Food & Recipes

These Are The Differences Between Whole Wheat, Whole Grain And Multigrain Breads

Know which ones are best for you and which ones should you steer clear from.

By now, many of us know to avoid white bread whenever possible. But what about all of the other options in the bread aisle? It often seems like you need a science degree to figure out which type of bread is best for your sandwich.

The biggest key, nutrition experts say, is to look for the word “whole” on the label. According to the FDA, “Whole grains are cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked, or flaked kernel, which includes the bran, the germ, and the innermost part of the kernel (the endosperm).”

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On the other hand, to call something wheat bread “merely means the product is made using wheat flour, which is another term for refined white flour,” dietitian Katie Cavuto told Real Simple. On top of that, words like “refined” and “enriched” should be red flags.

wheat bread photo
Getty Images | Spencer Platt

The next time you’re stumped at the grocery store, use these tricks to figure out what kind of bread you’re really looking at:

Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain

In a blog post, Cleveland Clinic dietitian Laura Jeffers writes, “Whole wheat is a whole grain.”

There are different kinds of whole grain breads, including whole wheat, barley or oats. It’s like how all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Jeffers says either option is a great choice.

Vegan Nine Grain Whole Wheat Bread
Flickr | Veganbaking.net

Be Wary of “Multigrain”

Remember to make sure the word “whole” describes the grains you’re looking at if you want the biggest nutrition bang for your wheat intake.

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Buzzwords like “multigrain” sound appealing, but you’ll have to take a closer look to see how nutritious that multigrain bread really is.

“Multigrain means that more than one type of grain has been used, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them are whole grains,” dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield told SELF.

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Check The Percentage

Cleveland Clinic’s Jeffers wrote that 100 percent whole grain or 100 percent whole wheat are your best options. If you just see a phrase like “contains whole wheat” without a number attached, you might be eating white bread in disguise.

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“Wheat flour is 75 percent white flour and only 25 percent whole wheat,” Jeffers explains.

All this bread talk makes us hungry! Check out 10 of the best sandwiches in America for inspiration, and then hit the grocery store!

Katz Delicatessen

What’s The Difference Between European And American Butter?

Now that we’ve solved the whole grain bread question, maybe you’ve been wondering about the European butter you see on sale at the grocery store. What is European butter and how is it different from American butter?

European Butter

Butter has a different personality depending on where—and how—it’s produced.

In this case, “European butter” refers to butter produced through a style that’s popular across much of Europe. It’s a cultured butter that’s been churned for a longer period of time to achieve at least 82 percent butterfat.

Under the traditional method, producers then let the butter ferment to get its distinctive lightly sour taste. These days, most producers add cultures to the butter to create that flavor. Either way, though, you end up with a more tangy type of butter.

Chefs and foodies love European-style butters for their rich taste, a result of the high butterfat content. These high-fat varieties are also softer, melt faster and often have a warmer yellow color.

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American Butter

The main difference between European and American-style butters is the butterfat content. In the U.S., USDA federal regulations require a churned dairy product to contain at least 80 percent butterfat to be officially considered butter.

That 2 percent variation might seem small, but it makes a difference in taste and consistency.

Butter produced in the U.S. usually isn’t cultured, so it has a less tangy, more neutral flavor.

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Neither type of butter is necessarily better than the other—it just depends on your personal preference and what you’re using it for.

If you’re making croissants, pie dough or another flaky dessert, you’ll want to look for European-style butter. The higher butterfat content means your pastry will turn out flaky and flavorful.

On the other hand, if you have a recipe where butter isn’t the star ingredient (cookies, brownies or banana bread, for example), go ahead and reach for that stick of unsalted or sweet cream American butter.