Wheat germ is the extracted inner core of a wheat grain seed. It is normally removed, along with the fibrous husk, when wheat is processed to become refined flour. It is used in many healthy recipes to add back some of the missing nutrition of refined flour. Since wheat germ is from the inner portion of the seed, it may be potentially full of protein, vitamins, and minerals, which are all stored to help the tiny seed germinate.
Wheat Germ Substitutes
Wheat germ is also full of carbohydrates and is therefore not appropriate for low-carb diets. It is also high in gluten and has consequently become a bit harder to find in health food stores. Regardless of the reason you need a substitution, there are several easy ingredients such as flaxseed, wheat flour, bread crumbs, bran, and ground seeds that will do the trick.
Flax meal, made of ground flax seeds, is a great substitute for those looking to make their recipes healthier. Flax seeds may be packed with omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, vitamins, and minerals. Flax meal will give your recipes a chewy crumb, so it’s particularly good in batch recipes like muffins.
Whole wheat flour is made by grinding the whole kernel, including the wheat germ, so it’s an easy, natural substitute. Wheat germ tends to be light and fluffy, and whole wheat flour can be dense and clumpy. Sift the flour before using, however, to shake out clumps.
Sometimes wheat germ is used in breading, which can be a particularly hard substitute. If you are not avoiding gluten, simple breadcrumbs can be the best replacement here, as the breadcrumbs can stand up to cooking oil without losing their structure. The taste will be similar as well. This substitution will only work in savory recipes; do not use this alternative in sweet dishes.
Bran is usually sold as wheat, rice, or oat. Wheat bran, not surprisingly, tastes very similar to wheat germ. If you’re looking to avoid wheat altogether, try rice bran or oat bran. Both will give your baking a soft texture with strong crumbiness.
Sesame, sunflower or something else entirely, pick your favorite seed and simply grind it in a food processor to create a flour that instantly contains many essential vitamins and minerals. Seeds are nature’s powerhouses and bump up the nutritional value of any recipe. Be careful not to over-grind oily seeds like sesame, or you might accidentally end up with tahini.