Wheat

The most common use of wheat is to be made into flour. The milling process for white flour separates the bran and germ. Wheat germ and wheat bran can be purchased separately. They are usually used as additions to baked goods and some other dishes to enrich their nutritional content and to add flavor interest.

Whole wheat grains that have been cut into smaller pieces are called cracked wheat. This product is often added to breads and also can be cooked like pilaf.

Wheatberries are the whole grain minus the hulls. They are generally cooked by boiling or simmering, but cooking time can be several hours. Soaking overnight reduces the cooking time to about 1 hour.

Bulgur is a type of cracked wheat that has been partially cooked or parched. It is usually available in coarse, medium, and fine granulations. Its cooking time is shorter than regular cracked wheat and, in fact, the fine granulations can be prepared simply by pouring boiling water over them and letting them stand for ½ hour. This type of bulgur is often served cold, mixed with lemon juice, olive oil, chopped scallions, and fresh herbs.

Green wheat is wheat that is harvested while immature and then dried. It can be cooked like cracked wheat.

Couscous (koose koose) is not actually a grain, although it resembles one. It is made from semolina wheat, a variety of high-protein wheat, and is sort of a granular pasta. See the discussion of couscous in the pasta section of this chapter.

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