Converting your recipes from processed all purpose flour to using wholegrain pastry flour is not that difficult if you understand the three components of the wheat berry; bran, endosperm and germ. The baking properties of the whole grain flour will be different.
All grains starts life as whole grain, before they are processed and parts are removed. The whole grain berry is made up of three parts, the bran, germ and the endosperm.
The Bran; which is insoluble fiber makes up the outer cover of the berry and is about 14% of the total weight of the berry.
The Germ; which contains healthy fats, is the smallest part of the berry by weight, making up only about 3%. The germ also contains most of the berries valuable vitamins and minerals.
The Endosperm; is the largest part of the grain making up 83% or more by weight of the berry. The endosperm is mainly carbohydrates with little vitamins and minerals. Soft White berries has a greater amount of endosperm then other berries.
1 cup of processed All Purpose flour is 100% endosperm (carbohydrates)
1 cup of whole grain flour is 14% bran (roughage)
3% germ (oil)
83%+ endosperm (carbohydrates)
Bran: Will not absorb the liquid in the recipe as quickly.
Germ: Is oil which makes the absorption of liquid difficult in the recipe.
Endosperm: There is physically less of it per cup than processed flour.
Some of your recipes will work just great others you may have to tweak a bit like adjust the water or flour. Cookies and quick breads are very forgiving but cakes, biscuits and some muffins may need a bit of adjustment.
Concerned about the "wheat" taste
- One option is try substituting orange juice for a small proportion of the liquid in the recipe. We have also found if the recipe has dairy in it the "wheat" taste is less pronounced.
What Works Well in Non Yeast Baked Items
- Add 1-2 tablespoons per cup extra flour to your recipe, the reason is there is less endosperm in the whole grain flour. This is not usually needed with cookies and bars but definitely cakes, biscuits and some muffins. Another option is when the recipe is for all purpose flour and you will be using whole grain is to add 2 tsp. additional liquid per cup to the recipe.
- Let your ingredients sit 10 -15 minutes before baking to allow the liquid to be absorbed due to the bran and the germ in the flour. If you have time, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours or overnight. Cookies will be chewy and spread less if the dough is chilled. You will have to add a few minutes to the bake time to account for the cold dough.
- Add extra leavening agents due to the weight of the bran and germ in the flour. Use a minimum of 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour in the recipe.
- Batters that have acid ingredients, baking soda needs to be added to neutralize the acid so the baking powder can be fully effective.
Examples of Baking Soda adjustment
1/2 tsp. soda for 1 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp. soda for 1 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 tsp. soda 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. molasses or honey
Adjust the recipe, take very good notes and weight out all of your ingredients, with a scale. If the recipe does not turn out exactly perfect you will have a base from which to make your next adjustments. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it perfect, especially for cakes and some muffins.