The Secret to Fluffy and Delicious Whole Wheat Baked Goods

Dear Gluten Free Friends: This post is very whole wheaty and not at all helpful to your gluten free life. I’ve got your back though because as you know, many of the recipes here on my site are naturally gluten free. After all, while I do love freshly ground whole wheat flour, I also love variety and breadless recipes. So just for you: 100+ Gluten Free Recipes. Click on over and have at it. Love ya much!

wheat_fields_2

See the difference in grains?
We took this picture while traveling through Kansas a few years ago. 

As a newly-wed I remember visiting someone’s house where they served homemade rolls made exclusively with whole wheat flour. I tried to like the rolls, but I was used to white rolls made with all-purpose flour, and these rolls just weren’t the same. I decided that I simply didn’t like whole wheat flour, and really, I didn’t like anything considered to be a “health food.” (I thought eating healthy meant I had to eat rice cakes and bean sprouts for every meal.) I continued on my merry way where I ate very few fruits and veggies, drank about a liter of Pepsi every day, and made oodles of delicious cookies and cakes with white flour.

Many years (and way too many gallons of Pepsi) later, one of my friends started selling her homemade bread at our local Farmer’s Market. She had some leftover one night, so she sent a loaf home with me. We ate it for breakfast the next day, and we loved it down to the last crumb. I complimented her up and down next time I saw her, asking what kind it was. “It’s just my regular whole wheat bread recipe.” What?! That bread was whole wheat? Like, whole wheat and white flour mixed, right?! “Nope. 100% whole grain. I grind it myself.”

That is the moment I learned about the different varieties of wheat and the deliciousness of grinding grain into flour. (I never actually knew people did that. Grind your own flour? Seriously?!) I was intrigued. I researched. I asked questions. I saved up for a Nutrimill, stocked up on hard white wheat, and the rest is history.

white_wheat_flour

Red Wheat, White Wheat, Hard Wheat, Soft Wheat

Oh how many wheat you meet. Look at me. I’m Dr. Seuss. 

There is a big difference between red wheat and white wheat. Both produce whole wheat flour -but they bake up differently, creating different textures and flavors. I’ve covered this in detail in several other posts, which I’ll point you to now:

hard wheat soft wheat

It’s hard to see the difference in the picture.
Hard is more pointy. Soft is more round. There. Does that help?

The Secret to Fluffy and Delicious Whole Grain Baked Goods

Let’s talk about how you can make the most amazing whole grain cookies, cakes, muffins, pancakes, waffles, and pastries.

When I first started grinding flour to make all of our baked goods healthier and tastier, I used hard white wheat for everything. It did this because:

  • Hard white wheat flour works for any recipe, whether it is a yeast bread or a non-yeast product. (Soft wheat only works for non-yeast products.)
  • Grinding just one kind of flour made life easier.

Finally, after the recommendation from many of you, I gave soft white wheat a try. This is the variety of wheat that, when ground, produces whole grain pastry flour. I used it first for pancakes, then I used it for muffins, then I decided that I had waited way too long to try this. Pastry flour makes a huge difference in the density of baked goods!

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (ground from soft white grain) is almost like using white all-purpose flour. It is light and fluffy and baked goods I make with it turn out really delicious.

muffins

Simple as that, freshly ground Soft White Wheat is the secret to turning out amazing baked goods.

Remember though, if you’re making a yeast bread, you still have to use Hard White (or red) Wheat. I now love both hard and soft white varieties and keep them both on hand at all times for all our baking needs.

no-knead bread 3

If you’re afraid of baking yeast bread, or simply want to make life much easier –
you have to try this easy Stir-and-Pour Bread. Because of this recipe, I will never knead bread again.
(This bread requires hard wheat, not soft, because it is a yeast bread.)

So let’s review:

  1. Use hard wheat for yeast breads.
  2. Use soft wheat for everything else.
  3. Or use hard wheat for everything – but I’m telling you, soft wheat (which produces whole wheat pastry flour) is wonderful to work with!

Some of our favorite recipes which use Whole Grain Pastry Flour:

Most don’t even realize they are eating whole grains when they eat any of these goodies! For that matter, the recipes that are low in sugar don’t seem to phase people either. Who knew eating healthier could taste so good?!

Let me hear from you!

  • Do you grind your own flour?
  • What is your flour preference?
  • Have you tried soft wheat (pastry flour) or do you stick with hard wheat for every recipe?