When I first started baking with whole grain flours, I used regular ol’ whole wheat for everything. I didn’t even know I had other options. So new to the whole foods world was I… While there’s nothing wrong with that regular ol’ whole wheat flour, and I still use it from time to time, it does make baked treats denser or stronger-tasting than you sometimes want.
Enter white whole wheat flour!
From this point on, I will refer to white whole wheat flour as “WWWF” – not to be confused with “WWF,” the World Wrestling Federation. It’s too much of a tongue (finger?) twister for me to type and you to read over and over. Don’t worry – I asked its permission and it’s all cool.
I don’t remember how I heard about WWWF’s existence, but I’m glad we finally met. WWWF is made from a white or “albino” wheat instead of the red wheat from which regular whole wheat flour is milled. This white wheat is actually quite common in the U.K., but red wheat still rules the U.S. It’s been gaining popularity in the States – have you seen all the white whole wheat breads at grocery stores? – but I blame its eons of elusiveness as an excuse to why it escaped my notice for so long.
The great thing about WWWF is that it has all the nutrition and fiber of regular whole wheat flour, but with a much milder taste. It’s still made from the entire grain – bran, germ, and endosperm – but doesn’t contain tannins and phenolic acid in its outer bran. These are the substances that give red wheat its distinct, sometimes bitter flavor. WWWF also has a whiter color (obviously) and slightly finer grind, so it can act more like traditional, light and fluffy, all-purpose flour in baking. In the end, you get sweeter-tasting, lighter-colored, softer baked goods. Hooray!
When substituting WWWF for all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour, I just go cup for cup – works great! I’ve used King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, but Bob’s Red Mill and Hodgson Mill both make some as well.
Have you ever baked with white whole wheat flour? What’s your favorite whole grain flour?