Wheat bran is healthy and rich in fiber, an excellent ingredient for making delicious nutritious meals. However, for people who have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten, wheat bran is a no-go.
So if you’re unable to process food with gluten or simply don’t have wheat bran available, we have found some substitutes for wheat bran that you can use to make the same recipes.
Gluten-free wheat bran alternatives
1. Oat bran
Oat bran is one of the best gluten-free wheat bran substitutes you can use for the same recipes. It has a slightly nutty, sweet taste that is comparable to whole grains.
Like wheat bran, oat bran can add a pleasant hearty texture and good aroma to a variety of baked goods like breads, muffins, and cookies. It is also a good addition to yogurts, cereals, and smoothies.
Oat bran is rich in fiber and is a good source of protein, B vitamins, and iron. Its nutritional value is definitely a plus for dieters. Make sure you get oat bran from a brand you trust to avoid the risk of getting gluten from cross contamination.
If there is no oat bran but you have some oatmeal then you’ve got another doable replacement for wheat bran.
With mild nutty flavor and coarse texture, it’s an interesting ingredient for baked goods. Using oatmeal will bring some crunch to your cake or cookies but if you want a smoother texture, you can turn it into flour using a blender or food processor.
Although oatmeal is a little inferior to oat bran in terms of nutrition, it is still a healthy addition to your meals. Aside from using it in baking, you can enjoy oatmeal as a porridge or breakfast cereal anytime.
3. Rice bran
Rice bran made from the outer layer of a rice grain is also a highly nutritious replacement for wheat bran.
You can use rice bran for baked goods like muffins and biscuits. To get the same toasty aroma as other grain bran, you can roast the rice bran lightly before using.
This product isn’t as available as wheat or oat bran but with the rise of gluten-free baking, it is getting more attention. Rice bran oil however is a popular product thanks to its versatile use and health benefits.
If you want to try expanding your palate, you can try an alternative for wheat bran that is as useful and tasty in its own worth.
Sweet and kind of buttery, you can use cornmeal in baking cornbread, cookies, muffins, or breads. It can also be used as a thickener for soups and savory dishes.
Depending on your recipe, you can get either a coarse ground or fine ground cornmeal to achieve the consistency and texture perfect for your dish.
Flaxseed is a superfood that has been popular since ancient times. The nutritional value packed in these nibbly grains will definitely upscale your meals.
To use as an ingredient, you can add flaxseed in yogurts, cereals, oatmeals, or even salads. Its crunchy texture is a great pair for smooth or bland foods. Alternatively, you can ground flaxseed and use it for baking cookies, muffins, and such.
Flaxseed has already become a hyped food because of all its health benefits. So if you’re looking for a really healthy substitute for wheat bran, try this one out.
Substitutes for wheat bran that contain gluten
6. Wheat germ
Wheat germ is pretty much the next closest thing you can use instead of wheat bran. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals and also has essential fatty acids and dietary fiber.
This product is also processed from wheat plants so it has a very similar flavor profile to wheat bran. Slightly nutty with a grainy texture, you can use wheat germ in baking.
Alternatively, you can also simply top yogurt, ice cream, cereals, pies, casseroles or coat some cookies with wheat germ to enjoy its taste and nutritional benefits. You can also use it as a healthier substitute for breadcrumbs in meatloaf, meatballs, and others.
7. Rye Flour
Rye flour is lower in gluten content compared to other flours and substitutes for wheat germ. It does still have gluten so it’s better to avoid it if you’re sensitive to gluten. For other things, it’s also an efficient alternative to wheat bran if you’re in a pinch.
This flour has a fresher flavor compared to wheat flour. Slightly nutty, earthy and with hints of sourness and malt, it will give your recipes an interesting added flavor.
Rye flour is also used for baking and it usually produces a chewy and more dense texture compared to the soft, smooth results of other flours. You can use it for rye bread, sourdough bread, gingerbread, fruitcakes, pancakes, and scones. It is also an ingredient in making some pastas, soups, and sauces.
8. Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is a popular alternative to all-purpose flour for both health conscious and taste curious consumers. It is, being made from the same plant, also a good sub for wheat bran.
Many baked goods that are rich brown in color and have a nutty flavor packed in a firmer denser texture are made with whole wheat flour. This tasty ingredient also has a high protein content, rich in fiber and other nutrients.
Some foods made with this flour can turn slightly bitter but as long as you measure and mix it well with other ingredients, rest assured you’ll have delicious baked goods.
Related FAQ About Wheat Bran
Is wheat bran the same as wheat germ?
For those who don’t bake a lot, it’s easy to get confused between the two. The main similarity between these two is how they’re both processed from the same wheat plant. Their difference is which part of the plant they’re from.
Wheat bran is made from the shell or outer layer of a wheat kernel while wheat germ is taken from the plant’s endosperm or the inside part of the wheat berry. Both are great sources of fiber but wheat germ has more carbs per serving.
What is the difference between wheat bran and wheat flour?
Wheat flour is made from milling wheat grain which does not include its outer layer. Wheat bran is made from the husks separated from the grain after milling. Both have health benefits and depending on your diet or recipe, one will be a better choice over the other.
If you want to reap all the benefits from a wheat plant, then you can use whole wheat flour instead. As its name suggests, it is made from the entire kernel of a wheat.
The gluten-free substitutes for wheat bran are definitely healthier alternatives for those with allergies. For those who are not sensitive to gluten, whole wheat flour, rye flour or wheat germ will work just fine for most baking recipes.
Whether you’re looking for a healthier alternative or you want to try other options for various reasons, just keep in mind the taste, nutritional value, and culinary use of wheat bran. You can then compare and try any in the list above to find which one is perfect for your preferences.