White or Wheat?
Yes, by all means, more all whole wheat bread recipes, please. And different kinds of flours — kamut, emmer, ryes, etc.
Yes, I bake with fresh milled grains, soft white, hard white and hard red mostly. Feed my sourdough starter with soft white and rye. Will use a local milled flour if in a pinch and use King Arthur pizza flour when making Detroit style pizza. All organic flours. Just can’t seem to do all purpose store bought flour and refined flours any more. More recipes that are 100% while grain! Yes please!
Hi, Andrew! I rarely bake 100% whole wheat bread as I don't have a viable recipe yet. I do bake once a week a sourdough loaf that's 40% whole wheat. I would love a 100% recipe and at the same time I think white flour has a place in bread making. I personally try to keep things balanced and use mixes of both flours all the time. Never bake 100% white due to nutritional concerns. Hope this helps. Cheers!
Hi Andrew, I don't bake with 100% whole grain as I am just a bread beginner. I like rye flour as an add into sourdough starter. My opinion is that even 100% white home-baked bread isn't junk food since input can be under the baker's control. I generally buy KA flours or specialty flours as purpose demands. One day I hope to get more educated in the ways of breaddom, but right now, it's fits and starts. Thanks for your work here!
I do bake 100% whole grains as often as possible and would love more recipes. I’m a type 2 diabetic and eat whole grained as often as possible.
I don't bake with 100% whole grain (yet) because I am still a novice. I have gone up to 40-50% WG with varied success, but I still need a higher extraction bread flour to really keep my breads together. As a matter of personal taste, I like having breads that make for sandwich making, and at my level, that definitely requires a hybrid flour situation.
That being said, I would love get to the point of baking beautiful, broad 100% whole grain loaves. The savory and addicting flavor of wheat comes out and that's what I think of when I think of bread as sustenance, akin to a side of brown rice or other cooked grain.
Abandoning white flour in my view is unnecessary. Ingredients as building blocks to meals, rather than the manifestation of any number of political systems, are neither good nor bad and they all have their uses. Where would the world of candy be if not for blue raspberry! White flour is good for delicious pastries and lighter breads. Do we besmirch the brioche for its eggs and dairy-- both of which have even more well known ethical complications?
From the baker's stand point, I think it comes down to the end product you are trying to make. Are you making a hearty side or a treat? In America, I feel that bread has been commodified to a vehicle for something else (schmear, avocado, lunch meant) rather than a thing of sustenance which leads to the prevailing use of white flours and cultural definition that resists the hint of something earthy. But even seeing bread as a mean to and end rather than an end itself, I do believe there is little harm in making it marginally more filling and nutritious with the use of whole grains.
Yes, I'd love more whole grain recipes. I stopped making bread for a long time because I was no longer interested in eating mostly white flour. For the reason of health and nutrition. Now I am making a lot of primarily whole grain bread--a combination of local whole wheat and T85 flours. I'd like to experiment more. I'm less interested in bread that takes a long time to make and more interested in starting something the night before and finishing it by noon. For me, white flour is not junk food per se, but I minimize the use. I did not think this way when I was younger. Perhaps my evolution has something to do with aging. Among my baking cohort, there is a wish for more good whole grain recipes. Thanks for interviewing those folks. It's a great topic. Evolving.
I use whole grain as often as possible. After eating whole grains for years, a lot of refined grain products just taste boring. I still buy white flour but when I use it, it's in combination with whole grain flour - at least 50/50. Like many, I started on the whole grain path for health reasons, to help with blood sugar regulation. Now that I've been doing it for years, I love the flavor and texture and wouldn't want to go back. I've definitely made some heavy bricks, but good recipes for whole grain baking are out there.
Such a complicated subject! I love whole grains because they can be challenging to work with and the flavor is incredible. That being said, I don’t think we should call white flour “junk food”. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for 20 years, I am trying to raise my kids in a house where no food is called “junk”, it’s just food. I think there is a place for all foods; so many happy memories revolve around Dairy Queen Blizzards, Cinnamon Toast Crunch while camping and Gushers fruit snacks with friends.
As discussed in the interview, there is also the problem with access. It doesn’t sit right to call what most people can afford, and easily attain and use, junk. It feels like another way to blame individuals for “choosing” to be unhealthy, when there really isn’t a lot of actual choice.
I would love to see more local, whole grains because accessible to more people. I would love to help facilitate the delicious and fun exploration that baking with whole grain can be. But I don’t think we need to demonize a other food to do it. My goal is to be an all-inclusive baker, to be otherwise closes doors before people even know they’re there.
Yes, I'd love to have more information about whole grain recipes. Years ago I got accustomed to using all whole grain pastry wheat for quick breads, soda bread, pancakes, cakes and cookies. I just like the texture and flavor better than the fluffy stuff, which seems to turn back to paste in my mouth.
When baking bread I sometimes will use 85% extraction flour for a fourth or half of the grain, especially when using low gluten grains. I try to use whole grain more often.
Many thanks for all you do.
As a graduate student living in an expensive city (I don't even want to talk about how much I spend on San Francisco rent), I appreciate the balanced approach you've taken to talking about flour. Would I like to buy high-quality, local, freshly milled flour? Of course. But on my budget, even King Arthur flour feels like a splurge. So I appreciate not feeling deprecated or judged for baking with 'commodity' flour.
As for the whole grain vs white flour question: I generally prefer to bake mostly whole grain breads, partly because I enjoy the taste and partly because I find I feel better when eating more whole grains. But having said that, there's absolutely a place for refined flours as well! I love a slice of fluffy, light shokupan, toasted until just golden and smeared with butter and jam as an occasional treat!
Edit: Echoing many people on this thread to say that I'd love to have more whole grain recipes on the blog!
Oh, so complicated! For me, there are a lot of factors at play. I'm still very much a beginner baker, and it's easier for me to follow recipes with just one type of flour, or flour that I'm familiar with and already have (white AP flour and white bread flour). That said, I know that flavor and crumb and structure are all improved with the addition of whole grains, and I'd love to know where to start!
I'm still at a point where I'm intimidated by reading the hydration stats for bread, parsing the recipe so that my end product looks and feels anything like what the recipe calls for. It's not that I don't want to use whole grains, I just don't feel like I know how! It seems too advanced for me. Maybe I'm wrong, but I wouldn't know where to start.
I don't think that white flour is necessarily junk food; it's something that's broadly available, but I don't think it's junk. Whole wheat flour has more of its nutrients intact, but I don't like the phrase "junk food" -- it's so judgey! I prefer to think of white flour as basic, and whole wheat flour as nutrient-rich, which might be the same thing with only a semantic difference, but which helps me feel less judgmental about choosing white flour for my own bins.
Yes, I bake with whole grain flour. Freshly milled in my kitchen and I use the flour immediately (which greatly increases the rise of the dough) 88% hydration and to give it shape I bake it in a bread pan inside a dutch oven. I bake with yeast and a couple of spoons fresh levain which gives additional rise and flavor. Thanks for the sourdough Andrew, it's so fragrant and easy to maintain. It takes 3 hours to make this bread, 10 minutes hands on time. Super crusty and delicious nutty bread, amazing with a slice of Gruyere, stores well on a wooden board on the cut side. However, I have never been able to make a free form loaf of this bread and I would be really interested in learning how to do that.
I view eating bread made from refined flours as a treat, something to be indulged in now and then. My thinking is that it's very likely not healthy to eat bread made with refined flour. Not a big fan of sugar either. But no, I don't think white flour is junk food. I think it's a luxury to be enjoyed now and then.
What would really interest me is how to substitute white flour with true whole grain flour, in traditional recipes for cakes, pie dough, pizza dough. Most whole wheat flour recipe's are based on store bought whole wheat flour without the germ, which has much less fat than true whole grain flour which contains the fatty germ. Baking with store bought whole wheat flour (essentially white flour with a handful bran tossed back in, but lacking any nutrition) does not interest me and virtually all whole wheat flour recipes out there are using this "pseudo" whole wheat four. I'd like to see recipes that make this important distinction. That is something I'd be very much interested in.
I use HE or 100% wheat for my breads. Adrian Hale's 100% Einkorn Loaf is my idea of a flavourful and healthy loaf. I am interested in more whole grain recipes. I also try to use at least half whole wheat flour in cookies, scones, muffins and quick breads. Stone ground flours are available to me from a small mill here in Maryland that delivers and also sells at the farmers markets.
Andrew: A 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf developed by you would be welcomed by many. Because there’s not much that’s available on that topic that’s good. A well-known cookbook author who writes about everything had a whole grain, sourdough, no-knead bread book come out in the late fall. I bought it for a friend the moment it came out, because she was looking for something like this. There were no reviews at time of purchase. Reasonably skilled, she went on to produce brick after brick of whole wheat bread from the recipe. Substantial numbers of reviewers on Amazon noted the same outcome once reviews started to appear. We finally spent some time analyzing the recipe, using all the knowledge we’d gained from your blog and classes. After some further experimentation, we found the ingredient list was probably fine, but the instructions for timing of steps were deeply flawed. So, while we’ve now produced some decent whole grain loaves using our revisions to that recipe, we would definitely prefer a whole grain recipe from you. Because it’s unlikely we’d need to debug it.
I agree with others who have said that being non-judgmental about what flour people use is a good approach. While for some it might just be a matter of more education on types of flours, access is definitely a constraint. I feel fortunate that I have recently found locally milled flours to use. And I enjoy a freshly made white sourdough loaf as much as a deli dark rye sourdough loaf. Time and place for all kinds of variations. An easily accessible homemade whole wheat sandwich loaf would definitely be useful though. Thanks for all you share with us.
I primarily bake 50% whole wheat, 50% bread flour and sometimes a higher percentage of whole wheat.
I've tried 100% whole wheat a few times and never been entirely satisfied with the result. I would love to try some recipes from you with 100% whole wheat.