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 .

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inpatskitchen
inpatskitchen April 16, 2012

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.

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ellenl
ellenl April 16, 2012

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

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ChefOno
ChefOno April 16, 2012

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

ChefJune
ChefJune April 16, 2012

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.

BoulderGalinTokyo
BoulderGalinTokyo April 18, 2012

??????? Unhealthy?

boulangere
boulangere April 16, 2012

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.

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ChefJune
ChefJune April 16, 2012

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.

LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN April 16, 2012

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

ChefOno
ChefOno April 16, 2012

Like pairing a heartier wine with a richer meal, I think whole wheat has its place.
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susan g
susan g April 16, 2012

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.

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LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN April 17, 2012

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

drbabs
drbabs April 16, 2012

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).

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mainecook61
mainecook61 April 16, 2012

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
drbabs April 17, 2012

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.

boulangere
boulangere April 17, 2012

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.

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LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN April 17, 2012

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

drbabs
drbabs April 17, 2012

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

BoulderGalinTokyo
BoulderGalinTokyo April 18, 2012

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?

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boulangere
boulangere April 18, 2012

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

LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN April 18, 2012

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'!

boulangere
boulangere April 18, 2012

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!

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LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN April 18, 2012

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

boulangere
boulangere April 18, 2012

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!

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LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN April 19, 2012

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/Kamut-International/rise-of-ancient-grain/prweb4861434.htm

best,
mindy

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boulangere
boulangere April 21, 2012

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.

petitbleu
petitbleu April 22, 2012

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.

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LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN April 23, 2012

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

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