Essentially, whole wheat flour refers to flour that includes the entire wheat kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Not only is it a healthier option, but it can also enhance the flavor and texture of your baked goods. Let’s dive into the details!
What is whole wheat flour?
Whole wheat flour is a type of flour made from the entire wheat kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Commercially, the wheat kernels are first cleaned, tempered, and then passed through a series of rollers to separate the bran and germ from the endosperm. The bran and germ are then ground separately and later recombined with the endosperm to create whole wheat flour.
There are two main types of whole wheat flour: red and white.
Typically, the kind of whole wheat flour you buy in the United States is made from hard red wheat, which is a darker, stronger variety of wheat. It has a higher protein content and a more robust flavor than white wheat.
White whole wheat flour, on the other hand, is made from hard white wheat, which has a milder flavor and lighter color than red whole wheat flour.
What’s the difference between whole wheat flour and regular flour?
Whole wheat flour is less refined than regular flour because it is made by grinding the entire wheat kernel, which includes the bran and germ. The bran and germ contain fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, which means that whole wheat flour is more nutritious than regular flour. However, because it contains the bran and germ, whole wheat flour also has a coarser texture and a nuttier, earthier flavor than regular flour.
Regular flour, also known as all-purpose flour, is made by milling only the endosperm of the wheat kernel. This results in a finer texture and a milder flavor compared to whole wheat flour. Regular flour is often enriched with vitamins and minerals such as iron and folic acid, which are added back in after the refining process. Here’s when to use whole wheat flour vs. all-purpose flour.
Benefits of whole wheat flour
Unlike refined flour, which has been stripped of many of its nutrients during processing, whole wheat flour contains all parts of the wheat kernel, including the bran and germ. This means it’s a great source of fiber, protein, B vitamins, and minerals including iron and magnesium.
Whole wheat flour may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. The high fiber content helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes digestive health, while the antioxidants in whole grains protect against cellular damage and inflammation.
Many people assume that whole wheat flour will make their baked goods taste heavy or dense, but that’s not necessarily the case. Whole wheat flour can add a rich, nutty flavor to your baked goods, and it can also make them more tender and moist. Plus, using whole wheat flour can add a depth of flavor that refined flour just can’t match.
Whole wheat flour nutrition facts
|Flour (¼ cup)||Calories||Carbs||Fiber||Sugar||Fat||Protein||Glycemic Index|
|Whole wheat flour||140||27 g||5 g||0 g||0.5 g||6 g||59-84|
|All-purpose flour||120||24 g||1 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||85|
How to bake and cook with whole wheat flour
Swap out the all-purpose flour in recipes for whole wheat flour to add a nutty flavor and boost the nutrition. Whole wheat bread is a classic choice because of whole wheat’s high gluten content. For a lighter texture for bread or cakes, the best mix is 50% whole wheat and 50% of all-purpose flour or pastry flour.
Basically, you can use whole wheat to make a slightly healthier version of all your favorite foods – pancakes or waffles, muffins, a batter for fried foods, a roux to thicken sauces and soups, pasta, or dumplings!
Just keep in mind that whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid than all-purpose flour, so you may need to add more liquid, such as water or milk, to the batter or dough, and let it rest for longer.
Popular whole wheat flour baked goods and dishes
Whole wheat flour is a versatile ingredient that is often used for:
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole wheat pizza crust
- Pancakes, waffles, and crepes
- Muffins and scones
- Bagels and pretzels
- Pie crust
How to make whole wheat flour at home
Making your own whole wheat flour at home is a great way to ensure that you’re getting the freshest, most nutritious flour possible.
Here’s how you can make whole wheat flour at home in a few simple steps:
- Start by selecting high-quality whole wheat berries. You can find them at health food stores, online, or at some supermarkets.
- Rinse the whole wheat berries in cool water to remove any dirt or debris. Drain well.
- Spread the whole wheat berries out on a baking sheet and let them air dry for a few hours, or until they’re completely dry.
- Once the wheat berries are dry, place them in a grain mill or high-powered blender. If you’re using a blender, work in batches to avoid overloading the machine.
- Grind the wheat berries until they turn into a fine powder. Be sure to grind them slowly and steadily, as grinding too quickly can heat up the flour and affect its quality.
- Once you’ve ground all the wheat berries, sift the flour through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any larger particles. You can also sift it a second time for an even finer flour.
How to store whole wheat flour
Keep store-bought whole wheat flour in an airtight container in a cool, dry place such as your pantry. It can last up to six months if properly stored. For longer storage, you can keep it in the fridge or freezer, just make sure it’s tightly sealed.
The same thing goes for homemade whole wheat flour. It should last for several months, but it’s best to use it as soon as possible for optimal freshness.
What are the best substitutes for whole wheat flour?
Instead of using regular red whole wheat flour, you can use white whole wheat flour, which is the lighter and milder version.
All-purpose flour or ancient grain flours like spelt or einkorn are also great substitutes, depending on what you are looking for. Of course, all-purpose flour is more plain and spelt and einkorn flour are healthier. And for a gluten-free substitute, I recommend sorghum flour.
No, whole wheat flour and regular flour are not the same. Whole wheat flour is made from the whole grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm, while regular flour is made only from the endosperm.
Whole wheat flour is a type of flour that is made from grinding the entire wheat grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. This makes it higher in fiber and nutrients compared to regular flour.
Yes, it is generally okay to substitute all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour 1:1 in most recipes, but the resulting texture and flavor may differ, and you may need to adjust the liquid amount as whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid.