Whole Grain Without the Pain: Favorite treats using white whole wheat

e081613

IMG_1761

Two of these chocolate chip cookies are made with 100% all-purpose flour.

Two are made with 100% whole wheat flour.

Will your kids be able to tell the difference?

IMG_1276

A blueberry muffin made with 100% whole wheat flour on the left. And on the right, the same muffin made with all-purpose flour.

When they’re side by side, you can see a slight difference in color.

But who ever eats a whole wheat muffin and a white flour muffin both at the same time?

DSC_5001

Ah, the bête noir of those of us trying to “bake healthy” with whole wheat: 100% whole wheat bread.

Yes, it’s light tan. And looking at it, no one will mistake this for Wonder Bread.

But if your goal is a soft, moist, just slightly sweet, eminently sliceable sandwich loaf, one that complements everything from PB & J to tuna salad to ham and cheese – this bread is it.

You know, we’ve been pounding the drum for white whole wheat flour for nigh on 20 years here at King Arthur Flour. And apparently, we haven’t been doing a very good job, because many of you just don’t understand what it is.

“Is white whole wheat flour white flour? Is it whole wheat? Is it bleached?”

photo 2

Here’s the simplest explanation: white whole wheat flour is whole wheat flour, flour ground from the entire wheat kernel. White wheat’s kernels are simply a different color than those of traditional red whole wheat flour.

White tulip. Red tulip. They’re both tulips, right? Same flower, same characteristics and attributes – different color.

White whole wheat and red (traditional) whole wheat? Same thing.

So if you’re thinking, “Man, I’d love to get a bit more fiber into my family’s diet;” or “I’d sure like it if the cookies my kids eat after soccer practice had a bit more going for them nutritionally,” then I highly — HIGHLY — recommend stocking your pantry with white whole wheat flour.

“So, can I substitute white wheat 1:1 for all-purpose flour in all my favorite recipes?”

Well, yes… and no. Would I substitute it 100% for all-purpose flour in an oatmeal cookie recipe? Yes. Would I substitute it 100% for all-purpose flour in a delicate vanilla holiday rollout cookie? No.

Chocolate cake, fruit cake, gingerbread, yes. Angel food cake, white cake, yellow cake, no.

Pumpkin muffins, cinnamon-apple scones, banana bread? Absolutely. Biscuits, cream scones, lemon-poppyseed bread? Probably not.

Are you getting the picture here? A lot of us eat with our eyes, and in light-colored baked goods, you’ll see a difference in color.

Plus, in certain “plain” recipes – for instance, pie crust or sugar cookies – you’ll probably taste a slight difference. After all, whole wheat flour has a lot more in it – wheat bran and germ – than all-purpose flour.

But how often do you make sugar cookies, compared to chocolate chip, peanut butter, or oatmeal? How many angel food cakes do you make each year? Not as many as chocolate, right?

Here’s my best advice: Buy a bag of white whole wheat flour, stash it in the fridge or freezer, and when you’re making something that seems like a good fit, get out your white wheat.

Start by subbing white wheat for 1/3 of the white flour in the recipe. (Feeling brave? Go 50/50.)

If you like the results, increase the percentage next time. Increase even more the time after that. For some recipes, you’ll find you can easily use 100% whole wheat flour without anyone noticing.

I mean, whole wheat or not, who ever turns down a warm chocolate chip cookie?

We have hundreds of recipes using whole wheat on our recipe site. The following are some of my kid-friendly favorites. With school back in session (or about to be), it’s time to turn over a new leaf.

Here’s to whole grain – without the pain!

IMG_0761

Whole Wheat Waffles

  100% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 122 reader raves

“WOW! At long last – whole wheat waffles our family, including finicky granddaughter, will love!! We love waffles and I’ve always wanted to find a whole grain recipe that would suffice. This is it!” vcallahan – KAF Community

Tip: If you or your family are very sensitive to whole wheat’s sometimes assertive flavor, try substituting 2 tablespoons orange juice for 2 tablespoons of the milk in this recipe. The OJ tames whole wheat’s potentially tannic taste, without adding any citrus flavor of its own.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

IMG_2187

Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix

  87% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 100 reader raves

“Fed these to 3 boys who are very fussy eaters! They loved them. It was amazing.” Bev – Plymouth, MN

Tip: No buttermilk in the fridge? Substitute 3/4 cup regular yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup milk; or 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup milk.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

WWBlueMuffins

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

  100% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 45 reader raves

“I whipped up a batch before dinner…very simple to throw together with 3 little kids under my feet. Moist and perfect with the blueberries I froze from last summer. My kids loved them and asked that I make them again.” tonyaann – KAF Community

Tip: For perfectly intact muffins – no tears or crumbles – line your pan with muffin/cupcake papers, and grease the papers.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

BanChocChipMuffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

  50% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 73 reader raves

“My children absolutely love these muffins! I think they refuse to eat the last 2 bananas in the bunch, knowing that these muffins will appear when they are too ripe!” dbglas5 – KAF Community

Tip: The riper the banana, the better the flavor. This is the perfect way to use up those absolutely black, got-lost-in-the-bottom-of-the-fruit-bowl bananas.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

DSC_4996

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread

  100% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 216 reader raves

“I have made this in my bread machine several times with a few variations and have had great success. It is the perfect PB&J bread for my very picky 3-year-old!” Lindsey – Dallas, TX

Tip: The liquid sweetener you choose here makes a difference. Molasses produces the darkest loaf, one with old-fashioned flavor. Honey yields a lighter, milder loaf. Maple syrup makes a less-sweet loaf, with just the faintest hint of maple.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

 

HoneyWheatRoll

Honey Wheat Rolls

  65% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 76 reader raves

“These were in our Thanksgiving bread basket and what a delight these rolls are. The yummy wheat flavor is wonderful and the texture is light and fluffy. A new tradition for our family. My 2-year-old grandson said it all: ‘Gamma, these are yummy.’ ” Sharon – California

Tip: Brush hot-from-the-oven rolls with melted butter for a soft, satiny, buttery crust.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

IMG_7891

Heavenly Healthy Banana Bread

  100% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 131 reader raves

“This is really the best banana bread I’ve ever eaten! Even my 4-year-old daughter loved it!” Roberta – Suwanee, GA

Tip: Want to dress up the bread’s crust — and add flavor, too? Mix 2 tablespoons granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over the top of the bread before baking.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

DSC_5092

Crunchy Parmesan Crackers

  100% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Be the first to review!

Tip: Do you suffer from rolling pin phobia? Don’t be afraid of this recipe. The dough is extremely easy to roll, doesn’t crack around the edges, and makes hundreds of delicious crackers.

SoftChocChipCookies

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

  100% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 47 reader raves

“I was very hesitant about making these cookies and using the www flour… but boy are they delicious… These are my new favorite cc cookie recipe and when the kids eat them at least I feel a little better that they are whole grain and less butter. My four kids ages 2-10 loved them.” Momma – NE PA

Tip: Part of the reason these cookies stay soft is their relatively short baking time. To ensure soft cookies, do a test bake of 4 to 6 cookies before baking the entire batch. Let them cool for about 15 minutes. Are they soft, rather than crisp? If so, you’ve nailed the time. If not, shorten the baking time for the remainder of the cookies.

WholeGrainBrowniesC2F

Tasting is Believing Whole-Grain Brownies

  100% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 62 reader raves

Tip: Want to “fancy” these brownies up for a special occasion? Once they’re baked, use a deep cookie cutter to cut out shapes: pumpkins for Halloween, stars for the holidays, or rounds to use in elegant brownie sundaes.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

DSC_2100

Oatmeal Cookies

  63% whole grain
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 62 reader raves

“This is by far the best oatmeal cookie recipe I’ve ever used! My family loved those soft, golden brown and delicious oatmeal cookies so now I am making them every weekend!” Helen – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tip: If you’re a fan of salty/sweet, the merest sprinkle of salt (extra-fine preferred) atop the just-baked cookies brings their flavor over the top.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

Our King Arthur Flour recipe site offers hundreds of additional whole grain recipes – enjoy!

 

 

 

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Cathy R

    I can’t believe that you didn’t include your 100% whole wheat chocolate chip zucchini bread recipe, especially this time of year.

    I think that is one of the best things that I have ever made!!!

    Reply
  2. Cristina Potmesil

    I know to store whole wheat flours in the fridge or freezer. My question is can I use them straight from the fridge or freezer, or do they need to be allowed to warm to room temperature first?

    The freezer is best, not the fridge. You do not need to let it come to room temperature,the flour can be used straight from the freezer.

    Reply
  3. Savannagal

    Let me first say that after reading your blog…I am hungry. Everything looks so delish. I’m wondering if red whole wheat and white whole wheat have the same nutritional value, generally speaking. I know with fruits the more colorful, the more nutrition. Just wondering. I really enjoy reading your blog articles. Thanks.Basically they have the same nutritional value. The white whole wheat is basically free of phenolic acid, so it has a milder flavor and is referred to as sweet wheat. Happy baking! Betsy@KAF

    Reply
  4. Shawma

    I cannot believe you didn’t include your Kids Choice Chip & Fruit Oatmeal Cookies. That recipe is so versatile and delicious. It’s our go-to cookie recipe!

    Reply
  5. Nonnie Dahnke

    Hi there – I’ve been using KAF www flour for quite some time and no one (me included) has noticed any difference. Yes, I still have the white flour on hand for certain items, but for all intents and purposes, the www is preferred and works great!

    Reply
  6. KenB.

    How is white whole wheat in pizza dough?

    Use 50% white and 50% white whole wheat and you will have a beautiful pizza dough. It’s a very popular use for the white whole wheat. Betsy@KAF

    Reply
  7. Judy F

    We’ve been making pizza dough with white whole wheat flour since forever I think :-). No one ever has ever commented on it being different – just delicious!

    Reply
  8. Rachel

    I make the quick mix with half all purpose and half white whole wheat. I haven’t been able to tell the difference. Great to have a mix I can use for waffles and pancakes that is a bit more nutritious. I also use the recipe in the anniversary edition cookbook for the 100% whole wheat pizza crust made with honey. It is hearty and out of this world!

    Reply
  9. Gary Reinke

    The email I received shows ads for “Back to School with “White” Whole Wheat, yet your bread recipe for the depicted sandwich bread calls for “Whole Wheat flour” Which is it?

    Gary, white whole wheat flour and whole wheat flour are both whole wheat flours, as explained in the blog post; take your choice, both are fine. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  10. JanH

    White whole wheat is my go to flour for most cookies, quick breads and most dinner rolls. It is easy to use and all those folks who claim to not like whole wheat anything can’t even tell the difference!

    Exactly!-Jon

    Reply
  11. Susan

    Love white whole wheat! That is all I use for everything, bread, hamburger buns, cookies, cakes, brownies, tortillas, flatbreads, EVERYTHING! :)

    Reply
  12. Kelley

    I’ve always heard that using 100% whole wheat flour can make your dough more dense and change the texture of your baked goods, and that it’s best to cut the whole wheat flour with regular, all-purpose. Is this not true? It seems to be completely contradicted on this blog (which I refer to as my baking Bible).
    Thanks!!

    If your recipe is written for all purpose flour, you can sub up to 50% white whole wheat flour in the recipe. For some bakers (read their families here) it’s best to start subbing 25% white whole wheat for the all purpose flour – then work up to 50%. Using more whole wheat flour than that will require a recipe written for whole wheat as it absorbs more liquid than other flours. It also may result in the crumbly texture you referred to. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Kelley, I have to respectfully disagree with Irene here; I often substitute white whole wheat for 100% of the all-purpose flour in recipes calling for all-purpose flour. This works especially well in muffins, cookies, and spice-type or fruit/veggie cakes (e.g., apple cake, pumpkin cake). Obviously I don’t expect to get the exact same results; and I wouldn’t do it with, say, a yellow cake or popovers. But if I pick and choose where I use it, yes, I substitute it 100% with great results. The more you experiment, the more you’ll figure out where it works best. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  13. Ashley

    I’m making croissants later this week and, after reading this, wonder if I could sub whole wheat for 50% or is there a real texture difference? Whole wheat seems coarser in my head. I’ve used it in things like muffins with a bigger crumb but wonder about the layers in the pastry.
    Thanks!

    Ashley, you’ll find the croissants will be denser. To my mind, croissants are one of those things that should just be made the classic way, with AP flour; but if you want to experiment, try starting by subbing 25% white whole wheat. If you like the results, increase the percentage the next time. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  14. Shelley

    Yay! I am so happy to see this! I have been using White Whole Wheat flour for years! Sometimes I use half wheat half regular flour, but always King Arthur! It’s the best!

    Thanks, Shelley! I’ve been using white wheat for years, too; we appreciate you helping to spread the word here. PJH

    Reply
  15. Donna Jo

    I’ve been using the KA www flour half and half in many of my bread recipes for several years now. I’ve never had any complaints and I feel better about the nutritional aspects. I usually use it fast enough that I don’t have to store it in the freezer.

    Donna Jo, that’s wonderful you’re using so much white whole wheat in your baking – it’s nice to add that extra fiber and nutrition, isn’t it? PJH

    Reply
  16. Sue

    I love your white whole wheat flour. I also love chocolate chip muffins. And I now make them exclusively with you white whole wheat flour. One is satisfying where it would take 3 made with white flour to reach that point. I probably use it in almost everything I bake.

    Thanks, Sue – sounds like you’ve discovered the “secret” of white whole wheat! :) PJH

    Reply
  17. ET

    What would I do if I want to adapt these recipes to use with soft white wheat flour?

    If you’re talking about low-protein whole wheat pastry flour – you’d use a bit less liquid, as a start, and don’t try the substitution with the sandwich bread. But these are written for higher-protein, hard whole wheat flour, so I’d expect you’ll probably get different results with many of the recipes. In other words – give it a try, but no guarantees of success. PJH

    Reply
  18. Varina

    I always have the white whole wheat on hand. I almost always make baked goods with 1/2 KAF AP flour, and 1/2 KAF WWW flour … sometimes I add flax seed for even more fiber. Of course it depends what I’m making. I also love KAF cake flour for certain baked goods.

    Varina, good idea adding the flax for even more healthy benefits – thanks for sharing. PJH

    Reply
  19. Brie

    I haven’t used whole wheat flour, whether red or white, much in the past. When you store it in the freezer, what should it be stored in? How long does it last in the freezer?

    You can store your flour in the bag it comes in or in an airtight container! It should last for about 12-16 months.-Jon

    Reply
  20. Rebecca

    Please keep in mind that for some of us, whole wheat is NOT healthy. I can have white flour, but have an epi pen for whole wheat flour. I go into an anaphylaxis attack & stop breathing. I know 2 others that have the same allergy. You may want to let people know if taking to parties or public events as they cannot tell the different by color with these baked goods.

    Reply
  21. Jean

    Honestly, one of the worst things ever was when Bank of America dropped the King Arthur Visa affinity card program. I converted more people using that credit card all the time (and I use my credit card ALL THE TIME). Even at the grocery store when I’d hand the card over and the clerk would see the bags of KA I was buying, I’d sing your praises to the clerk and anyone who was around me… and I know I converted a few people — one person thought I was filming an ad.

    I use the white wheat flour in almost everything. Love it love it love it…. but bring back the affinity credit card program!

    Thank you for your feedback! I will certainly suggest it.-Jon

    Reply
  22. Annie

    I didn’t know that whole wheat flour needs to be stored in the freezer. I have some whole wheat flour that’s about a year old and just stored in the cabinet. Does it go bad? Do I need to throw that away and just buy a new bag?

    Whole wheat flour will go rancid over time. I would say that after a year that your flour may have gone bad. I would open the bag and give it a smell. If there is any “off” odor then I would throw it away.-Jon

    Reply
  23. Mary Butler

    Can I substitute regular KA whole wheat flour for KA while whole wheat flour? I have noticed on the website that most of the whole wheat recipes call for the white version…..I have a lot of regular whole wheat flour that I want to use up before the expiration date. Thanks.

    You can certainly use the traditional whole wheat flour instead of the white whole wheat!-Jon

    Reply
  24. Cindy

    Can I substitute 100% white whole wheat in cinnamon rolls recipes on this site, or do you recommend using 50% whole wheat and 50% general purpose?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Cindy, I’d start with 50/50, to see how you like the substitution. Add an additional tablespoon of water or milk to the dough, and let it rest for 10 minutes or so before kneading, to allow the whole wheat time to absorb the liquid. If you like the 50/50 substitution, you can increase the amount of white wheat flour next time out. Sound like a plan? PJH

  25. annie

    been viewing your recipes. I am in dire need of a few recippee to allow my mother to be involved in Christmas eating of desserts – she has strict diet no sugars al lof them including lactose, fructose dextrose etc. etc. she can eat any wholegrain flour or nut flour as long as non refined. any vegetable any legume(pulse). no milk product other than cottage cheese she can eat eggs i’m not sure if raw cocoa has sugar but she is allowed vanilla pod. I need help desperate…I can be creative but need some ideas that will make nice selection desserts for Christmas. help help help. milk alternatives are okay and yoghurt plain white okay. butter can be okay if there is no substitute but rather avoid use coconut butter or something else. I am trying to put together Christmas menu that will allow mum to participate without feeling left out. help help help

    Reply
  26. Annie

    We substitute white whole wheat for all the whit flour in everything INCLUDING delicate sugar cookies, biscuits (today in fact), yellow cake, etc. the one and only thing I don’t use it for as a substitute is flour tortillas. It can totally be used for delicate things you just have to know how to treat it (and generally i make thing slightly more moist than if I was using white flour).

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Thanks for sharing, Annie. Please do feel free (and encouraged) to share your tips when our baking friends ask for WW help. The more voices the better! ~ MJ

  27. Lia

    Honestly, I doubted – but I just made chocolate chip cookies with a 50/50 mix, and I completely can’t taste the difference! You’ve won me over!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      I doubted too, Lia – but tasting is believing, isn’t it? So glad you took the plunge. Happy whole-grain baking! PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We do offer the traditional and the white whole wheat in organic varieties! Check your local store for their offerings, or give us a call and we’ll help you find it. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Tricia, our classic Irish Soda Bread recipe is a perfect contestant for sneaking in that white whole wheat flour! Our recipe actually calls for 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat or Irish-style wholemeal flour and 1 1/4 cup of bread flour. You can view that recipe here: http://bit.ly/1F2A61q. The bread flour is an important component if you want the bread to have a nice chewy texture to it, but the rest of the flour can be white whole wheat. It’s the perfect recipe for St. Patty’s Day, which is fast approach. Happy baking! –Kye@KAF

  28. Marge

    Can I substitute 50% WWW flour for 50% of the cake (or AP) flour called for in a recipe? And would I then need to increase the liquid slightly to compensate? Thanks. I’m still a ‘novice’ baker but am interested in eating healthy!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Marge, when white whole wheat flour is used up to 50/50 with all-purpose flour, there’s no need to make a change in your favorite white-flour yeast recipe – the result should be quite similar to the original. When whole wheat flour is substituted 100% for the white flour in a favorite recipe, allow the dough to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before kneading. If you are feeling ambitious with your whole grains and you would like to use white whole wheat flour in place of all of the white flour, adjust the dough consistency by adding 2 teaspoons additional liquid per cup of white whole wheat flour used, to start. Allow the dough to rest for 20 to 30 minutes and then start to knead; if it begins to feel overly dry and stiff, add more liquid, enough to make a smooth, supple dough. Happy whole grain baking! Kye@KAF

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *