Pancakes are my children’s favourite breakfast. As in, ”You are the best-Mom-in-the-whole-world”, kind of favourite. In return for this meal, I get favours done – beds made, animals fed, and cupboards cleaned. Well, that was the case…. until the other morning when, in the interests of clean eating, I decided to overhaul my pancake recipe and swap my standard flour for wholemeal flour.
I ran a little experiment and made up two batches of pancakes: One using standard organic flour and the other using wholemeal flour (the ultimate good stuff). All other ingredients stayed the same.
Both sets of pancakes looked beautiful, in fact, the wholemeal pancakes were way prettier. BUT (Big BUT), the wholemeal pancakes were no longer considered a treat. Yes, they looked good and were smothered in maple syrup and sliced banana, but as my son commented “It’s like you rolled up nut bread”. Nut bread? And do you know what? I agreed.
Wholemeal flour changed the taste and texture of pancakes too much. I like being the-best-Mom-in-the-world on pancake making day and I like the taste of pancakes made with refined flour. Now what? Where does that fit in the clean eating scheme of this?
Is refined flour so bad?
Hmmm. I’m treading in murky waters here as every second person I meet seems to have some sort of opinion on what flour should eaten on a Clean food diet. So… after a ton on consideration, taste testing and throwing away uneaten meals, I’ve come to this conclusion:
Choose a flour that suits your family, and that your family will actually eat. It’s no use creating Clean Eating recipes that look great but end up in the bin. However (don’t you just love the ‘however’ part), make sure that the flour you choose meets these requirements:
- No Bleaching Chemicals used in the manufacture
- Has not been ‘Enriched’ in some way
- And when possible, choose organic
Unfortunately, most of the flour we eat has been genetically modified in some way. This is something that has always bothered me. But I figured that if I wanted to eat wheat flour I would just have to deal with it. Then I discovered Einkorn flour and the flour game has changed.
Einkorn Flour is an ancient grain that hasn’t been genetically modified like most modern grains. It is available in plain and wholegrain varieties and can be used as a substitute in most recipes calling for regular flour (I have yet to find a recipe it doesn’t work in).
All Flour is processed
Yup. At some point that fluffy flour we get at the Supermarket looked like a grain. So some sort of mechanical processing has to take place to get it to the point where we are scooping it out of the bag.
Plain White Flour
All purpose white flour is processed flour. What that means is that it has to go through some kind of processing to get it to look like the flour that we buy on the supermarket shelf. It also means that it is not strictly 100% clean eating.
On the one extreme we have bleached, enhanced white flour which has been chemically bleached and additive ‘enriched’. This is the flour that you will see most readily available and it does not fit in with my Clean Eating goals for my family. On the other end of the scale we have the ultimate healthy alternative – organic wholemeal (nothing added) flour. Now although wholemeal flour is the ideal, it just doesn’t suit every recipe. It does affect the texture and taste – Pancakes being a good example.
My solution to this little dilemma, is to use organic, unbleached all purpose flour. Yes, it has still undergone some mechanical processing, and to be honest most of the good stuff (bran and germ) has been removed, but no nasty chemicals or synthetic vitamins have been added to it either. It has a milder taste and finer texture and it’s a good option when wholemeal just doesn’t work. It’s is important to note though, the nutrient content in refined flour is low and I would recommend recipes that use it, be treated as you would a treat (not too much, not too
A Happy Medium: Einkorn Flour
Flour Comparison Chart
Pancakes are treats. I don’t care that there aren’t many nutrients in the white flour I use when I make pancakes, because the rest of our diet provides plenty of nutrition.There is a time and place for wholewheat flour and making pancakes is NOT the place.
The point of clean eating with kids is that you actually do it. If the food you are making tastes crappy – you will not stick to it and chances are your kids will be tempted to eat the crap when you are not around to monitor. Be in control of the food you feed your kids. For me, chemical additives are never an option.