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Jul 5, 2009 06:15 AM

UltraGrain Whole Wheat Flour: Do you use it?

Listening to the radio this morning, and an adv runs for 'UltraGrain" whole wheat flour from ConAgra. All the goodies expected of whole grains in your recipes, in place of plain ap flour.

I see many here using whole wheat flour in recipes--is this what you're using, and is it truly a 1 for 1 equal exchange for AP or regular cake flour in cookie/cake/muffin/other baked goods. I've been hesitant to even try WW, on the premise that if you're going to eat a goodie as an indulgence, it might as while BE good tasting.

Im not going to post their website--dont want to break any rules that might prohibit such. But google the name and you'll find it. Apparently their is one brand name out there that sells the product--surprisingly at my markets and some of the national/regional chains.

I am impressed with the idea that it could add all the nutritional benefits, but just how does it--this item specifically, and/or others, change the taste and profile of your baked goods. Are you really using it in your own world famous cookies or cake recipes versus old fashioned while flour?

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  1. "Ultra-grain" is a term I have not heard before. If it refers to King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour, or its equivalent, then yes, I use it regularly in place of all-purpose white flour, for most applications. It does not have the strong, verging-on-bitter, taste that standard whole wheat flour can have. But like it's more assertive cousin, it will turn rancid more readily than all-purpose white flour, and needs refrigeration or freezing unless used up within a few weeks.

    I find that White Whole Wheat flour is stickier, when wet, than all-purpose, so I would not use it as coating for fried food. When making pie dough, less water is needed. It yields a somewhat denser, coarser crumb in cakes so I would not want to use it for something airy like angel food cake (but I don't make that anyway). For standard muffins, cakes, and cookies - and breads, of course - there's no readily discernible difference in texture. It has more flavor than all-purpose flour but in sweet baked goods, the other components mask that. For example, exchanging 100% of the flour in oatmeal cookies, choc chip cookies, and most bar cookies is no problem. Were I trying a recipe for the first time (unless it was a close cousin to things I already make with WWW) I would most likely use AP, then WWW the next time and if I got a good result, thereafter. I go through about 4 times as much White Whole Wheat as all-purpose white flour. Even in cases where WWW is problematic - like pie dough (quite a lot messier to roll and handle)- I'll swap in WWW for a third to a half of the AP flour in the recipe. Pie dough composed thusly will be a little tricky to handle and will not be quite as flaky, but will have a nuttier taste.

    2 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      This post has answered so many questions for me on using my WW flour. I'd made pasta with it and added it to a couple of recipes where I was using a mix of flours but this gives me the confidence to use it in other applications! (Plus the incentive to use it soon)

      Thanks for the informative post!

      1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

        You are more than welcome. There's a Chow Story on the interchangeability of wheat flours in which the experts say that more water/liquid is needed when subbing whole wheat for all-purpose flour. This runs counter to what I have observed, especially in making pie crust, so use your own judgment. I'm confused about that and would like to learn how the chemistry of the hydration differences works.

    2. The usual whole wheat is made with a soft red wheat, and leaves the bran and germ in relatively large pieces. This gives gives baked goods a coarser texture, and a slight bitter taste. It works better in muffins and quick breads, and yeast bread where the different texture is expected. It is rarely used for cake. Imagine the character of gram crackers or bran muffins.

      White whole wheat, available from King Arthur and others, uses a harder white wheat, and has a more uniform texture.

      Looking at the web site, it appears that this too uses the white wheat, but adds its own millilng process that is supposed to produce at flour that is as uniform at refined white flour. It is hard to say how this compares with the KA style of WWW. Note that the flour which they claim is 1:1 substitutable is a 30/70 blend of this ultragrain and AP.

      4 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        Thanks greyg and pauli for the input. Simple enough to give it a try I suppose. Im starting to (quickly) explore branching out to product sales, and am developing glutne free and more healthy alternatives to old favorites---I think thats an underserved sweet spot--no pun intended. But I going to work every alternative available until I have the quality down. Until now its just been full throttle decadence, which people always love in at least moderation. Thanks again.

        1. re: mtomto

          I just found at Grocery Outlet at $2 bag of Eagle Mills White Whole Wheat, with Ultragrain sublabel.

          The nutrition facts are the same as on the Trader Joes White Whole Wheat bag. I haven't opened it yet to compare the texture.

          The main thing I've using WWW for is pumpkin bread, where I use half WWW, and half mixed other grains and ground nuts (oat bran, almond, corn, etc).

          1. re: paulj

            The Eagle Mills flour has the same color (maybe a bit lighter) as the TJ WWW, but has a softer, finer, feel (similar to AP).

            TJ sold King Arthur WWW for while, but has substituted their own label. I didn't notice any difference in the quality of the flour when they made the change, though others were concerned about it.

            I just made a batch of pancakes. While color was a bit darker than with AP, I couldn't tell any difference in texture using the EM flour.

            1. re: paulj

              Hi- I tried KA WWW in my grandmother's cookies (like snickerdoodles,) they were actually better than with AP flour. (!) But, then I made them with TJ's WWW, and they were gritty. So, I tried feeling the flour - I definitely think KA is ground finer than TJ's! I didn't notice it so much in breads, biscuits, and pancakes, though, but from now on, I am sticking to KA WWW.

      2. 'UltraGrain' is a product name that ConAgra came up with. It is, as far as I can tell from the label, a mixture of Whole Wheat and White flour. They say that the grain is processed in a special way, details of which are "proprietary." Seems to me it is very finely ground. They won't tell me about their process. The mixture is such that bread and cookies made with it are good, though, I must say, I'm partial to Whole Wheat. I don't like the idea of Corporate food, so I'd rather make up my own blend. The brand name is 'Eagle Mills' and I found it at Costco, very inexpensive.

        1. There is plenty of whole wheat and organic whole wheat grown by real farmers to buy into some ConAgra pitch.

          Companies like ConAgra and Archer Daniels Midland are wrecking our environment, our economy and making life impossible for family farmers. Fie on them!!!

          1. I used to use a mix of WWW and AP but recently started using whole wheat pastry flour and am so much happier with the results. It costs more but makes far better cookies and cakes than www.

            Also, I find that starting with a recipe that uses whole grains gives far better results. The brownies I've made from King Arthur's Whole Wheat cookbook are excellent--very fudgey, and far better than any brownies where I've substituted www for some ap. There are also excellent hints in it on working with whole grains.