How to Substitute Whole Wheat Pastry Flour for White Flour in Baking

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Whole-wheat grains are better for you than highly processed ones.
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If you're looking for a white flour substitute and are considering whole wheat pastry flour in your baked goods, it can be done for most recipes. However, whole wheat pastry flours react differently than white flour due to their lower protein count. White flour has more soft wheat than whole wheat flour, which has more gluten. Start slowly with your substitutions and replace half the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour and taste the outcome. The result is a matter of chemistry, starting with how you measure out the whole wheat pastry flour and introduce air into the mix.

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Baking With Whole Wheat Flour

There are two types of whole wheat flour: white whole wheat flour and red whole wheat flour. The difference is in the taste, as the red version is more strongly flavored and, because of its dark color, is more noticeable in your baked goods. Start with white whole wheat flour and slowly introduce it to your baking repertoire of recipes.

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A gradual substitution, 25 percent for example, of one flour for another, white whole wheat for white flour, results in little flavor, color or texture difference. By contrast, a 100 percent substitution makes a marked difference. And when measuring the flours, know that white flour weighs more than whole wheat, so measure by volume, not weight. If you really want to use your kitchen scale, know that 113 grams of whole wheat flour equals 120 grams of white flour. Using a tablespoon instead of a measuring cup dipped into the bag of flour allows air to circulate within the flour and makes it lighter.

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Substituting Suggestions When Baking

When you use whole wheat flour as a substitute for white flour, a 50 percent measure-for-measure won't mean much of a difference in the outcome. However, substituting 100 percent results in a darker, grainier yield. If you're using whole wheat pastry flour in your pancake mix, let it sit for at least 30 minutes before pouring the mix onto the griddle. This gives the flour time to absorb the liquid.

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When your recipe is yeast based, it is not recommended that you use whole wheat pastry flour for yeast-based baking, as the yeast requires more protein.

Easy Transitions to Whole Wheat Flour

Cookies are perhaps the easiest baked good to test when substituting whole wheat flour for white flour. Just switch out the white flour at a 50 percent ratio or the cookies will be grainy. Don't forget to add 2 teaspoons of water to the mix and let the batter sit a few minutes before forming the cookies.

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When baking cupcakes or cakes, the more whole wheat flour you use, the more it will crumble and not hold together. Substitute only 50 percent or less of either whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour, as the graininess of the flour stands out in cakes.

A slow transition from white flour to whole wheat may garner little notice from your family and before long, the transition will be complete and your family will be eating more healthfully.

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