Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baking With Whole Wheat Flour -Part I

Part I - All Whole Wheat Flour is Not Created Equal

Here is an interesting article from describing the differences between different types of whole wheat flour. If you are trying to switch to whole wheat flour or just add more whole wheat to your recipes it is important that you understand the differences between hard wheat and soft wheat.

Whole-Wheat Flour

Whole-wheat flour is produced from grinding the full wheat berry (kernel). All parts of the wheat berry are used in the flour including the bran, germ, and the endosperm, which when milled, creates the speckled brown color that is characteristic of the flour. Three granulations (particle size) of whole-wheat are produced: fine, medium, and coarse. The particle size influences the rate liquid is absorbed into the flour. Finer grained flour absorbs liquid at a faster rate than medium or coarse grains, thus affecting the preparation of the dough.

Fine grain whole-wheat flour is used for all types of baked goods, such as breads, rolls, and pastries. Medium grained can be used for the same types of foods, but will provide a coarser crumb. Coarse whole-wheat flour has a much larger bran particle and consequently is most often used to provide breads with natural, nutty flavors and rough textures.

Whole-wheat flour used for bread making is usually milled from red wheat. White whole-wheat flour is milled from hard white winter wheat and has a milder flavor, lighter color, and a texture that is not as course. Whole-wheat flour used alone in bread making results in a nutritious, but smaller and denser loaf due to the bran, which hinders the dough from rising fully. In order to create a bread loaf that is a bit lighter and of greater volume, it is often best to combine whole-wheat flour with all-purpose flour or bread flour. Whole-wheat flour may also be referred to as entire wheat flour or graham flour (although there are some differences).

Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour

Like refined white pastry flour, whole-wheat pastry flour is produced from soft-wheat and it has a fine-texture and a high starch content, however not all of the bran and germ portions of the wheat kernel have been removed during the milling process. Because of the presence of some of the bran and germ, pastry items made with whole-wheat pastry flour are more nutritious than pastries made with white pastry flour, but they are not quite as light and airy.

Stay Tuned- Part II- Recipes and Tips for Adapting Your Recipes


The Shindels said...

Thank you so much! This article was so informative and helpful. My mom and dad own a full-line retail bakery and even my dad didn't know this much about whole wheat! I've often consulted him in this area inquiring what I should do differently to make my baking turn out right.

He makes his wheat bread with some whole wheat flour and some white flour. In an effort to eat healthier at home, I've been using his whole wheat flour in almost everything! It took me a few attempts to work the kinks out of a whole wheat bread recipe. I did learn the value of wheat gluten in bread making, though. Muffins were easy and cookies are a work in process. Whole wheat flour did NOT work when I tried to use it for a pie crust for chicken pot pie.

I used to buy the white whole wheat flour not knowing the difference and it worked great in most things, but was very hard to adapt to bread recipes. My dad didn't know anything about this white wheat. I'll be sharing your post with him! Thanks again and I look forward to learning more!

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

Thank you!

I'm looking forward to Part 2!