Q: What should I know about whole-wheat flour? I’d like to start baking breads that are healthier than just using plain white flour.
A: Your concern about baking whole-wheat bread is a noble one. Traditional whole-wheat flour is often a healthy addition to rolls and breads (like whole-wheat sandwich bread) because the bran is a good source of fiber, and wheat germ is a good source of protein and essential fatty acids.
However, it’s also important to supplement whole-wheat flour with bread flour (or all-purpose flour) to prevent the bread from becoming too heavy and dense.
You may have noticed white whole-wheat flour being sold alongside traditional whole-wheat flour in supermarkets. While it may sound like an oxymoron, white whole-wheat flour is simply ground from whole white wheat berries (the tan-colored whole-wheat flour we are used to is milled from red wheat berries). Nutritionally speaking, the two whole-wheat flours are identical; the major difference between them, beyond color, is flavor.
White whole-wheat flour has a distinctly sweet taste and milder flavor than regular whole-wheat flour. Overall, we recommend using traditional whole-wheat flour for its rich flavor and chewy texture.