Wheat germ reaches market as whole wheat flour, whole wheat bread or other bakery products, processed breakfast cereals such as "Special K" and as a toasted supplement to add to homemade bread doughs or sprinkled on food at the table.
Wheat germ is typically 2.5 percent of the whole berry, but is rich in protein and oil, including the essential polyunsaturated linolenic and linoleic fatty acids that can become rancid quickly if not refrigerated.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires products labeled "whole wheat" to contain germ, bran and endosperm in the same proportion as in the wheat berry.
Wheat germ is a byproduct of impact milling of wheat berries (kernels) to separate the starchy endosperm to be further milled into white flour.
Wheat germ adds its "nutty" flavor to "Special K," a cooked and flattened rice grain coated with wheat gluten, wheat germ meal, powdered skim milk and debittered brewer's yeast and vitamin supplements. The coated rice flake is "oven-puffed" in a 575°F oven for 45 seconds.
All whole wheat products have shorter shelf lives than white flour products and should be kept refrigerated even after baking. Consume whole wheat flour within two months after milling.