Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tried King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour

This started off as sharing a story and a photo but it has morphed into what sounds more like a product review.

My husband bought a five pound bag of King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour from the store a few weeks ago, it was a spontaneous purchase. I recall hearing about this, I swear, on Oprah a year or more ago. My memory was that this was supposed to bake like a white flour and taste more like a white flour while retaining the lower glycemic index and higher nutritional content of a whole wheat flour.

I just verified the basic nutrition and product information on the King Arthur site. They say it is intended to be used instead of whole wheat flour and is said to give a finer grain and lighter color and lighter flavor.

What I did was make the King Arthur flour bread recipe for Arthur Sand's Basic White Bread but used this White Whole Wheat flour instead of 100% Unbleached (white) flour. This recipe is in the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary cookbook (one of my favorite cookbooks) but is also available free online.

The result was a bread with fine grain. It didn't rise as much because the yeast in the recipe was for white flour bread, I think, and I recall from other recipes, when I used a white flour recipe and substituted partial whole wheat flour it never seems to rise enough or the same. (There must be a kitchen science reason behind this.) This bread with the white whole wheat flour did have a lighter color than if I had used 100% whole wheat bread but it certainly was not white in color. There was still a taste of the nuttiness of the whole wheat but just not very strong like bread made with 100% whole wheat flour.

Since my kids still lean toward preferring white breads I may use partial white (unbleached) flour and partial this flour. The thinking mother in me wants my kids to only eat the best nutrition and I'd love it if they would eat all whole wheat products, but, that is not reality in our home.

I don't care for recipes with nearly all whole wheat flour because they are too bitter for my taste.

If you want the nutritional quality of whole wheat flour but want something lighter in flavor give this King Arthur White Wheat Flour a try, or experiment with using partial white flour and partial white whole wheat flour in your home baking.


Tom said...

Hi Christine,

I work for King Arthur Flour so I wanted to first thank you for giving our white whole wheat flour a try. I'm glad you liked the results.

I thought I'd give you a "kitchen science" reason for why you've noticed a lower rise when you bake with whole wheat flours. Whole wheat flours are made from the entire grain, including the bran--the hard protective outer shell of the kernel. When this gets ground up in whole wheat milling there are multitudes of little tiny flecks of sharp, hard bran in the flour (these are the darker specks you can see in a whole wheat flour). These little sharp bran pieces act like little scissors that cut away at the gluten structure forming in your bread dough. With some of the structure chopped away there are fewer air pockets to trap carbon dioxide created by yeast fermentation. Less CO2 means less lift, hence denser, shorter loaves.

If you want a 100% whole wheat bread, best to start with a recipe designed for it. Otherwise keep the ratio of whole wheat to white flour at 50% or lower. And for that milder white bread taste, use white whole wheat!

Judith van Praag said...

Hi Christine, My husband brought home the white whole wheat as well. I've been using whole wheat flour for decades, except for fine sauces which I like to make with white flour. So this was something good to try. Only, the white whole wheat did still give a slight bitter taste to the sauce. I forgot all about this bag of flour until yesterday, when I made a real Dutch apple pie. The bitter after taste is so strong I want to toss the bag. I fear the bag may have been at the end of its shelf life when hubby brought it home, and now ugh!
What a waste. I think I'll stick to whole wheat for baking and white for sauces.

gnatspan said...

Christine, I have started using KA white whole wheat flour for some of my breads. I usually bake between 12 and 18 loaves a week of various kinds. I usually start with 1/2 white whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose flour. I certainly can't tell the difference in things like the oatmeal bread, which just about everybody likes. It may be a little sweet for you, but I have gradually been cutting back the sugar in that and nobody has complained yet.
Don't give up on using it yet.

May said...

Hello, I just happened to read your blog regarding the white whole wheat bread that you made. And it just so happened too that I made this type of bread only a couple of days ago. Mine turned out excellent, very high and smooth and the texture is good, light color and taste. If you are interested, I can give you the recipe and technique. My email address is

Blacklister said...

Are there any nutritious flours that don't have that bitter aftertaste? I tried King Arthur's Whole Wheat flour because they claim to have gotten that taste out, but my banana nut bread sure has a bitter aftertaste to it!

ChristineMM said...

Hi Backlister,
Whole Wheat brown flours have the wheat bran and germ that is what makes them bitter. That's the way it is!

Another thing that makes a bitter taste so if you use any oil in your banana bread maybe your vegetable oil or whatever oil you use, went rancid. I date my oil and store it in a cool dark cabinet but after about a year, it usually goes rancid.

I hate the taste of whole wheat flour.