White whole wheat flour is a common ingredient in healthier cooking and baking, but why is it called “white” whole wheat flour? Is it as healthy as whole wheat flour? And how do you substitute it in recipes that call for all-purpose flour? I’ve got answers plus extra tips and recipes below!
What is White Whole Wheat Flour?
We’ve been told to eat less white flour and more whole grains. But where does white whole wheat flour fit? While it can be confusing, white whole wheat flour falls into the whole wheat category.
Per the Whole Grains Council, white wheat is a type of wheat that is naturally lighter in color as well as milder in flavor. For any food nerds like myself, the reason for this is that white wheat is missing genes for bran color, which is found in red wheat. Red wheat also contains strongly-flavored phenolic compounds, which are absent in white whole wheat.
So what does this all mean for you? If you’ve ever had whole wheat bread and felt that it tasted too dense and, well, wheaty, then white whole wheat flour is for you! Because of the milder flavor, the resulting baked goods taste more similar to those made with white flour, yet more nutritious.
Is white whole wheat flour as nutritious as whole wheat? Yes, white whole wheat flour is just as healthy and contains the same benefits as eating traditional whole wheat: B-vitamins, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. However, as with all plant-based foods, the exact nutrient composition will vary based on the soil it was grown in.
In general, ¼ cup of white whole wheat flour contains 100 calories, 22 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.
How to select
Quality matters. Sure, you could buy the cheapest bag of flour, but the taste and protein-content can vary by brand, and you often get what you pay for. Then there’s also the bleached vs. unbleached decision.
While bleached flour can result in a lighter texture, health-wise I always go with unbleached flour since bleached flours are treated with chemicals. However, just because it’s unbleached doesn’t mean chemicals weren’t added along the way. Always be sure to look at the ingredient label before buying.
How to store
Remember back from this post that whole grains contain all three parts of the grain: bran, endosperm, and germ. While one of the benefits of the bran and germ is supplying healthy oils to the grain, because of these high levels of healthy fats, whole grain flour can spoil and go rancid quickly.
White whole wheat flour lasts for about 1-3 months in a cool, dry cabinet. You can extend the shelf-life to about 6 months by storing it in an airtight container in the freezer.
If your flour has a strong, sour smell, that’s a solid sign that it’s time to throw it out!
How to use white whole wheat flour in cooking/baking
As with whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour will make your baked goods darker and a bit heartier tasting.
Per King Arthur Flour, for recipes already calling for whole wheat flour, you can sub in white whole wheat flour 1:1. I also substitute it for 100% of the all-purpose flour in heartier recipes, such as banana bread or pizza dough.
For recipes calling for all-purpose flour that aren’t supposed to be hearty, like chocolate chip cookies, biscuits or lighter quick breads, use 50% white whole wheat flour and 50% all-purpose.
Finally, for much lighter recipes, such as white cake or angel food cake, start with just 25% white whole wheat flour.
As with any flour, I recommend weighing rather than using measuring cups. Not only is a scale more accurate, but it’s also faster and results in more consistent results. However, if you don’t have a scale, make sure you are spooning flour into a measuring cup and leveling it with a knife rather than using the measuring cup to scoop up the flour.
I have a super easy recipe coming your way Friday, but until then, check out these other Health Toast favorites featuring this healthier flour.
Have you baked with white whole wheat flour? If so, I’d love to hear tips and tricks that you’ve discovered in the comments below!
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