What Kind of Wheat Flour is Best?By
I get lots and lots of questions about which wheat flour I use and about which I feel is best for baking. I decided to take a few pictures to try and show you the differences and to explain my favorites.
As you can imagine, the grain and flour picture taking thing was fun. We all know that my fanciest and finest accessory is flour in my hair and on my jeans. This gave me opportunity to look my best at a soccer game Saturday afternoon. Yes, somehow I managed to get freshly ground flour at the bottom of my left pant leg by my shoe. It takes talent, people.
I’ve talked bunches about how I love grinding my flour in my Nutrimill. You can read through all of the posts in my Grains and Grain Mills section to learn more about whether or not a grain mill saves money, which grain mills I prefer and how to grind flour in a grain mill.
There really is no comparison between store bought whole wheat flour and freshly ground whole wheat flour. I have found that all of my baked goods taste best when made with freshly ground hard white wheat. I also discovered, after I saved up and purchased a grain mill six years ago, that I made my money back on it within six months. It’s very cost effective to grind your own wheat, not to mention the fresher the flour, the more nutrients it contains.
If you still aren’t ready or able to buy a grain mill, I suggest that you try to find whole wheat flour at the store that is made from white wheat. I’m just starting to see this flour pop in up local stores, so this is encouraging. (Before, I only saw them if I went out of town to a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.) I’ve used and recommend King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour or better yet, try to find an organic variety like this one.
Okay, now a few pictures to show you some differences between red and white wheat, and the flour they each produce.
First, a lovely picture of wheat kernels (or berries). On the left you will see Hard Red Wheat – on the right you will see Hard White Wheat:
See, they are both whole wheat kernels, they are just a different variety. This should answer all those questions about whether white wheat is as healthy as red wheat. The answer is yes. They are both good for you. They are just different kinds of wheat. Red wheat produces a darker, heavier, stronger flavored flour. Some like it – I don’t prefer it. White wheat produces a much milder, easier to work with flour. In many recipes, when I use Hard White Wheat, it’s hard to tell that the baked good is even made with whole wheat flour. I love hard white wheat.
Next, I ground both some red wheat and some white wheat. It may be difficult to tell the difference in the two pictures that follow, but if you look real closely, I think you’ll see a difference.
First you will see a picture of my beloved hard white wheat flour. Notice that it is white in color with a few specks of light brown throughout. It almost looks like white flour, but nope – all of those wonderful nutrients are all still there in the flour.
Second, we have the Hard Red Wheat Flour. Do you see that the brown in this flour is darker and a little more reddish brown in color? This will produce a darker, whole wheat baked product. It’s still tasty and obviously still very good for you – just a little heavier tasting. I had happened upon a great deal on some red wheat, which is why I have any at all! I occasionally mix my red and white together to make it easier for our family to eat the red wheat.
One more thing: You can also purchase Soft White Wheat. Once ground, this becomes “whole wheat pastry flour” which can be used in any baked good that does not require the use of yeast. You must use a hard grain for yeast breads. Pastry flour is great for muffins, cookies, quick breaks and cakes. However, since my hard white wheat still works fine for these products, I usually just use it for all of my wheat baking. It’s easier that way!
Your turn to share: What’s your favorite kind of wheat flour? Have you taken the plunge to grind your own grain yet? Ever found yourself at a soccer game with flour on your pant leg?