Whole grain toast is homemade or manufactured bread made with unrefined, ground, whole grain kernels in the flour, then warmed with radiant heat for a firm, crispy texture. The toast is generally prepared in the same manner as other types with a variety of methods, but, unlike its refined counterpart, the grain kernel contains the plant's bran, endosperm, and germ. The most common type of grain used is whole wheat, though flour from a variety of other grains can be substituted, including spelt, barley, and oat, as well as amaranth, quinoa, and millet, among others. Whole grain bread, and hence toast, has a variety of health benefits over refined versions of the food.
The base ingredients found in whole grain toast include whole grains ground into flour, yeast, and water, as well as honey or sugar and butter. Flour is mixed with wet ingredients to form a dough. The yeast allows the dough to rise to bake a leavened bread with a spongy consistency. Ingredients are mixed together to form a dough that sits to rise for a period of time and is then kneaded and formed into a loaf, round, or rolls to bake. Bread density varies depending on the ingredients used.
Baked or store-bought bread is toasted primarily through the use of a toaster, a kitchen appliance made to toast both sides of a slice of bread. Whole grain toast may also be made by placing bread slices on an oven rack, in a toaster oven, or near an open flame using a toasting utensil. The finished product has a crispy, grainy texture, even more so than toast made from white bread. Jams, nut and fruit butters, and spreads glide well on warm toast.
A whole grain consists of a cereal's bran, endosperm, and germ. The cereal kernel's starchy endosperm is the seed's tissue and contains protein and oil when unrefined. The germ is the seed's embryo, and the bran coats the kernel in a hard skin. White bread has the grain's germ and bran removed during the milling process.
Alternative flours may be used to make whole grain toast to fit a dietary need or lifestyle. These whole grain breads are typically available at health food stores and farmer's markets. Whole grains and flours are also sometimes available in bulk at grocery stores for customized homemade toast.
Whole grain toast is rich in fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin E. It also offers a significant source of zinc. While enriched breads have vitamins "replaced" in the recipes, whole grain protein and fiber are longer lasting. Toast still containing bran fiber also can prevent overeating, since a person feels fuller after consuming it.
Identifying whole grain bread for toasting at the grocery store may be confusing, since a wide variety of products have grain in the title or description but contain purely or partially refined ingredients. Multi-grain bread may not have whole grains, as with some rye, pumpernickel, and other seemingly healthy breads. Only breads labeled with "100% whole grains" have all of the nutrients that this unrefined food offers. Breads that list whole grain as the first ingredient, but use other types, like unbleached wheat flour, have superior nutritional value than purely refined ingredients, but less than products labeled as "100 percent."