What are your favorite ways to use whole wheat flour? And how do you usually substitute it for other types of flour (i.e. all purpose)?

What ratios do you use? In what kinds of recipes shouldn't you use whole wheat flour?

Emi Boscamp


mstv September 24, 2014
I prefer to use whole wheat pastry flour in most making. Excellent subbed in for AP flour for muffins, quickbreads, etc.
Horto September 24, 2014
do you measure flour before or after buzzing in the food processor? if not measuring by weight.
Shuna L. September 24, 2014
I really love the taste of "whole wheat" in baked goods where the flavor of "nuttiness" or soulful-ness or complexity is warranted. There's a bakery in Brooklyn called Ovenly and they use a lot of whole wheat flour in their banana bread, which I think is brilliant.

You can not turn whole wheat bread flour into pastry flour by putting it in a food processor or a blender. While WW pastry flour *is* a finer grind, it's not usually the same kind of wheat. I won't get all nerdy about flour here, but it's best to use what you have on hand to experiment with.

Baked goods that really highlight WW flour's best characteristics:
Irish Soda Bread (basically an homage to wheat!), oatcakes/crackers/lavosh/flatbread, chocolate chip cookies, pancakes, waffles, yeasted breads of all kinds, and more.

When I substitute one flour for another, I generally start with 10 - 15% substitution, just to see what happens. WW flour tends to be higher in protein which means it's easier to overmix, and thus toughen, what you're baking.

Lastly, not all whole wheat flour is created equally. A lot of WW flours are not really *whole* wheat, but the ones that are (if you have a local mill near you or are buying direct from a farmer, etc.) and truly whole - meaning a lot of the bran surrounding the wheat berry, is ground together.

REAL *whole* wheat flour will go rancid if your house or pantry runs warm. Decant bags into glass jars and keep away from all sources of light and heat. Because the bran has a lot of natural oils, baked goods can taste richer, fatter, if you will, but because of the brand, and the higher protein of the flour, it's also thirstier. Meaning - the more WW flour you mix into your dough, the more "wet stuff" you'll need to feed that camel.

Take a tried and true recipe and substitute some of your AP flour with WW - really look at that dough as you go along. If it's one you know intimately, you'll know if you need to add an extra splash of milk or another egg or a few more tablespoons of sugar and another dash of salt to get your desired consistency. Don't be afraid to taste and feel and look and listen and taste! Baking is an experiment and an adventure if you open your mind and your pantry to new characters.
Emi B. September 24, 2014
Thank you for such a thorough answer, Shuna! If you could provide us with more of your expertise on the threads I started on white whole wheat flour (https://food52.com/hotline...) and whole wheat pastry flour (https://food52.com/hotline...), we would be so appreciative! Thanks again. This is so helpful.
ChefJune September 23, 2014
You CAN use it in any recipe calling for "flour." You MAY NOT get the lightness you want if you do. One way you can "lighten" it up is to buzz it in the food processor. That will make it finer grain and more like "pastry flour" for cakes and cookies. I do that when I can't find whole wheat pastry flour. Sometimes I buzz up the pastry flour, also.

I wouldn't use whole wheat flour for Angel Food cake, but otherwise, you can sub it for anything you want, in equal measure. Of course, I like it best for breads and rolls.
Meaghan F. September 23, 2014
I typically substitute it for 1/3 of the regular flour in pretty much any recipe.
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