When French Baker stores open today, they’ll be ushering in a milestone in the type of bread available to the Philippine consumer, at least for those of us who embrace carbohydrates.
Today, French Baker’s founder and CEO, Johnlu Koa, will unveil his 100% Whole Grain Bread, a loaf he’s been perfecting for four years. Calling it “the purest whole wheat,” it’s the first of its kind in the country made with five different types of grain: rolled oats, the oatmeal we know but in its less-processed state; sunflower seeds, which are rich in iron and protein; wheat germ, the embryo of the wheat berry, and a powerhouse of nutrients; flax seeds teeming with Omega-3 fatty acids, and white sesame seeds contributing crunch and flavor.
Though whole wheat loaves have been an alternative option to white for several years now, their whole wheat percentage is very low, essentially white bread masquerading as brown. Whole wheat bread as you know, is made from flour produced from wheat grains that have been de-husked but still contain both the bran and the wheat germ.
I’ve been munching on French Baker’s 100% Whole Grain Bread for the past week. What’s instantly apparent is that this loaf is heavier in hand because it’s made with whole wheat and rye flours which are very dense. (And hellishly sticky to knead, as I discover in my few whole wheat baking attempts). All those seeds and grains contribute a palatable nuttiness, muted crunch, and dense texture. Good on its own but better when toasted since the heat brings out the grains’ flavors.
This bread carries big advantages: no trans fat, no preservatives, fiber-rich, loaded with complex carbohydrates to make me feel fuller faster and longer (hmm, but not for too long ”“ I’m always hungry). Not bad at all for something that’s 100%. My only complaint is how skinny each slice is, definitely more so than the average loaf. Does that mean I can eat more slices? Eat one slice toasted, the other not? Is there a large calorie difference between one or two slices? Ah, health! How complicated it can be.
French Baker’s 100% Whole Grain Bread
Available at all French Baker outlets
Postscript: I had the honor of meeting Johnlu Koa a few hours after writing this post and I asked him just why the 100% Whole Grain Bread slices were so thin. He told me that he tried varying thicknesses but at some point, they became so thick that, in his words, “… I couldn’t taste the salami anymore.” He added that the bread is heavy so two slices will really suffice at a time.