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A whole grain pie crust is a pastry made out of whole wheat flour instead of white flour. Whole wheat flour is made out of the whole grain of wheat where all parts of the grain are used — the bran, germ and endosperm. In white, refined flour, only the endosperm is used. Whole grain pie crust is much healthier than a pie crust made out of white flour as whole wheat flour is more nutritious.
A whole grain pie crust will be heavier than one made with white flour, making it more appropriate for savory dishes rather than sweet. Baking with whole grains requires more than just swapping the white flour for whole wheat flour as recipes containing whole wheat flour usually require more liquids. The main ingredients in a typical whole grain pie crust are whole wheat flour, cold butter and cold water. The butter and water should be kept as cold as possible while mixing the ingredients to ensure a lighter, fluffier crust.
Some cooks prefer to use pastry flour when baking a whole wheat pie crust. Whole wheat pastry flour is made from whole grains but is lower in protein and gluten and higher in starch than the all purpose flours. Baked goods such as pie crusts have a softer consistency as a result.
Following a whole grain diet has been proven to result in many health benefits such as a lowering in the risk of heart disease and a reduction in both diabetes and weight. Whole grains are more than just wheat and include barley and oats, distinguished by their cholesterol reduction effects; spelt which is high in protein and fiber; buckwheat which is rich in the B vitamins; and millet which is gluten free and can replace rice in many recipes.
White flour is sometimes fortified and some nutrients are added, but it is not as nutritious as whole wheat flour. Even fortified flour does not contain the fiber and protein of whole wheat flour, nor does it contain calcium, iron, fiber, B vitamins, folic acid and selenium. Standard white bleached flour has undergone a 60% extraction process which means 40% of the wheat grain has been removed. Within that 40% are the the nutrient-rich bran and wheatgerm. Changing consumer attitudes have resulted in sales of whole wheat products increasing and gaining in popularity over the more refined, less healthy white flour products.