The story behind a loaf of bread


E.Botham and Sons
A grain of wheat cut lengthwise (through crease)
Whole grain of wheat showing crease

The wheat grain as a seed is fitted for reproducing the plant from which it came. The germ is an embryo plant, with a radicle which can grow into a root system and a plumule which can develop into stems, leaves and ears. The pericarp is a tough skin which protects the inner seed from soil organisms which may attack it. The inner seed coats control the intake of water by the seed. The endosperm is the food reserve on which the young plant lives until it has developed a root system.

The purpose of milling is to reduce the wheat grain to a. fine powdery flour. A single grain makes about 20,000 particles of flour. In wholemeal flour all parts of the grain are included, but in producing white flour the seed coats and the embryo are not used. Instead, they are flattened and removed as small flakes, by sifting over nylon or silk mesh. These flakes are referred to collectively as wheatfeed.

If you look at wheat grains they appear as seeds, but a closer examination shows them to be true fruits. Each grain consists of a fruit-leaf with its edges rolled over and grown together, the furrow which runs the length of the grain being the line of joint.
We show a diagram of a wheat grain that has been cut in half length-wise through the furrow. The drawing shows the grain magnified over 200 times.

A grain of wheat cut across the middle Ears of wheat

The flour which comes from the grain of wheat is used in making bread and biscuits, cakes and confectionery, puddings and pies. This wheaten flour is rich in carbohydrates (for energy), protein (for growth and development), the essential B vitamins (for good health, good nerves and good digestion) and important minerals like iron (for healthy blood) and calcium (for strong bones and teeth).
Flour gives us dishes that are good to eat-and the nourishment essential to good health. What is more, the seedcoats, or wheatfeed, not used in making white flour are valuable food for livestock, and so help to provide us with eggs, bacon, meat and milk.