How to Add Whole Grain Without Adding Grit

To eat healthier, I’ve been swapping out all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour in all of my non-dessert baked goods: muffins, waffles, pancakes, cornbread, biscuits, etc. (Personally, I’m content to let dessert just be dessert—I don’t feel the need to try and health it up since it’s for special occasions anyway).

For the day-to-day food I eat, I’ve switched to whole grain, but in the past when working whole wheat flour into baked goods, I’d replace only half the amount of all-purpose flour the recipe called for to avoid that unpleasantly bitter flavor and gritty texture that regular whole wheat flour can impart. But because whole wheat pastry flour is a finer grind than regular whole wheat flour it’s barely noticeable in heartier baked goods. You can swap out the given measurement of white flour completely, easily making whole grain versions of your favorite recipes.

Last week I made cornbread this way and nobody noticed. Weekend waffles have been whole wheat for months. They still taste great, and their crispy delicate texture hasn’t been compromised. Last night’s batch of blueberry muffins were whole wheat, so I felt like I was actually eating something nutritious for breakfast today. I tried it in my favorite pie crust recipe when I was making a quiche and it worked well—though I wouldn’t use it in a fruit pie’s crust, just because I wouldn’t want the extra hint of wheatiness in my sweets.

Would I swap in whole wheat pastry flour in a chocolate cake recipe? Hell no. But for savory baked goods, and stuff I bake for a meal, rather than a dessert, it’s a go.

I’ve used the whole wheat pastry flour from Bob’s Red Mill with good results, but usually I just pick it up in bulk at my neighborhood hippie health food store for a little less money.