Ever heard of wheat germ, the rockstar ingredient?
Wheat germ is a fantastic product that’s chock-full of nutrients and full of toasted nutty goodness.
Many of us don’t know much about what wheat germ is and why it’s so nutritious. So, let’s get up close and personal with wheat germ and see how it can be incorporated into our daily diets.
What Is Wheat Germ?
The edible part of the wheat kernel contains three different parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. With these three components, whole grains offer the eater elements like fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and antioxidants. When these nutrients work together, they are a powerhouse! However, when whole grains are refined, the bran and germ are stripped away, leaving only the starchy endosperm. The endosperm lacks the fiber that is in the bran and the nutrients that are in the germ.
Wheat germ health benefits abound, as it’s the heart of the wheat berry. Two tablespoons are just 45 calories with 1 gram of unsaturated fat and 2 grams of dietary fiber, 10% of the recommended daily value of folate, 8% of your recommended daily value of phosphorus, magnesium and zinc, 15% of your vitamin E and 10% of your thiamin requirements. It’s also is a cholesterol and sodium free food.
What Does Wheat Germ Taste Like?
We make our Bob’s Red Mill wheat germ with the finest wheat kernels. It has a nutty and delightfully toasted taste and can be used as an addition to recipes to add nutrients, flavor and texture. With wheat germ, freshness is key, meaning you’ll want to keep yours in the refrigerator to maintain the nutrition and taste of our raw wheat germ and its natural oils.
How Do You Use Wheat Germ?
Our high-quality wheat germ can be used in everything from casseroles to muffins. It can even be used as a binder in meatloaf and to replace breadcrumbs. Once you get used to using wheat germ, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Sprinkle it over your morning yogurt as you head out the door, add it to smoothies or mix it into a bowl of cold cereal and nut milk.
When you’re baking cookies, muffins and breads, you can use wheat germ to replace up to 1/2 cup of flour. You can also use it as a topping for cobblers and pies or as a breading for fish.
Complementary Ingredients and Dishes For Wheat Germ
- granola bars
- veggie burgers
- dog treats
- fish and poultry coating
- cold cereal
It’s good to note that because our wheat germ is milled from wheat kernels, it does contain gluten. And although we wish everyone could enjoy our wheat germ, if you suffer from celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, it’s best to avoid it.
What Are Wheat Germ Substitutes?
If you are avoiding wheat germ, it’s best to avoid wheat bran, too (as it can bring forth some of the same health issues of wheat germ). Luckily, if you’re looking for a wheat germ substitute, there are quite a few at your disposal. Here are some of our favorites:
Ground Flax: Ground flax has a nutty flavor and dark color similar to wheat germ. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids (more so than wheat germ, actually). If you’re looking to use ground flax in the place of wheat germ, you can do so in equal amounts.
Ground Sunflower Seeds: Ground sunflower seeds add protein, texture and fiber to dishes and baked goods just as wheat germ does. They contain less carbs and more fat than wheat germ but have a similar amount of protein. Because of a higher fat content, you might want to be careful when dealing with doughs and baked goods.
Oat Bran: Oat bran is created from the outer shell of the oat grain. It is similar in nutrition and texture to wheat germ and is also full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, fiber, B-vitamins and iron. Like wheat germ, it’s somewhat crunchy and coarse.
Wheat Germ Recipes
Looking for some creative inspiration to get you baking with wheat bran? Try one of these Bob’s Red Mill recipes below.
Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread
This hearty Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread is made with 100% stone ground whole wheat flour, molasses, wheat germ and oats. It was also a winner at the Malheur County Fair! If you’re planning to make these rolls, keep in mind you’ll want to allot yourself a few days to do so. Two or three days before baking, you’ll soak your wheat berries in cold water for 6-8 hours in a sprouting jar. After draining well and rinsing, you’ll invert or place the jar on its side in a warm location. Water seeds 3-4 times a day by covering with tap water and then draining well. Although the recipe calls for a bit of extra time, the end result is oh so very worth it.
Bob’s Homemade Granola
Bob's Homemade Granola recipe has been a company favorite for years (and can be found on our packages of Shredded Coconut). It’s made with Regular Rolled Oats, Shredded Coconut, Wheat Germ, Premium Shelled Sunflower Seeds, Brown Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Chopped Walnuts, honey, melted butter, water, sea salt and vanilla extract. Once the granola has been baked and oats are crisp, allow it to cool and add your raisins. This granola can be stored for up to three weeks without refrigeration and tastes wonderful on top of plain yogurt or with almond milk.
Whole Wheat Coffee Cake
This Whole Wheat Coffee Cake is made with brown sugar-sweetened pecans to highlight the slight nuttiness of the whole wheat flour. The addition of buttermilk and vanilla adds extra flavor. Depending on when you’re making this decadent treat, sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin spice into your batter alongside the wheat germ. If you’re looking to turn it into a breakfast dessert fit for a special gathering, use powdered sugar and a bit of coffee liqueur to make a glaze. Serve alongside homemade lattes or big mugs of hot coffee with whipped cream.
Tangy Cheese & Nut Wheat Bread
This recipe for Tangy Cheese & Nut Wheat Bread was a prize winner at the 2005 Oregon State Fair, and for a (tasty) good reason. It uses cheese and beer for its tangy taste which, when combined with ingredients like wheat germ, cayenne pepper and chopped walnuts, makes for an incredible dish. We highly suggest brushing the tops of loaves with butter and serving alongside a mug of cold beer, if desired.
Yes, it’s true—wheat germ can be enjoyed by your furry four-legged friends, too. Show your pups some love with these nutritious, homemade Dog Treats. They’re made with Organic Brown Rice Farina, Organic Whole Wheat Flour, Barley Flour, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Wheat Germ, Nutritional Yeast, Organic Quick Cooking Rolled Oats, water or broth, pure peanut butter, eggs, molasses, diced apples and shredded carrot. Once baked, make sure to let them cool completely before serving them to your canine pal! Store in an airtight container (or invite your pup’s pals over for a gathering).
Favorite Bran Muffins with Apples & Walnuts
This recipe for Favorite Bran Muffins with Apples & Walnuts is perfect if you’re looking for a nutrition-packed and kid-friendly morning meal. It’s full of amazing ingredients like chopped walnuts, diced apples, wheat bran, wheat germ, molasses, buttermilk, Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour and eggs. You can enlist the help of your littlest baking assistants for these muffins, which will help get them excited at the idea of including wheat germ in things like yogurt and smoothies.
Wheat germ is an amazing product that’s full of a wide array of health benefits, from antioxidants, to protein, to fiber.
If you’re looking for ways to incorporate it, start small by sprinkling it onto cold cereal and then progress to using it in baked goods and casseroles!
How do you use Bob’s Red Mill wheat germ? Let us know in the comments below!