FAQs on Baking with Whole Wheat

Can I substitute, ounce for ounce, whole wheat flour in any recipe that calls for all-purpose flour?

This is something I had trouble with in the beginning. You can actually substitute just the measurements of the flower. However, adjustments will undoubtedly need to be made elsewhere – mostly in terms of moisture and in cases of scones or biscuits, leavening agents (baking powder/baking soda). Whole wheat flour lacks much of the gluten that all-purpose flour contains. When baking, extra gluten is quite useful because it acts that the glue that holds your ingredients together and gives you a light, airy finished product. Thus, you compensate for that lack in other areas. Please see the next question that addresses moisture.

Why do my baked goods crumble when I use whole wheat flour?

This is one of the biggest fears for a baker! Whole wheat is inevitably and unfairly associated with dry and crumbled. I tend to add more moisture when adapting a recipe. A pretty safe rule of thumb is an extra tablespoon or two per cup of whole wheat that you’ve substituted. Furthermore, I will usually add an extra 1/2 teaspoon extra of baking powder to help this heavier flour rise. I like to let my batter sit for at least fifteen minutes longer than I would with all-purpose flour to give the leavening agents some time to do their thing!

How can I dull the distinct taste of whole wheat flour?

I quite happen to like the slight nuttiness that whole wheat provides! Yet, when baking for others, I know that penchant is not always shared. A brilliant trick I learned is to add orange juice. It does not add the flavor of the juice, but it does dull the wheat taste. Try substituting 1-2 tablespoons of your liquid with the O.J. Another option is to try White Whole Wheat Flour – same nutritional value, but a much milder taste 🙂 King Arthur Flour makes a great one!

My dough is very sticky, should I add more whole wheat flour?

Assuming you followed the directions on a given recipe verbatim, AVOID THE URGE TO ADD MORE FLOUR! That was one of my biggest mistakes when I first began whole wheat baking! Whole wheat flour tends to soak up all the moisture around it (hence the sometimes dry products), BUT, it takes a bit longer to do so. So, follow your recipe and be prepared to let your dough sit. I often find that refrigerating for up to 30 minutes can make the dough easier to work with. Additionally, try oiling your work surface instead of flouring! I’ve found that to be useful with sandwich bread. Flouring the surface definitely works better for things such as scones, though.

Some of your recipes call for buttermilk. What if I do not have any?

I actually don’t keep store bought buttermilk on hand either. It’s quite simple, though, to make your own. Measure out one cup of milk and add one tablespoon of white vinegar. Let sit for ten minutes and you’re good to go. The beauty of this is that you can make your own buttermilk with whole, reduced fat, or skim milk, whatever your preference may be.

Why do you use stevia so often?

A teaspoon of sugar packs a whopping 15 calories. Imagine the calorie count from sugar alone on a recipe that calls for 1 full cup of sugar! I still use sugar for many recipes, but I do try to make the swap if I know I’ll be having multiple servings of the product. Stevia is nice because it’s natural and sweet without as many added calories. Stevia comes in many forms, liquid, packet or bulk. I use the packets because it’s an easy way to keep count. Here is a handy conversion chart for your reference:

Sugar Granulated Artificial Sweeteners Stevia Blends (Packets) Stevia Blends (Bulk) Clear Stevia Liquid Pure Steviosides
2 tsp. 2 tsp. 1 packet 1/2 tsp. 1/4 tsp. 1/16 tsp.
1/4 cup 1/4 cup 6 packets 3 tsp. 1/2 tsp. 3/8 tsp.
1/3 cup 1/3 cup 8 packets 4 tsp. 3/4 tsp. 1/2 tsp.
1/2 cup 1/2 cup 12 packets 6 tsp. 1 1/4 tsp. 3/4 tsp.
3/4 cup 3/4 cup 18 packets 9 tsp. 1 3/4 tsp. 1 tsp.
1 cup 1 cup 24 packets 12 tsp. 2 1/2 tsp. 1 1/2 tsp.
2 cups 2 cups 48 packets 24 tsp. 5 1/4 tsp. 3 tsp.

taken from:  http://www.cookingwithstevia.com/stevia_conversion_chart.html

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