Can I get some advice/tips on converting from white flour to whole wheat flour? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-25-2005, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I recently started using whole wheat flour for some recipes, but I'm ignorant on a few things. Can those who regularly use whole wheat flour help?

1. Where do you get it? I've been getting mine at the grocery store, but it's kinda expensive. Any good cheap sources for whole wheat flour?

2. How do I need to change recipes that use leavening? For some reason I'm under the impression that whole wheat raises differently and such compared to white flour. If I'm making muffins, can I just sub 1/2 the white flour for whole wheat flour without creating any issues?

3. Does it significantly change the taste of recipes? If so, which ones should I watch for? I want to incorporate it as painlessly as possible for my family.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!
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Old 09-25-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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You could start with whole wheat pastry flour. I found this works exactly the same as white flour. I will use a mix of whole wheat pastry and unbleached organic white for for things like cookies etc if i am feeding 'strangers' who are not used to heavier baked goods.
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Old 09-25-2005, 04:47 PM
 
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I started the switch about 3 months or so ago. We did 1/2 and 1/2 for awhile and I just recently went to all whole wheat.

1. Where do you get it? I've been getting mine at the grocery store, but it's kinda expensive. Any good cheap sources for whole wheat flour?

Afraid I can't help you here. I get it at the store. We are kind of rural and there are no health food stores where you can buy it in bulk. You can look into a local co-op or see if there is a Wild Oats/Whole Foods, etc, nearby that sell it in the large sacks. You can also order it online in bulk but I don't know if it's really cost effective with shipping.

2. How do I need to change recipes that use leavening? For some reason I'm under the impression that whole wheat raises differently and such compared to white flour. If I'm making muffins, can I just sub 1/2 the white flour for whole wheat flour without creating any issues?

I don't change leavening recipes. I honestly never heard that you needed to. I don't make my own bread, yet, but I do make my own pizza crust and muffins. I've made both with the 1/2 mixture and full whole wheat with no problems.


3. Does it significantly change the taste of recipes? If so, which ones should I watch for? I want to incorporate it as painlessly as possible for my family.

The ones that I noticed the biggest difference were pancakes and cookies. They are chewier and, obviously, have a more wheaty taste. I think doing the 1/2 and 1/2 for awhile helped. It's like going from whole milk to skim, if you ease on down to 2% first it's more seamless. I add a little cinnamon and nutmeg to my pancakes, as well, to sweeten up the taste a little. It's just a matter of getting used to it.
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Old 09-25-2005, 05:32 PM
 
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I second the suggestion for ww pastry flour. It acts just like white flour.

For bread made with ww flour, you can buy gluten that will help with the leavening. I believe (don't quote me on this) that the ratio is a Tbsp to each cup of flour. But you can check out more about it at www.baking911.com -- great site with all kinds of baking tips and recipes and questions answered.

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Old 09-25-2005, 08:15 PM
 
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I buy wheat, and grind my own flour in a countertop mill.
Cheap and healthy. :-)
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Old 09-25-2005, 10:03 PM
 
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I grind my own too..and it tastes much better and does not seem to make baked goods as heavy and dense
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Old 09-25-2005, 10:12 PM
 
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I grind my own. I grind hard white winter berries for bread flour and soft white wheat berries to make pastry flour. Maybe you have a friend or neighbor with a grain mill or Vita-Mix. If not, I would try to find it in bulk at a HFS. My concern about the ww flour sitting in the grocery stores is that it stays on the shelf for a long time, losing nutrients.

I adapted a whole wheat recipe for bread, eliminating the white flour it called for. I don't use any extra yeast. As for muffins, I usually go 1/2 and 1/2, without any changes to the recipe. Same with pancakes.

For my muffin recipe, I think the muffins are better with some whole wheat. They are tastier. But when I went 100% they lost their texture and seemed to crumble apart. The pancakes also seem a bit more tender. My guess is that this is a gluten issue, or perhaps they are just heavier.

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Old 09-26-2005, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VikingKvinna
For bread made with ww flour, you can buy gluten that will help with the leavening. I believe (don't quote me on this) that the ratio is a Tbsp to each cup of flour.
I add gluten when I'm substituting ww for white in a bread recipe. I only add between 1 and 2 tsp for a whole loaf. But usually the best results (for me) come from starting with a recipe that already calls for whole wheat flour.

Regarding baked goods other than bread, I think cookies taste pretty much the same with ww flour, and in some recipes I prefer the texture with ww. Turns out that in cookies with nuts, chips or fruit it isn't really the *flour* you're tasting. (grin) In muffins and sweetbreads I like to use barley flour instead of wheat or white flour.

Homeschooling mama to DD 3/28/06 reading.gif,  DS 2/27/10 coolshine.gif, Belle the Orange Dog 03/11, and DD babygirl.gif 10/03/2013.
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Old 09-26-2005, 09:00 PM
 
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Whole wheat flour and pastry flour are inexpensive to get at health foods stores. You can get it in the bulk bins (cheapest) or packaged. If you use a lot of flour, you can buy 25 pound bags. My health food store gives me a 10% discount when I do that.

I usually use 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 whole wheat pastry for most baked goods. If I want something really light, I might use all ww pastry. For baking bread or anything with yeast, you need to use regular whole wheat. Pastry flour doesn't have enough gluten to rise with yeast.

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Old 09-27-2005, 05:23 PM
 
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As far as whole wheat bread and buns, I can't recommend the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book highly enough. The recipes are using just ww flour and are light and fluffy and tasty, and not dense like typical ww breads at all. The trick is in the consistency of the dough before you knead it (it shouldn't feel as "dense" as white bread), and she walks you through how to figure out what it should "feel" like. Once you've gotten the hang of that, you should be able to make bread with whatever additions you like without even using a recipe.
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