Whole Wheat Primer
If baking with King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour is new for you, try a basic white bread recipe with a ratio of 1 cup of Whole Wheat to 3 cups of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. Gradually increase the amount of Whole Wheat Flour as you and your family’s taste buds become accustomed to the denser texture and nutty flavor.
Although Whole Wheat Flour does not compact as much as All-Purpose Flour, it is still important to measure it the same way. See the top of our bag of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour for directions. Because things made with Whole Wheat Flour tend to be heavier, it’s important to incorporate as much air as possible right from the beginning.
A “sponge” in yeast baking is a dough that contains about half the total flour called for in a recipe. It is therefore much like a batter. Breads baked with Whole Wheat Flour will rise higher and not be as dense if the flour is allowed to sit in a sponge for several hours. This softens the bran particles in the flour and helps prevent them from shredding the elastic gluten strands in the dough which contain the carbon dioxide bubbles created by the yeast. Preserving these bubbles produces a lighter texture and a higher loaf.
King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour contains the vitamin and oil rich germ of the whole wheat berry. Because of the oil it is more sensitive to storage conditions than our Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. If you use your flour fairly quickly, store it where you keep your King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, somewhere cool and dry. If you use it more slowly, store in an airtight container in your freezer. Make sure you bring it to room temperature before you bake with it. Flour at freezing temperatures will discourage even the most vigorous yeast or baking powder.
It has taken most of the twentieth century for whole wheat flour (flour ground from the whole of the wheat berry) to take its rightful place in the scheme of things. For centuries it was assumed that because white flour was so difficult to produce, it was better. Fortunately our understanding of nutrition has begun to change that perception and has created an appreciation for both. As whole wheat flour becomes a greater part of our diet, our taste and demand for it grows every year.
We tend to think of whole wheat flour in terms of bread. It is true that breads made with stone ground whole wheat flour are robust, hearty, and especially nutritious. Whole wheat bread makes wonderful sandwiches and is a great accompaniment to meats, cheeses or hot, steaming soups. But King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour creates equally exciting flavors and textures in cookies, cakes, pastry, pancakes and pasta.