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Are 52 Bakers Starting to Incorporate Whole Wheat Flour into Their Recipes?

I didn't start mixing in whole wheat and spelt (milder wheat flavor) flour until the last few years of my 45 years of baking. I was spurred by the fact that I have grown to not be satisfied with the rather 'white bread' one- dimensionality of flavor and texture of baked goods made with all white flour.I'm hoping more 52 bakers will start incorporating whole wheat flour/spelt flour (milder) in their recipes. Have you considered that? I'm finding that the texture , flavor (richer, somewhat deeper, like brown sugar over white sugar)and healthiness benefits are really good .

asked by LE BEC FIN over 2 years ago
28 answers 1405 views
Dscn3274
added over 2 years ago

I think a number of members incorporate whole wheat/ whole grain flours into their breads (thirschfeld, boulangere, AntoniaJames come to mind). I'm not much of a bread baker, but find myself often reaching for whole grain breads at the bakery. And I certainly agree with you about the texture and flavor dimensions that the whole grains add.

Default-small
added over 2 years ago

I like and use whole wheat. However, it's not healthy, it's just a bit less unhealthy. None of it is healthy.

Waffle3
added over 2 years ago


I'm curious, why do you believe bread to be unhealthful?

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

I think it depends upon the whole wheat flour you choose to use. "Regular" flour sold in the supermarket, or even from "elite" sites like King Arthur, if they're not Organic, likely have been Monsanto-ized with Roundup. And yes, those are not healthy.

OTOH, Organic flour should not be a problem for those with no wheat sensitivity. As with anything, moderation is a good route to follow.

Smokin_tokyo
added over 2 years ago

??????? Unhealthy?

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

I regularly use whole grains of many varieties in yeasted breads, quick breads, and some muffins. I don't add it to cakes, scones, or cookies. I don't eat a great amount of the latter group, but when I do, it isn't for the benefits associated with whole grains, but rather for the fun of eating a cake, scone, or cookie.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

I'm with you, boulangere. Years ago I tried subbing whole wheat pastry flour in cakes and cookies, and for the most part, they just didn't taste as good.

Photo_squirrel
added over 2 years ago

boulangere,(if you saw me you would instantly know that ) I also eat baked goods for the pleasure, not 'because one version is healthier than another'. I really understand that take on things. But on the other hand, if i had a magic wand (that worked) I would wave it over the world of white flour baking and say "let these baked goods incorporate some whole grain elements"- equally motivated by my preference for better taste and texture, but also for their healthier qualities.

I've been thinking of a similar food example. Within my adult life, I have seen the U.S. go from an all-butter (margarine, veg oil etc) culture to a culture that now consumes a good amount of olive oil. Just guessing, this transformation has taken place in the last 30 yrs. (I myself used to 'hate olive oil' but now i use it and consume it and enjoy it.) I haven't written or read a treatise on it, but observation suggests to me that this major transformation happened through the channels of professional chefs, media, marketing, and restaurants. Well, we all know that , regardless of 'all things in moderation', olive oil is 'healthier' than butter.

This transformation is what i would love to see in U.S. baked goods. It could happen via the same channels that the olive oil infusion- happened. But prob not w/o a concerted effort . I am hoping that 52 bakers will increasingly become part of that effort. It takes an adventurous spirit and open mind to change one's palate and cooking habits, and the 52 community seems full of those attributes!
best,
mindy

Waffle3
added over 2 years ago


Like pairing a heartier wine with a richer meal, I think whole wheat has its place.

Scan0004
added over 2 years ago

LBF, you can use the search box to locate specific ingredients, such as spelt, teff, quinoa.... Food52 cooks are a very diverse lot, and all sorts of guidelines are held by individual choice. There have been contest for gluten-free baking and lots of cornmeal recipes.

I can't speak for ellenl, but there are many people who believe that ground flours are not 'healthy.' I like to think that a high quality diet with plenty of variety and a commitment to moderation will lead us to good choices.

Photo_squirrel
added over 2 years ago

your search suggestion is an excellent one, susan. will do!thx.

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drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

I like King Arthur's white whole wheat flour, and use it in some baked goods in place of all purpose flour. Usually in places where the stronger taste/coarser texture won't make much of a difference, like multigrain breads and pancakes. I've used it in oatmeal cookies. But is it "healthy?" Who knows? I say, everything in moderation. Life's too short not to eat the cookie (even if it is made with white flour).

Imag0055
added over 2 years ago

I recommend Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain for whole grain recipes that are well thought-out, interesting, and delicious. Two that come to mind are the chocolate chip cookies (with whole wheat flour) and the chocolate cookies (spelt flour). There is also a great multigrain flour mix that I slip into all kinds of things (even the breading for cutlets). Typically, I might replace a quarter of the white flour in a recipe with the mix. The person in my household who really dislikes "grain-y" breads and baked goods has no clue, either, that there is whole grain sleight of hand going on. He just thinks the cookies, et al. taste good. The Boyce cookbook got a lot of press last year, but, as with so many cookbooks, it has kind of slipped from view. It's worth owning.

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drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

Great recommendation! I bought this cookbook last year when it won the Food52 piglet contest, and have used it frequently. It introduces lots of whole grains into baked goods in a really friendly and delicious way.

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

I'm completely with you, LBF, in being dismayed by the prevalence of bleached white flour everywhere. I add whole grains and a variety of seeds not only for nutritional benefits, but also because they make breads much more interesting and flavorful. I added sesame seeds and chia seeds to Asian pancakes recently, and I'm pretty addicted to the result. I agree also that it will be interesting to see how the idea plays out over time on Food52. Thank you for a thought-provoking question.

Photo_squirrel
added over 2 years ago

my pleasure, boulangere. i know for a looooong time i thought, " whole wheat flour? yuck!" but since i've been trying to incorporate it 50/50, or sometimes less, i've come to see its potential. I certainly have alot more to learn, but i just loved seeing all the different flours and grains used in this current pancakes contest!Every time I saw spelt or whole wheat or wheat germ or rice flour or dal flours or nigella or chia seeds or........, I raised a mental High 5 to the contributing chef ! Ears must have been ringing all over the place!
best,
mindy

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drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

Your creative and delicious use of grains and seeds and your spot on instructions are what make your recipes so great, boulangere.

Smokin_tokyo
added over 2 years ago

I've been using whole wheat and other whole grains for about 30 years now after a heath scare. Used to be whole wheat had a very coarse texture but you can fine more finely ground, and organic now. I made whole-grain sushi, but I called it brown rice. Maybe I should name it better?

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

Thank you, drb. You raised a good point, BGT - the improved quality of whole grains as well as much greater variety available.

Photo_squirrel
added over 2 years ago

yes, gal, i think whole grain has a very user friendly ring to it. Whole Foods' success has prob contributed alot towards that. good thinkin'!

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

LBF, about a year ago Food52 sponsored a Bulk Bins contest, and provided a list of grains and seeds they wanted cooks to experiment with. The results were fascinating and varied widely. If you enter Bulk Bins in the Search field, you'll be able to take a look at the recipes. They should make your heart sing!

Photo_squirrel
added over 2 years ago

B, thx so much for telling me that; i never would have known!(i have written the editors to say how helpful alphabetical lists would be- for contests, cps et al; but they have alot on their plates, i know). can't wait to get busy w/ studying the bulk bins entries. thx for being so thoughtful,
mindy

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

Mindy, the variety of recipes posted was wonderful, and I really hope Food52 will sponsor a similar project again. You'll have a great time looking through the wealth of wonderful ideas posted by similarly wonderful cooks. Remember when whole wheat was the whole grain flour of choice? And if we were lucky, we could find rye flour? Times have truly changed. Power to the grain!

Photo_squirrel
added over 2 years ago

b, i have a strong feeling that you alrdy know this, but when i first read about kamut a few yrs ago, i read that its production in the U.S. is due to a Montana farmer. I know you're in Montana so that must be a particular source of pride for you. (Maybe you have or might in the future- approach the Quinns and see if you could do some recipe development for them?) For those who are interested in the story:

http://www.prweb.com/releases...

best,
mindy

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

Yes indeed, kamut is well known here. I think I remember reading somewhere that Montana is the #1 producer worldwide. I am very fond of it and use it in many ways, not just in bread. Kamut pilafs are wonderful. Thank you so much for the link! I'll definitely get in touch with them.

Me_in_munich_with_fish
added over 2 years ago

I do a lot of my baking with spelt flour. I love the nuttier flavor and the fact that it has less gluten. Pie crusts are really lovely with spelt flour. I agree--now that I've started baking with "alternative" flours, I find white flour much less appealing and interesting. Teff flour was a revelation to me. Anyway, I think people are starting to see the real value of "brown" foods. Much more nuanced and hearty.

Photo_squirrel
added over 2 years ago

Wow, i'm so glad to learn that about spelt and pie crust; i'll be doing that soon. What do you like to do w/ teff flour(I'd never heard of it)? thx much, petit; i have so much to learn, but i'm psyched!
best,
mindy