat grain has different layers, each with a different composition.

The bran

The bran makes up about 14.5% of the wheat grain. The wheat grain, in turn, is made up of 7 superimposed layers. It is very rich in fiber, especially cellulose and lignin. The content of phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium is also higher in the bran. Most antioxidants are associated with it.

The starchy endosperm

The starchy endosperm makes up about 83% of the grain and contains a large share of protein, carbohydrates, and iron. It also contains B vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. It is also a source of soluble fiber.

The aleurone layer

It is the outermost layer of the endosperm and is about 7% to 8% of the grain. It is often separated from the endosperm during the milling process and is a rich source of vitamins.

The germ

The germ or the embryo of the seed makes up about 2% to 3% of the grain, which contains a high share of vitamins and trace minerals, including vitamin E, folate, vitamin B (Niacin, Thiamine, and B6), and good levels of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, zinc and selenium. Wheat germ is also an excellent source of unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 and omega 6).
From Grain to flour

Know more about the milling process of obtaining flour from cereal kernels