Before we learn about the substitutes for wheat germ, we have to know what it is. A grain of wheat known as 'kernel' is the seed that grows into wheat grass and is divided into 3 distinctive parts. They are called the bran, endosperm, and the germ. Wheat germ is a very small part of the grain, which is actually the reproductive part of the kernel. This part germinates and forms the wheat grass, and it is the most nutrient rich part of the seed. It is extracted from the kernel and then used as a supplement in various recipes due to its high nutritive value. However, if you don't have this ingredient, or are gluten intolerant, then you will need a substitute.
Substitute for Flour and Bread
When you have a recipe that calls for wheat germ, then you have to remember that this ingredient is added for its nutritive value and not its flavor. There are some people who claim that this flour has a slightly nutty taste, but this changes from person to person.
- Wheat flour: One of the best substitutes to use in flour is to use equal quantities of whole wheat flour. This flour is made by grinding the whole kernels and thus, naturally contains wheat germ in it. Some baked products which are made with whole wheat flour will be more dense and hard. So, when you substitute this for wheat germ in a recipe, always make sure to sift the flour one or two times so that more air is incorporated into the mixture or batter.
- Flaxseed: When you are looking for a wheat germ substitute in bread, flaxseed is a good option. Grind some flaxseed according to the amount specified in the recipe and you have a great substitute ready for use. Flaxseed is rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids, vitamin B, zinc, and folic acids. One important thing to remember is that flaxseeds will give your food a chewier texture.
- Almond meal: If you are looking for an option that is completely gluten free, almond meal is a good choice. For making cakes without wheat germ, just use 2/3 amount of almond meal, keeping the rest of the ingredients the same.
Substitute in Savory Food
- Bread crumbs: If you are making a savory recipe that needs to be coated in wheat germ and then fried, then the best option is to use fresh bread crumbs. Just toast some bread in the toaster or oven, and then process it in a food processor, so that you have a rough crumb.
- Bran and Oatmeal: For making granolas, you can use bran or oatmeal. You might find the oatmeal a little rough and dense for your purpose. In that case, just process it into a fine crumb like texture in a food processor.
Wheat germ nutrition is considerable and thus, is good for your body. Also remember that it absorbs more water so, adjust the quantity of liquid in your recipe when you substitute it. Happy Cooking!