Breakfast: from white to wheat, a baker's guide

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You know what I feel right now?

Relief.

Because it’s officially spring, and this super-long, ridiculously challenging cold spell, a.k.a. WINTER, has finally ended?

Well that, for sure. After months of ice-cold temperatures, icy roads, and ice falling from the sky (do you sense a theme here?), we’re SO ready for what comes next: Mud Season.

But beyond that, I’m relieved that the hypothesis I challenged myself with months ago – that it shouldn’t be difficult to change the flour in favorite recipes from all-purpose (white) flour to whole wheat – has proven true.

Let’s backtrack a bit.

Whole-grain is on everyone’s lips these days, the mantra of the nutritionally conscientious. Eat more whole grains. Add healthy fiber to your diet.

And, from the FDA: “Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains.”

And yet… who wants to take a well-loved, cherished family recipe, one you’ve proudly baked and shared for years, and risk transitioning it from all-purpose (white) flour to whole wheat?

Well, many of you do, judging by the questions we hear every day on our baker’s hotline.

And honestly? So do I. The older I get, the healthier I want to stay. And the same can be said for all of us, from babies to Boomers: a strong, healthy body is one of the keys to a happy life.

Since I bake SO much of what my extended family eats – bread, rolls, pizza, and other treats – I decided to step up and actually take those chocolate chip cookies, that beloved white sandwich bread, those signature cinnamon muffins, and bake them with whole wheat.

Thus my hypothesis: the process HAS to be easy. I know I won’t do it if it’s difficult.

Whew! That’s the sigh of relief I breathed a few paragraphs ago. I’ve now substituted whole wheat flour for white in sandwich bread and dinner rolls, pizza and cinnamon buns, cookies and bars of all flavors and persuasions and, as of today, all my favorite breakfast treats: muffins, batter breads, scones, biscuits, and pancakes.

The result? Hypothesis proven.

It’s NOT difficult to change your favorite white-flour recipes into fiber- and nutrient-rich whole-grain treats.

C’mon, I’ll show you.

First step: the best whole wheat flour.

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Here’s my favorite: our 100% whole-grain organic white whole wheat flour.

Yes, 100% whole grain. Just because there’s “white” in its name doesn’t mean it’s “white” flour. Wonderfully mild-flavored and light-colored, white whole wheat is ground from white wheat berries. While darker, more assertive traditional whole wheat flour is ground from red wheat berries.

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You can see the difference in color in these cinnamon Doughnut Muffins; that’s a muffin made from 100% white whole wheat at top left, and one made from 100% red whole wheat at bottom left.

Red berries vs. white berries? Same as a yellow tulip and a pink tulip. Different colors, same flower.

And how about that organic label – what difference does that make?

Well, eating organic is another lifestyle choice I make – both to limit ingestion of chemicals, and to support the small farmers who choose to raise their crops and livestock using this method.

But when I can’t find our organic white wheat flour, I’m very happy using our regular white wheat.

OK, enough chatter – let’s enjoy some whole wheat breakfast treats, shall we?

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Let’s start with scones. Aside from their pink topping (more on that later), these are just plain, everyday scones, unadorned by fruit, chips, or any flavor beyond vanilla.

I’ll test these plain vanilla scones three ways: using 100% all-purpose flour, as the recipe directs; using a 50/50 blend of all-purpose and white whole wheat; and with 100% white whole wheat flour.

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I make the dough; shape it; and brush it with milk, prior to applying some coarse sparkling sugar.

But wait a minute – there’s some vanilla sugar on the giveaway samples table. Mmmmm… that sounds perfect! Smells good, tastes good…

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…turns bright pink when wet.

O…K… So much for that experiment. Well, they’ll still taste good.

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Yup. Bright pink.

And the flavor, texture, mouth-feel?

Wonderful. Clearly the 100% white whole wheat scone is darker; and there was a bit of grittiness in its mouth-feel, from the bran.

But flavor and texture? Totally good.

Next up:

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My favorite (and your favorite) Doughnut Muffins, the most popular muffin recipe on our Web site.

I’m choosing these because they’re a “cake-type” muffin, one in which the butter, sugar, and eggs are beaten (creamed) together before the flour is added alternately with another liquid. I’ll test “stir together” muffins later.

For this test, I’m throwing traditional whole wheat flour into the mix – literally.

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Left to right, I’m using all-purpose flour; a 50/50 AP/white wheat blend; 100% white wheat; and 100% red wheat. See the difference in color?

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That’s AP flour to 100% red wheat, left to right. The rise is the same; again, only the color is different, plus the slight bit of bran in the mouth-feel.

In other types of recipes – bread, especially, and cookies, to a lesser extent – I’ve found myself adding more liquid when using 100% whole wheat. Whole wheat flour, with its coarser grind, absorbs liquid more slowly than all-purpose flour; but also ultimately absorbs a greater amount.

With these breakfast treats, though, I find the liquid ratio wasn’t an issue. Even if the 100% whole wheat version isn’t exactly the same consistency at the batter or dough stage as its all-purpose counterpart, that difference disappears in the oven. Everything I bake rises to the same height, and has very similar texture.

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See?

Next, let’s try a stir-together muffin, one in which the dry ingredients and wet ingredients are mixed separately, then stirred together briefly and gently; no beating involved.

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Irish Soda Bread Muffins.

Now, these muffins already call for 1/3 of their flour being whole wheat. But I’m ignoring that, and stick with my original test: 100% all-purpose flour; a 50/50 blend; and 100% white whole wheat flour.

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This is what I mean by “gently and briefly” combining the ingredients. I whisk together the flour and other dry ingredients; the buttermilk and other liquid ingredients; and then stir the two together (no beating!) with a spatula. The raisins and caraway seeds go in at the end.

This method works well for muffins that include a lower percentage of fat. Why? Without fat to prevent gluten from toughening up as you beat, it’s important to combine everything gently.

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And here they are: you can see a difference in color, in both the batter and the baked muffin.

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But texture? Taste? Nada. Tender and crumbly, studded with raisins and caraway seeds, even the bran is undetectable this time around.

Here comes a whole wheat challenge:

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Buttermilk biscuits. With honey, of course.

I decide it’s time to go offsite, and try someone else’s recipe. After all, a lot of the recipes we want to make start out un-vetted, right?

I Google “the best biscuit recipe.” And come up with a link to Oprah’s site, proclaiming “The World’s Best Biscuits. End of Story.”

Well – how can I resist? Andrew Carmellini, the fellow who developed the recipe for Oprah, says, “That’s all I’ve got to say about these. The best. In the world. Period. Eat ’em while they’re hot.”

Don’t worry, I will!

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I’m going to try 100% red wheat flour again – really give it a workout. A tender, soft, high-rising biscuit made with 100% RED whole wheat flour? We’ll see.

The flours (at left, clockwise from top) – red wheat, all-purpose, the 50/50 blend, and white wheat – produce doughs that are virtually the same consistency.

And how will they bake?

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The same.

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Same rise; different color.

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See what I mean about color?

In biscuits, which are practically all flour, the color becomes very noticeable. All of these biscuits rise beautifully; and taste anywhere from mild (white flour) to assertive (red whole wheat). But I think it’s the color, in this case, that will be the “no thank you” moment for whole-grain non-lovers.

Also, the 100% whole wheat biscuits (especially the red whole wheat ones) have a discernible rough texture in the mouth. It’s not unpleasant, any more than eating an oatmeal cookie could be considered unpleasant; but it’s there.

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But let’s end on a sweet note, shall we? This is one of the 50/50 biscuits.

Next, an all-American favorite, THE most-searched bread recipe online:

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Banana bread!

“But, I thought this post was about breakfast…?”

Well, the only difference between batter bread (banana bread, zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, et. al.) and muffins is the shape and size of the pan. And besides – don’t tell me you’ve never had a piece of toasted banana bread for breakfast!

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The recipe comes from the very first cookbook I ever had a hand in creating: a 1989 fund-raiser for the Camden (Maine) Public Library’s children’s room.

When I asked the community to share their favorite recipes, I was overwhelmed by the number of banana bread recipes that appeared in my mailbox. I ended up putting 10 of them in the book – just because they all sounded so good!

And for the whole wheat test, I choose Shirley J. Martinek’s recipe – mostly because it divides by four easily (I’ll test both red and white whole wheats); but also because of its interesting top and bottom crust of vanilla-scented, brown sugar-sweetened walnuts.

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As you can see, all the loaves bake up in similar fashion.

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Since the crust is so dark, you can’t tell which loaf uses which flour until you actually cut into them.

OK, one more time: from left to right, I’m using all-purpose flour; a 50/50 all purpose/white whole wheat blend; 100% white whole wheat flour, and 100% red whole wheat flour, a.k.a. King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour.

Great flavor: check (though I would have preferred a bit more banana). Nice, moist texture: check. With the rough bits of unmashed bananas, any potential “branniness” pretty much disappears.

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Isn’t that a nice top crust? VERY tasty, too.

And last, but certainly not least, we reach my favorite of all weekend breakfasts:

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Pancakes!

My go-to pancake recipe is our Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix, which makes the softest, tastiest, most comforting pancakes ever.

But since that recipe’s already whole-grain, I turn to Google once again, and come up with Easy Basic Pancakes, from marthastewart.com. Since King Arthur Flour’s about to start sponsoring Martha’s TV show, I figure I’d best give her recipe a try.

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Three bowls of batter: white flour; 50/50; and 100% white whole wheat. By now, I’m sure you can tell which is which.

Of everything I test, these pancakes show the most difference during the batter stage: the 100% white wheat batter is noticeably thinner than either the AP or 50/50 batter.

Well, I think to myself, I’ll just make some pancakes right away; then wait 30 minutes to see if the batter thickens, like pancake batter (and 100% whole wheat batters) often do.

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The essential gear: a whisk to gently combine the ingredients; a tablespoon cookie scoop, for spooning the batter; and a hot oiled (or buttered) griddle.

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Here we go, one scoop of each type. The 100% whole wheat batter spreads more, due to its thinner consistency.

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But in the end, all of the pancakes are just… simply… wonderful. (Did I mention I’m biased towards pancakes?)

As you can see, waiting 30 minutes for the batter to thicken doesn’t make any difference; it doesn’t thicken appreciably, and the cakes all spread the same.

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That’s white flour on top; 50/50 in the center, and 100% whole wheat on the bottom.

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These are the 100% whole wheat pancakes. Slathered with butter…

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…then drenched in syrup, well, who’ll ever know, right?

So, class, what have we learned today?

Substituting whole wheat flour 100% for the all-purpose flour in muffin, scone, biscuit, pancake, and batter bread recipes isn’t difficult.

Expect darker color and perhaps a bit of roughness in the “bite” – again, it’s not unpleasant, just present. And, if you plan enough ahead, the texture in moist products, like quick breads and muffins, gradually smooths out as time goes by. Even letting them sit as short a time as overnight helps .

If you’re feeding an audience with a sensitive or suspicious palate, someone may comment on the “different” taste.* Though frankly, since most of these treats either contain or are brushed/sprinkled with sugar, any potential “whole wheaty” taste isn’t really an issue.

*When baking with whole wheat flour, I often substitute orange juice for part of the liquid called for in the recipe. Why? While it doesn’t lend any flavor of its own, orange juice (used in small amounts) seems to temper the sometimes assertive flavor of whole wheat.

And finally, I’ve learned that my very favorite flour is a blend of 50% white whole wheat, 50% all-purpose.

Considering the government-mandated enrichment “package” of vitamins and minerals in all-purpose flour; the complementary vitamins/minerals, plus fiber, in white whole wheat flour; and white wheat’s mild flavor and light color, this 50/50 blend is absolutely the best of all worlds: flavor, texture, and nutrition.

Want to know more? Read our “From White to Wheat: a Baker’s Guide” posts on bread, rolls, cinnamon buns, and pizza; and cookies, bars, and brownies.

Interested in purchasing King Arthur flours, including white whole wheat, at a store near you? Check out our store locator.

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. Barbara

    PJ, thank you so very much for this series of posts. They have been interesting, informative, and tremendously helpful to those of us who wondered “what if…”

    Reply
  2. pfr211

    thanks for all the testing ! it is a big help . I’ve tried whole wheat pastry flour for pie – not bad, but different.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Whitney, I was trying to make the recipes accessible to as many people as possible. And since whole wheat pastry flour isn’t generally available in supermarkets, I didn’t choose to use it. In addition, I wanted people to be able to substitute whole wheat flour in their favorite recipes without making any adjustments, if possible. Since ww pastry flour is so soft, you’d have to reduce your liquids or increase the amount of flour. So – it’s great to use it, and it does make tender cookies, biscuits, etc. – but so does white whole wheat, which is simply easier to find and use. Thanks for connecting here – PJH

    2. Whitney

      Hi PJ, thanks for clarifying! I didn’t realize that reducing liquid/increasing flour is a good idea with ww pastry. And you’re definitely right about the availability. Thanks so much for these posts! I’ve really enjoyed this series.

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Yes, Whitney, the lower the protein, the less liquid it’ll absorb – thus, to keep that liquid/flour ratio in balance, you have to adjust when you’re using a recipe calling for a higher-protein flour (e.g., all-purpose, regular whole wheat). Thanks for sharing here – and for your kind words. PJH

  3. margee60

    I really liked the test of all the different recipes with the different flours. I think I’ll start using more of the 100% whole wheat white flour for more of my recipes. Thank you for showing all the samples, it helped me decide which flours I want to use for healthier baking.

    Reply
  4. Carol Savoie

    I have really enjoyed this series of informative posts, your”scientific” methods and the photos, really helpful..the chemistry of baking understood, allows the home baker to improvise! Fun
    Thanks again

    Reply
  5. Paul from Ohio

    Another in your TREMENDOUS series of time-consuming/all bases covered, fantastic posts. I have always wondered about WHY whole wheat flour is better for you – the fiber part I understand. So we have begun introduction and I’m here to tell you, this is surely gonna sell more of your Whole Wheat flour in both it’s incarnations. We had pancakes last night and will surely very soon try this Martha Stewart recipe with 50/50. Thanks for the labor intensive super intelligent blog!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Paul, always a pleasure to hear form you – and thank you so much for your kind comments! Enjoy your white wheat baking :) PJH

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sue, I tested using volume – whole wheat (4 ounces/cup) weighs just slightly less than all-purpose (4 1/4 ounces). You can absolutely do it by weight, though; that 1/4 ounce difference won’t matter. Enjoy – PJH

  6. Jane

    Yay!! And thank you for all the work you did, testing the comparisons.
    I agree with you – and most times my bread is 50% white bread flour and 50% white whole wheat flour. I have a batch rising right now. I won’t be afraid to use 100% white whole wheat in muffins now – many thanks!!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Go for it, Jane – I was actually surprised how nicely everything came out, even the 100% whole wheat versions. I guess it pays to put in the time to do the experiments, eh? Enjoy – PJH

  7. Marci

    This is a wonderful post. I appreciate it very much. My children are committed to whole grains so I am too. That said, whole grains do not in and of themselves contribute additional fiber to baked goods. What health benefits are there to whole grains if they are not contributing fiber? I’m sure you’ve written about this elsewhere, but I haven’t come across it.

    My husband’s aunt who owned a bakery in Malden, Massachusetts, seventy-five years ago told me to use KAF because it was the only flour with the “whole kernal” in it. I don’t know what she meant, but I have used KAF wonderfully ever since. She also said the KAF flour had more “gluten” in it because of that in-tact kernal. She said it wasn’t chemically bleached, which made it superior to every other flour on the market.

    I have read in some places that one cause of the gluten sensitivity may be the turn to whole grains, which tend to have more gluten in them. Some people may be more sensitive than others, perhaps as many as 20 percent.

    I’m wondering if the KAF white flour had the optimal amount of gluten, not too much, not too little, and that’s why we didn’t see health issues from it. Am I risking causing gluten issues to develop in my family if I turn to whole wheat flour now?

    These are the things that keep me up at night. :) What am I missing?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Marci, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts here. I’m not sure where you’re getting information about whole grains, but they do indeed contribute dietary fiber to baked goods. In addition, they’re packed with vitamins and minerals. The FDA, as well as food scientists worldwide, recommend we make whole grains a significant part of our daily diet.

      The “whole kernel” mentioned by your husband’s aunt is the wheat berry, from which we grind our whole-wheat flour. We’re grateful she introduced you to our flour so many years ago, and we thank you fro you loyalty ever since! Our flour isn’t chemically bleached, and we do like to think it’s a superior flour. As for the amount of gluten – that has more to do with what kind of wheat is being milled, than how it’s milled.

      As for gluten sensitivity, and its effect on health, we’re not nutritionists, and don’t feel qualified to comment on these issues. I suggest your ask your physician to refer you to a nutritionist, who I’m sure can answer all of your questions about gluten and how it works in your body.

      Thanks again for connecting with us here – PJH

    2. Marci

      Hi PJ, I’m sorry–I didn’t mean my question to be offensive. So upon having my thinking corrected, I just checked the labels on the flours, which I frankly hadn’t before, so entrenched was I in the wrong thinking that whole grain wheat could not contribute more fiber to a person’s diet than all-purpose white flour. But it surely does. AP flour: 100 calories, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber; Red WW: 110 calories, 4 grams of dietary fiber; and WWW: 110 calories, 4 grams of dietary fiber. I should have looked a long time ago. My kids have been right about this all along! Onto half AP, and half WWW. Thank you for the great post.

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Marci, your question wasn’t at all offensive! I hope I didn’t sound like it was. It was great to hear about your family’s long-time loyalty to our flour; and I’m happy I “nudged” you to read the label on the bag. Onward and upward – 50/50 is the way to go! Enjoy – PJH

  8. Jamie Starratt

    Hi.. I really enjoyed your post on WG flour… I am the food director at my schools and really try and do a lot of home (school) made muffins and cookies.. I found by accident that WG flour can be a little dry and had to cut back on some of the oatmeal so the cookies weren’t so “rock hard” ,,,, But I am wanting to try switching over to all WG flour in my home baking projects also Thanks for the samples and explanations of the different kinds of flours and wheat berries.. This was very informative!

    Reply
  9. Clay Pendleton

    I feel that much of our wheat grown in the United States has been altered – not what it was even 20 years ago. Thanks to science and hybridizing for that. That’s why I stick to ancient grain varieties – Spelt, Einkorn or Farro. I love to grind about a half a cup of Spelt berries into a coffee nut grinder with about 1/4 cup of brown sugar. I grind for a medium grind and follow a good recipe for making pancakes or waffles. I love the grain texture – they make great waffles or pankakes! High in fiber and protein. Einkorn has about 9 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Hi, Clay – Thanks for connecting here, and for sharing your opinion about wheat flour. We’ve been selling wheat flour for 224 years and, as an employee-owned company, we’re very, VERY particular about our “bread and butter” – our flour. We have complete confidence in its goodness; we know that wheat has been naturally self-hybridizing for centuries, and it’s not what it used to be – though, considering Darwin and natural selection, I’d wager it’s better than it was 1,000 years ago, or it wouldn’t still be growing. Scientists have done their own hybridizing, as well – as they have with all of our major food crops, livestock, etc. We’re confident that what we sell, given the data we survey constantly, is good. And we respect your choice to use ancient wheats, which are wonderfully tasty and, like Turkey Red wheat, have stood the test of time. Thanks again for your feedback – PJH

    2. Laurel

      What greatly concerns me about modern wheat production is that when the crop is close to being ready to harvest they spray the field with roundup in order to make harvesting easier. I wish I could get KAF organic flour at the Walmart where I live. From what I understand the organic fields can’t be sprayed with roundup. I’m concerned that the chemicals can penetrate to the wheat berry and hence end up in the finished product.

      Has KAF done any testing for chemical residues in their finished flours?

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      We hold mills to the narrowest specifications in the industry, turning away flour that doesn’t meet our standards. Rather than trying to “enhance” inferior flour with chemical additives, we believe careful milling of premium wheat yields flour that performs better. Irene@KAF

  10. susan g

    Add my thanks! One question: what are volume to weight comparisons – does a cup of any of the four flour options weigh the same as the others?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Susan, all-purpose flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces per cup, while either red or white whole wheat weighs 4 ounces. So the 50/50 blend would weigh 4 1/8 ounces. Really, though, the difference is negligible, except when you get up into large yeast bread recipes; so I wouldn’t sweat it too much. Glad you liked the post – PJH

  11. Cindy Helt

    Thanks so much for the wonderful pictures with this article. I often doubted items made with red whole wheat would rise enough, or if I would need to add baking powder. Your article was the proof in the pictures! I also appreciated the clarification of “white whole wheat”. I am a new fan.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Cindy, so glad you’ve discovered white whole wheat. I really love it – 50/50, and even all on its own. Enjoy your new BBFF! :) PJH

  12. ellarae

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been slipping the white whole wheat into my muffins 1/2 & 1/2, but I never dreamed of putting it into biscuits. This gives me the nerve to do so.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Ellarae, it’s always worth a try, right? I think the white whole wheat makes a perfectly lovely biscuit. Good luck! PJH

    2. sandi Edelson

      The chocolate chip cookie recipe that I love is your version published in an old Baking Sheet, called Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies.
      Although it’s a great recipe, it calls for all White Wheat Flour. Can I substitute 50/50, white wheat and all purpose in this recipe without making any modifications?

      Although I love these cookies, they are a bit “sandy”, and I assume that by cutting down the white wheat flour, the consistency will be smoother.

      Any thoughts?

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sandi, substitute 50/50, or 100% all-purpose flour – either should work just fine. Enjoy! PJH

  13. Susan Therio

    Super article! I always knew that 100% red wheat performed differently, but this really brought it home. We LOVE the taste of the whole wheat, but I get the “bite” comment I sometimes get from junk food eaters who are fed “real” food at our house :-)

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Keep plying them with the whole wheat, Susan – I’d love for more of us to be enjoying it, and it takes dedicated bakers like you to make that happen. Thank you! PJH

  14. Cathy

    Thanks so much for the photos and explanations. I’ve been wanting to use white whole wheat for so long and did not know how to incorporate it into my regular recipes. Now I have the confidence to try. Sorry, but I really hate the taste of reg whole wheat (red wheat that is).

    Reply
  15. Mary-Gray

    Thank you! So very informative. I purchased a bag of White Whole Wheat from KAF a year or so ago, but I have not used it too much because I was so uncertain how it would bake up and with limited time for my household baking I was afraid to “waste” my time on something that did not turn out good. I am also very glad to learn that KAF is now going to carry some “organic” flours. As you stated, the older I get, the healthier I am eating!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Good for you, Mary-Gray, being conscientious about your health. I’m thinking the whole wheat flour you purchased a year ago probably won’t be too good for baking by now; since the germ of the wheat, with its oil, is included in the flour, it can start to taste bitter after several months. Put a little bit on your tongue and taste it – if it tastes OK, it’s good to use; if you taste bitterness, best to discard and start again. Good luck – I hope your foray into whole-wheat baking is successful! PJH

  16. Kathleen

    I enjoyed reading the article about KA’s white whole wheat flour. I used it for my pierogi dough and I liked the taste of the dough. When I make my pancake batter, I use a combination of 1/2 cup white whole wheat, 1/2 cup a/p flour, 1/2 cup soy flour, 1/2 cup protein powder. Our pancakes are always tasty and light. My mom was sold on KA flour thanks to her sister back in the 60′s. My mom always used another popular brand of flour and her pierogi dough was disastrous many times. Mom was stubborn and wouldn’t change until her sister gave her a 5 lb. bag of KA and demanded she try it. She did and never used another brand of flour. When I moved here to Ohio 19 yrs. ago, I couldn’t find KA flour in the local stores. When we drove home to CT a few times a year, I would buy 25 lb. bags of KA and bring them back here with me. The local stores began selling KA about 2 yrs. later. I’ve always loved KA flour because it’s made in America and it’s made in VT my other home away from home. Thanks for taking the time to explain the differences of white whole wheat and red whole wheat flour.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thank you for sharing your story Kathleen! And for coming to see us when you can! You are always welcome here. Elisabeth@KAF

  17. Kathleen

    Thank you for posting the differences between KA whole wheat white and the red whole wheat flour. I’ve used the white whole wheat flour of my pirogi dough. I also make my breakfast pancakes with 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup a/p flour, 1/4 cup flaxseed, 1/4 cup soy flour and 1/2 cup protein powder. If I don’t have any buttermilk, I add vinegar to the milk and I add frozen blueberries to the batter. The pancakes are delicious and they are healthy. We drizzle Vermont maple syrup over the pancakes. My Aunt Mary used KA flour and inspired my mom to use it too. My mom always had problems with her pirogi dough being too sticky and falling apart in the boiling water. She began to use KA flour back in the 60′s and never stopped. When I began my cooking and baking, I used KA flour too. This is the best flour and I tell everyone who I know how great it is too.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thank you for using our flour Kathleen. The All Purpose does do well with pierogi dough and I know from experience as I have tried my hand at making them for my father n law using his mother’s recipe. It is a tradition in our family to eat Polish food on Easter and that is right around the corner from now. I am pleased your mother saw the light in the 60′s and made the switch! Elisabeth@KAF

  18. Marci

    Sorry to be here again, but I must master this: When substituting one-half WWW for one-half of the AP flour, a recipe doesn’t need further adjustments in liquid, neither more nor less? That would probably be true for everything but bread, and for bread, it would still be a play-it-by-ear, time-of-year call. I don’t mind experimenting with bread because I make it all the time. (I got the sourdough starter two years ago, and I haven’t bought a loaf of bread since!) But for everything else–pie crust, cookies, cakes, muffins, and so on–the liquid stays the same. [When I make a birthday cake, I have to have it come out right! :) ] And the leavening, whether baking soda or powder, stays the same also? And I can substitute a little orange juice for the liquid to cut the flavor of the WWW if I want to (for example, in my croissants)?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Marci, no worries at all. I haven’t tested pie crust or cake yet, so those would be experimental on your part. Leavening stays the same; yes, you can sub a bit of OJ; and water needs adjustment in some recipes – to find out which ones, read back through the other two guides, yeast baking and cookies/bars. Good luck – PJH

  19. Ben

    Hi

    I made the doughnut muffins this weekend using a 50/50 blend. I found them to be very dense. I’m wondering if this is normal using the white whole wheat flour? I’m knowing thinking next time I make them (probably next weekend) of adding the OJ as you suggest. I was also wondering if heating the milk (which relaxes gluten) would work as well. I’m more worried if I heat the milk wouldn’t that essentially make the creaming method useless?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Ben, don’t heat the milk; that won’t make any difference. And do make sure your baking powder is fresh. Did you use King Arthur all-purpose and white whole wheat flours? Did you measure using a scale? If not, it could very well be you were a bit heavy-handed with the flour; using more flour than the recipe calls for will result in dense, dry muffins. If your flour weighed 4 1/4 ounces per cup (all-purpose) and 4 ounces per cup (whole wheat); and you used King Arthur flours, I’d suggest calling our hotline, 855-371-2253; I’m betting they can talk you through what might have happened. Thanks for connecting with us here – PJH

  20. Marci

    Hi PJ, thank you again. After I wrote my note last night, I typed into the search box in the Recipes section “white whole wheat,” and up came hundreds of recipes. So I won’t have to make the conversions myself! When I attempted to switch to www a few years ago, I was really struggling to make my own conversions of my old recipes, and I was often unhappy with the results. So now I will just go right to the white whole wheat recipes on this website.

    Thank you for all the work you do to help us bake better and to help us keep healthy!

    Reply
  21. Emily

    This is a great series! I’ve been slipping whole wheat flour into pancakes and waffles for several years now. I have found that my children recognize (and therefore object to) the bran texture if I do 100% whole wheat pancakes, but I can get away with 50/50. On waffles, however, they have never clued in, even at 100% whole wheat. I haven’t tried to modify other breakfast items — I’m looking forward to trying whole wheat banana bread!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Emily, I think they’ll enjoy 100% whole wheat banana bread – I made it for our after-church coffee social today, and no one was the wiser. In fact, one of the older ladies asked if she could take the plate with the last few pieces home with her, so share with her teenaged grandson, who’s apparently an enthusiastic banana bread baker! :) PJH

  22. Miranda

    What a wonderful post, PJ! I love it when you do all the hard work for me.
    You inspired me to swap in half red whole wheat flour (for half of the all-purpose flour) in King Arthur’s Raspberry Puff Turnovers ( http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/raspberry-puff-turnovers-recipe ), when making Sunday staff meal this week. The result was even better than I expected. The subtle nutty flavor of the whole wheat flour played very nicely with the raspberries, and I don’t feel that the swap compromised the texture of the dough one bit.

    Side note: how are the daffodils this year? Seeing them in your blog post is a sure sign of spring for me.

    Reply
  23. Heather

    I’ve been using white whole wheat for a while now and I love it. I recently received the KA Whole Grain Baking Book. It is a wonderful resources. I love the Maple Granola, Spelt pancakes, and several others. I’m excited to o expand my whole wheat repertoire.

    Reply
  24. Chris Cantwell

    What a great post! Just today I tried my banana bread recipes (similar to yours) with 50/50 AP and whole wheat. Delicious. I like the somewhat darker color. I used pecans vs. walnuts and added chopped dried apricots (I was out of dried cranberries). Thanks for clarifying the weight per cup of flour. I thought I’d read that a cup what 4.5 oz weather AP, Bread, or whole wheat(either variety). Now I can be more accurate in my baking.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Chris, I love substituting whole wheat in banana bread – as you say, it’s dark already, so why not? The banana flavor seems to overwhelm any assertive whole wheat flavor. Also, glad we could clarify flour weights. None of them are absolute, since one recipe developer may measure flour one way, and another does it different way; but for our King Arthur recipes, those weights are good. PJH

  25. Colette

    I read years ago that when substituting whole wheat for white, take out 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour out of each cup. This has seemed to work for me, as before trying this my recipes turned out dry or dense. I do practically everything in this manner now. I enjoy your blog!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Colette, this makes sense, as it would be the equivalent of adding a bit more liquid. Thanks for sharing – and good luck with all of your future whole-grain baking. PJH

  26. C-Marie

    Lovely article and recipes.

    In the grocery store in the health foods section, whole wheat pastry flour is available as is also whole wheat bread flour. I use the whole wheat pastry flour from the bins for biscuits, pancakes, cookies, etc. Does King Arthur have a flour that is the same as that whole wheat pastry flour?

    I do use KA whole wheat flour (red berry) to bake bread. I also use KA all-purpose flour for many recipes, including pie crust and banana bread!!

    Thank you! C-Marie

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We DO have whole wheat pastry flour - you may also see this at your grocery store as “graham flour”. Happy Baking C-Marie! Irene@KAF

  27. Lea Cronin

    The biscuit recipe is the best ever with 50/50….but it’s the way he says to handle the dough that makes it the world’s best. I took pictures of the way they turned out handling the dough the traditional way vs Andrew’s way and WOW. His way makes them flaky layers like Pillsbury grands but so much wonderful flavor that only made from scratch can give. Thanks a million!.

    Reply

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