Saturday, November 13, 2010
An Unsponsored Recommendation
Robin Hood Nutri-Blend flour is awesome. I don't normally recommend products, because I genuinely believe that, for the most part, one brand is as good as any other. And that may be true in this case as well, but Robin Hood is the only one offering this in Newfoundland right now.
I'm sorry, I'm so excited I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up.
I am fairly committed to healthy eating 80% of the time. Besides the obvious health benefits, I like the wholesome feeling I get from eating healthy foods. My brother's godfather always credited his health to a simple credo: "avoid the three deadly white powders; white sugar, salt, and white flour." This has always been held up to us as an example of disciplined healthy eating. I don't follow it. I do try to keep it in mind, and reduce those ingredients. Can I use honey instead of sugar? Can I half the salt? Will whole wheat flour work? Sometimes yes, but sometimes no. And those times when it's no I go ahead with the white powder, because I do need my treats sometimes.
So, I eat whole wheat bread, muffins and pasta, because those taste really good, but never whole wheat cakes, cookies, or pizza crusts, because they don't. Or do they???????
I first heard about "white whole wheat flour" from Orangette. She wrote about a flour that had all the wonderful properties of white flour (the lightness, the flavour, the texture) while still having all the fibre and nutrition of whole wheat flour. Apparently the difference is in how the flour is processed. It seemed incredible, but I could not find the brand she mentioned in St. John's and I certainly was not about to start ordering my flour online. It remained a far-away dream.
Until a month or so ago. There, in my grocery store, was Robin Hood Nutri-Blend Flour, making the exact same claim. I quickly bought a bag, even though it was more than I'd usually spend. (It was about $3.50 for a 2kg bag. I usually buy the 10kg bag for $7. Once in a rare while I get it on sale for $5).
I tried it out on the recipe that Orangette had used it for, "Everyday Cake" (see link below). The first thing that I noticed was that the swapping of flour did not make for a particularly healthy dessert. The cake still calls for a fair bit of butter and sugar. But it was an improvement over white flour. Also, it was delicious. Boyfriend and I agreed that it was a phenomenal cake, and were quite sure that we wouldn't be able to tell the difference with white flour.
So I put it to a harder test: pizza dough. I seriously hate whole wheat pizza crusts. They never taste right. The biggest problem is that pizza dough is such a basic recipe, the flavour of the flour is front and centre. You don't think about it that way, but there is nothing else to taste in pizza dough. Whole wheat flour gives it a lot of that whole-wheaty taste. That's great to have in bread or muffins, but not in my pizza.
I was a little worried about it when I saw it. The dough was definitely off-colour, much darker than my usual crust, but I needn't have worried. It tasted perfect. The product had lived up to the hype.
I still use regular whole wheat flour for everything I always used to. And I use white flour for those desserts which are so decadent as to be unsalvageable, such as frosted cakes or butter cookies. But for my more in-between desserts, everyday cakes and cookies, I use the new flour. A bit more nutrtious, without having to compromise a thing.
* Robin Hood has given me exactly nothing to endorse this product. But if they'd like to.....