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Let's Talk About Whole Wheat

Whole wheat has a bad reputation with many folks. I think this is due to two things: One, they haven't tried it; and two, they've had the terrible, straw-like stuff from the grocery bread aisle. Oh, and often the whole wheat flour purchased at the store is rancid - not great PR for an otherwise delicious thing.

I think WHWH is a lovely ingredient. We have a flour mill and grind a lot of wheat berries into flour, which we then keep in the freezer.

I don't remember the last time I made a 100% WHWH bread, but it does find its way into the majority of my baked goods. Just a bit (generally 25-30%) adds yumminess to pancakes, cookies, muffins, breads, biscuits.....pretty much everything. It adds a certain tastiness that trumps the all-white baked goods.

How does everyone out there feel about whole wheat flour? Where do you get it, how do you use it, how does the family like it, etc.?

EDIT: Pet peeve alert: Restaurants who offer "white" or "wheat" bread. Argh.

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  1. I'm just starting to use it, I bought a big bag of Bob's Red Mill. I don't make or eat a lot of bread though so it'll take me awhile to get through it. I made white flour pitas the other day and next time I'm going to try out using some whole wheat too. I currently buy whole grain english muffins but I'd like to make my own soon, and if I do it'll be with the whole wheat flour.

    Growing up though, my mom would make lots of things w/ whole wheat. I remember waffles that were very good, I'm waiting for her to send me the recipe.

    My SO HATES it though. He likes the cheapo wonder-bread like white bread.

    3 Replies
    1. re: juliejulez

      At least refrigerate it, preferably freeze. It goes rancid within months, or sooner, depending on ambient temperature and humidity.

      1. re: greygarious

        Yes once I actually open it I will freeze it. Thankfully I have a large pantry that is very dark, dry, and cool.

        BTW apparently my mom's whole wheat waffles came from Betty Crocker... her book was the red one that looked like a binder from the mid-late 70s.

        1. re: juliejulez

          My Mom had that one too! Didn't that book have a fold or stand in it if I recall correctly?

    2. I started making no knead bread about a year ago, and after a few tries using AP unbleached white for the entire recipe, have been making it 2/3 AP white and 1/3 WW. My husband, who generally is not that fond of whole grain bread, has specifically commented that it tastes better -- more like a sour dough -- than when I made it entirely with AP white. Go figure!

      I just buy the basic store-brand WW flour from my supermarket.

      1. I often do a mix of white whole wheat and AP. After buying the King Arthur Whole Wheat baking cookbook. I realized there's a big difference between just subbing whole wheat, even in parts, to a recipe and using a recipe that is made w/ whole wheat in mind. The KA whole wheat brownies recipe is a great recipe and you wouldn't know it has whole wheat; it's just really fudge-y (have no idea how that's spelled or if it's even a real word). And they talk about how to use whole wheat, eg. using citric acid like orange juice, helps. I haven't read it in a while and should pull it out for a refresher.

        1. I like sandwiches and make a 100% white whole wheat bread ( King Arthur) which has a very mild flavor and is relatively light in texture. Sifting the flour seems to improve it. I have also used this in pancakes and pizza dough which are quite good. With a little tweaking ( perhaps a little extra liquid) I can substitute 1:1 with all purpose.

          Although acronyms may serve some purpose on CH, when discussing, WHWH, WW, WWW etc it is a bit confusing.

          1. When baking sweets, I always use whole wheat pastry flour (whole foods brand) and no one's ever noticed. When baking bread, I often use white whole wheat flour (trader joe's or King Arthur brand). I also get organic whole wheat bread flour from the bulk bins at whole foods when making more rustic/whole grain sourdough breads, and feed my starter with organic unbleached AP flour from the bulk bins. I love the hearty/nutty/grainy flavor of whole wheat!

            1. I use it to make the base and crumble on top of my date squares. I buy Robin Hood and store mine in the fridge. We only eat whole wheat bread, in Canada we do have good quality whole wheat bread. We have a brand called Bon Matin and you have many choices in terms of the type of grain you want.

              1. Spot on...even in a baguette.

                1. I love whole wheat and usually prefer it to non-whole wheat breads and pastas. If you like whole wheat a great pasta with the most amazing nutty, earthy flavor is Bionaturae. I know that a lot of people scoff at it because I think as you described they have had poor preparations of whole wheat and if they attempt it at home are not familiar to know that it needs to be prepared differently in most instances. Also, I'm not sure that most people who think they are eating "whole wheat" really are as it requires you to read the label to actually verify that it's whole wheat.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    Agree - I love the flavor of whole wheat in baked goods and pasta We've switched to Bionaturae spaghetti, etc., and won't go back.

                  2. I like whole wheat for bread.

                    For basically everything else, e.g. pie crust, pizza dough, pasta and noodles, dumpling skins, baos, etc., I use white.

                    1. I use half whole wheat when making cookies: Toll House, peanut butter. I think it adds a nice chew.
                      Also, when I make bread I use half.
                      I have no interest in an entire whole wheat anything. I just feel like that's hippie food (when I say hippies, I mean my friends). But just because whole wheat is "healthy" or "natural" doesn't mean I want a dense brick of the stuff that I have to wash down with water. I also don't want a bright white paste that should only appeal to people under the age of 10.
                      There is a happy medium.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: blackpippi

                        Nicely put. Should be posted in the bread aisles in the stores!