Baking is a fine art – and the type of flour you use plays a big part in shaping your final bake. Today, we’ll be looking at two grain flours: oat flour and white whole wheat flour.
Oat flour is made from finely ground oats and is a subtle and gluten-free flour alternative. White whole wheat flour is a lesser-known gem that is a lighter and milder alternative to traditional whole wheat flour. Let’s explore how they can transform the taste, texture, and outcome of your bake.
Comparing oat flour vs white whole wheat flour
|White whole wheat flour
|Substitution ratio vs all-purpose flour
|100% swap with all-purpose if done by weight. If done by cup, you need 1 ⅓ cup of oat flour for every 1 cup of all-purpose
|You can replace 100% of your all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour.
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)
|3 – 6 months
|Best for baking…
|Dense baked goods like pancakes, bread, and muffins
|Quick breads, muffins, cakes, cookies
*Check the label/ingredients to determine gluten-free status
Differences between oat flour and white whole wheat flour
So what exactly are the differences between the two flours? You also might be looking for some information on white whole wheat flour, which we’ll also address in this section.
Neither flour is keto- or paleo-friendly, and white whole wheat flour isn’t gluten-free either – which is no surprise. One of oat flour’s greatest qualities is that it is gluten-free and allergen-free, making it a suitable choice for those with gluten sensitivities or common allergies like wheat. White whole wheat flour, of course, won’t be suitable for those with wheat allergies.
Both flours are an easy 100% swap with all-purpose flour. However, with oat flour, it’s only a 1:1 swap if you’re doing it by weight. For cup measurements, you’ll need 1 ⅓ cup of oat flour for every 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
Note: Always choose certified gluten-free oat flour if you are gluten intolerant since some oats are processed on machinery that also handles gluten.
Baking with oat flour vs baking with white whole wheat flour
Oat flour has a finer texture that will give your batter or dough a smoother consistency. Because it’s high in its ability to retain moisture, you’ll get that nice, soft crumb for classics like cookies, muffins, and cakes. With its subtle nutty flavor, it can add a slight depth to the taste profile of your baked goods without overshadowing the ingredients.
In contrast, white whole wheat flour will give your bake a heartier consistency, ideal for quick breads, muffins, and cakes. Even in comparison to all-purpose flour, it has a slightly denser texture. White whole wheat flour is simply a type of whole wheat flour that is naturally lighter in color and has a milder taste compared to whole wheat flour. It’s also less gritty, which is perfect if you’re looking for a less pronounced wheat flavor. But because it absorbs more liquid than some refined flours, your baked goods may need slightly longer baking times and added moisture.
Ingredients in oat flour vs white whole wheat flour
Oat flour is made solely from ground oats, while white whole wheat flour is made from a specific variety of wheat that contains the entire wheat kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Oat flour + white whole wheat flour nutritional facts
|Per ¼ cup serving
|White whole wheat flour
|Glycemic index score
The main nutritional content of oat flour and white whole wheat flour are nearly identical. Where they differ is their calories – 120 for a ¼ cup of oat flour and 110 for a ¼ cup of white whole wheat flour. Oat flour is also 1g higher in fat – 2g vs 1g. But while oat flour has a fairly low glycemic index score, white whole wheat flour likely has a moderate to high glycemic index score.
Oat flour vs white whole wheat flour storage
White whole wheat flour has a longer shelf life than oat flour, at 3 to 6 months vs 2 months for oat. Because of oat flour’s higher oil content, it’s a lot more prone to becoming rancid.
Oat flour + white whole wheat flour alternatives
If you’re seeking an alternative to white whole wheat flour, sticking to tried-and-true all-purpose flour is your best option. For all you gluten-free people out there, sorghum flour is perfect for its similarities in taste and nutritional profile and its fantastic binding properties. For a paleo- and keto-friendly option, choose almond flour.
Oat flour’s best all-around substitute is a blend of buckwheat flour and white rice flour. For keto- and paleo-friendly diets, coconut flour is a great substitute.
Oat flour vs white whole wheat flour: Which is better?
White whole wheat flour is an amazing option if I want to incorporate whole grains into my recipes without compromising on taste and texture. But although white whole wheat flour is a lot more versatile than regular whole wheat, oat flour is my go-to for creating moist and tender treats. Of course, it all depends on what you’re baking and what you prefer. If I’m baking bread, for example, I opt for white whole wheat flour!
Interested in experimenting with other flours? We’ve broken down 61 different flours for you in this article.
Oat flour can be a decent gluten-free substitute for white whole wheat flour, but keep in mind their textures are quite different. Oat flour has a finer texture that absorbs liquid like a sponge, so you might need to add liquid and up the baking time if you’re subbing with white whole wheat flour.
There’s no clear-cut winner between oat flour and white wheat flour, as they’re pretty much neck-in-neck when it comes to their macronutrients. If we go a little deeper, oat flour offers plenty of iron and magnesium, while white whole wheat flour has higher levels of B vitamins – it all depends on what you’re looking for.