Holiday Baking: Up to Our Elbows in (What Kind of?) Flour
By Alanna Kellogg on December 11, 2007
BlogHer Original Post
Are you up to your elbows in flour for hoiday baking? Me too! And for the first time, I'm baking with white whole wheat flour and loving it. What's happening in the kitchens of my fellow food bloggers? Let's check.
Cooking with Amy ~ "In my continuing effort to eat more whole grains, I have been using King Arthur's organic white whole wheat flour. Let me just say right off the bat, this stuff is amazing! It has a milder flavor and lighter more delicate texture than traditional whole wheat flour which makes it it terrific for baking. It's milled from high protein, hard white spring flour. King Arthur Flour suggests you replace 1/3 all purpose flour with white whole wheat in your baking, but I've found in most quick breads and cookies I can replace half the all purpose flour with white whole wheat and barely notice a difference in taste or texture of the finished baked goods. I wouldn't use it for something super delicate, like a pie crust or angel food cake, but experiment for yourself." ~ Check out Amy's recipe for Healthy Banana Bread. (That's Amy's banana bread in the photograph, too!)
Pinch My Salt ~ "I absolutely love using King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour. The name of the flour is slightly misleading. It’s not a whole wheat flour that has been bleached, just a new strain of wheat that makes a flour lighter in color and texture than traditional red wheat. It has all the nutritional benefits of traditional whole wheat flour and can be used exactly the same way." ~ from her post for Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberry & Walnuts
A Mighty Appetite (Washington Post) ~ "... it was my first time working with white whole-wheat flour, and for that I owe Swanson a big high-five. Hardly a new concept, white whole-wheat flour is processed from white wheat rather than red wheat, the plant with which most of us associate whole-wheat flour. Turns out that the white wheat offers all the wholesome goodness and fiber of the red wheat but without some of its reputed heaviness and bitterness. It's light, it's kind of sweet and it's "wheat" qualities are undetectable in these muffins. I am excited to start using it in place of unbleached all-purpose flour, which I've used for years." ~ from the column with a recipe for Expresso Banana Muffins from Supernatural Cooking, the great cookbook from Heidi Swanson.
101 Cookbooks "I thought it would be nice to have a whole wheat pizza dough that wasn't bready, chewy, soft, and unstructured. The good news is that I got very close. ... So what happened? These changes yielded a heavier dough - delicious and rustic-looking, but definitely more wheaty in character than a refined white flour. The dough was a soft buff color - if you can imagine what a dough made from half APF and half whole wheat might create, you can imagine the realm these pizzas fell into." ~ Get the recipe for Heidi's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.
A Fridge Full of Food ~ "... made great pancakes for the whole family. No one knew they were from whole wheat because they weren't dark and super grainy. I have to like whole wheat but my husband the nieces and nephew, not so much. I'm not an expert on this but my understanding is that most of the wheat we produce is red wheat but they're starting to produce more and more white wheat which, when milled produces a lighter colored whole grain flour. It's what's being used in bread these days when you see packages marked "whole wheat" that look like a cross between white bread and darker whole wheat bread. The pancakes were the same way. They weren't as tongue-dissolving as regular white flour pancakes, they had more heft, but they didn't cast fear into the eyes of my family either so I secretly reveled in suckering them into eating whole wheat." ~ Light & Fluffy Pancakes
The Omnivore ~ "Maybe they're closer to cupcakes, but whole wheat. I am not a raw-batter eating girl; cookie dough = barf. But I totally licked the mixing bowl this time. ... I use King Arthur [white whole wheat flour]. Note that this is about twice as expensive at Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe's...just like everything else." ~ See the recipe for Best Muffins Ever.
Lily Loss Lbs ~ "I’ve been inspired to be in the kitchen more lately. It’s good, because I’m introducing more variety in our meals. It’s bad, because I seem to favor baking over meal preparation. Baking is more fun and people are more appreciative of it. Also I recently discovered King Arthur White Whole Flour. It’s supposed to act and taste like white flour but with the goodness of whole grain, so I’ve been itching to use it and give the results to others. So when they say 'Yum!', I say, 'Ha, ha! It’s whole wheat!' So far I’ve made gingerbread men, almond bundt cake, cornbread, and piecrust with it. Everyone enjoyed them and didn’t notice a thing." ~ From Lily's post Bake-o-Rama!.
Oneeyed Bones ~ "I only use King Arthur flour! And I recently discovered their White Whole Wheat flour, which I think is RAD!!" ~ From Felicity's post titled I made pizza! It was delicious!.
Fatfree Vegan Kitchen "The verdict? Best fat-free cake ever! While it's not as light as a normal cake, the denseness contributes to the dark chocolate feel. It sparkles throughout with the taste of orange, and because it's not a super-sweet cake, the icings provide just the right accent without being cloying. I served it to my daughter and her friend without mentioning the lack of fat (or the inclusion of [white] whole wheat flour) and they both loved it. I wouldn't hesitate to serve this cake to guests." ~ Check out Susan's recipe for Chocolate Orange Cake.
NOT SO GOOD
Zöe Bakes "I tried it as a substitute in our master [bread] recipe and thought that it was quite good, but the dough was a tad drier than our normal recipe and I didn’t care for the crust. I love the flavor of the white whole wheat and I like that it has more nutritional value, but I want that really crisp, crackling crust that we get with the unbleached all-purpose flour." ~ From the post on Zöe Bakes
WHAT's YOUR EXPERIENCE?
All these recipes are for baked goods with a relatively 'heavy' crumb ('crumb' refers to texture, for example, a cupcake usually has a 'fine' crumb and a muffin usually has a 'heavy' crumb) not a delicate cookie such as shortbread or sablés, where caution is prudent.
Are you experimenting with white whole wheat flour? Or has it become your standard? Share what works, what doesn't, so other readers can benefit from your experience. If you're a blogger with a post about white whole wheat flour, you're welcome to leave a link in the comments, below.
For several months now, BlogHer food editor Alanna Kellogg has been baking with white whole wheat flour with perfect results, every time. This week she's baking Christmas cookies with it too.
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