Traditional Wheat Recipes

Traditional hulled, or whole, wheat requires very little preparation for the market, so it is a comparatively cheap food. It is used almost exclusively as a breakfast cereal, but serves as a good substitute for hominy or rice. Although, it requires long cooking, its preparation for the table is so simple that the cooking need not necessarily increase its cost materially. One of the advantages of this food is that it never becomes so soft that it does not require thorough mastication.

The cereal known as wheat grits is made commercially by crushing the wheat grains and allowing a considerable proportion of the wheat bran to remain. Grits may be used as a breakfast cereal, when they should be served hot with cream or milk and sugar; they also make an excellent luncheon dish if they are served with either butter or gravy. The fact that this cereal contains bran makes it an excellent one to use in cases where a food with bulk is desired.

In the manufacture of cream of wheat, not only is all the bran removed, as has been stated, but the wheat is made fine and granular. This wheat preparation, therefore, does not require so much cooking to make it palatable as do some of the other cereals; still, cooking it a comparatively longer time tends to improve its flavor.

Traditional wheat preparation called farina is very much the same as cream of wheat, being manufactured in practically the same manner. It is a good breakfast cereal when properly cooked, but it does not contain sufficient cellulose to put it in the class of bulky foods. However, as has been pointed out, this bulk may be supplied by mixing with it, before cooking, an equal amount of bran. In such a case, of course, more water will be needed and the cooking process will have to be prolonged.

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Did You Know?
The four wild species of wheat, along with the domesticated varieties einkorn, emmer and spelt, have hulls. This more primitive morphology (in evolutionary terms) consists of toughened glumes that tightly enclose the grains, and (in domesticated wheats) a semi-brittle rachis that breaks easily on threshing. The result is that when threshed, the wheat ear breaks up into spikelets. To obtain the grain, further processing, such as milling or pounding, is needed to remove the hulls or husks. In contrast, in free-threshing (or naked) forms such as durum wheat and common wheat, the glumes are fragile and the rachis tough. On threshing, the chaff breaks up, releasing the grains. Hulled wheats are often stored as spikelets because the toughened glumes give good protection against pests of stored grain.