Tips for Baking with Whole-Grain Flours

Make those sinfully delicious desserts a little less sinful with wholesome whole grains.

  • Whole-grain flours have more complex taste and create a heartier texture than refined white flours, because they include the bran and germ.

  • Buy whole-grain flours from a store that has a high turnover rate. Be sure to check the expiration date and buy the freshest available. Opt for stone-ground flours when available, as they have the highest nutritional value.

  • Because they contain the oil-rich germ, to prevent rancidity, whole-grain flours must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer in a tightly sealed container. Use them within three months.

  • Try grinding your own fresh flour from flakes. For example, purchase spelt flakes or oatmeal and use a coffee grinder to process small batches into flour as needed. Small grains without tough bran coatings, like quinoa and buckwheat, may also be ground this way.

  • Start off by substituting half of the all-purpose flour in your favorite recipe with spelt or white whole-wheat flour. Occasionally you will need to add slightly more liquid.

  • When using all whole-grain flour in quick breads, select whole-wheat pastry, white whole wheat, spelt or kamut flours. Use 1 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of flour. To improve texture and crumb, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the dry ingredients and use buttermilk for the liquid.

  • To ensure even cooking, bake quick breads in small containers like muffin cups or mini-loaf pans. Rotate the pans halfway through.

  • When baking breads, substitute up to 30 percent whole wheat or other whole-grain flour in your favorite recipe.