Recipes with Whole wheat flour that *don't* call for other flours
March 28, 2020 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Novice baker here. I am excited to have a 5 lb. bag of whole wheat flour, and would like to use it, but every recipe I look up with "whole wheat" in the title calls for half whole wheat flour and half some other type of flour. What recipes are there where whole wheat is the ONLY flour called for, intentionally? Similar to Neely O'Hara's question below about butter-free desserts, I want recipes where the whole wheat flour is the intended flavor - not to adapt an existing recipe for whole-wheat.

Bread, desserts, healthy, gooey... whether it's healthy or not, I want your recipes!
posted by rogerroger to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I think that chocolate chip cookies are the killer app for whole wheat recipes. Here's one such at

But in my experience, I've sometimes simply used full whole wheat instead of mixing with white flour, and the results are fine but have a different character. Be much more gentle with the flour even than you are with all purpose, in order to avoid linking up the glutens and making it tougher. Add a touch more leavening (maybe a little more baking powder for a quick soda bread) and maybe add a little more liquid. Here's a whole-wheat soda bread recipe that looks pretty darn easy and delicious.

You've got a lot of time to experiment. A generous helping of butter on a hot baked item will help if your experiment goes awry and it's too tough or too thick. Or eat it with a stew or soup that you can dip it in. But honestly, just getting used to the texture of all whole wheat will make you realize that you don't have to do much adapting to a recipe to substitute whole wheat.

And if some other bakers come along and contradict, saying that of course you have to do a lot of tinkering to get a whole wheat recipe to work, to them I say, baking is tinkering. Baking is troubleshooting. And also they're wrong. And it's okay if they think I'm wrong. You know what? We can both be wrong at the same time.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 11:02 AM on March 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: From King Arthur Flour Website:

Whole wheat bread

Blueberry Muffins

Whole wheat banana bread

There are many more recipes on this site that call for whole wheat flour only.
posted by loveandhappiness at 11:07 AM on March 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 100% whole wheat light, fluffy, and tender pancakes (from Cook’s Illustrated)

Whisk together dry ingredients:
• 2 cups (11 ounces) whole-wheat flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ¾ teaspoon salt

In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients:
• 2 ¼ cups buttermilk (if using buttermilk powder in dry ingredients, reduce water to 2 cups to prevent batter from being too moist)
• 5 tablespoons oil
• 2 large eggs

Make well in dry ingredients, pour in wet ingredients, and whisk until smooth (don’t worry about overmixing like you do with white flour). Will be a very thick batter.
Cook in oiled pan or griddle over medium heat / 350°F
posted by ShooBoo at 11:11 AM on March 28, 2020 [3 favorites]

agree w Made of Star Stuff. I use KA WWF by itself in pmuch everything w no conscience. I make bread in a bread maker using the whole grain setting and a bit more water (like if it calls for 14 oz I use 16-17-ish). You get a robust, muscular bread and sometimes it out-muscles the yeast.
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:35 AM on March 28, 2020

You may not want to go to a store but when I bake with whole wheat flour I like to add a heaping tablespoon of vital gluten for every cup of whole wheat. WW is lower in gluten relative to white flower and adding the gluten makes bread or whatever as light as white flour.

Gluten is flour without the carbohydrate part so it is a natural food. It's the primary ingredient in seitan which vegetarians sometimes use instead of meat.
posted by tmdonahue at 11:39 AM on March 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe
When I was 19, I put myself on a diet to loose 15 kg, and part of it was only eating whole wheat bread. I didn't use a recipe, I just mixed up whole wheat flour, water, a bit of yeast and a lot of different grains, nuts and seeds to a moist dough. Sometimes I put in raisins or olives. I let it "raise" (not much) over night and baked it in the morning. No one else in my family would eat it, but it did the job, I lost the weight over 4 months. I ate the bread with peanut butter and slices of apple or with cheese and tomato for breakfast and lunch. At dinner I joined the rest of the family.
I'm planning to go on a similar diet now for different reasons, but I'm not sure I can revert to being as bad a baker again. I'm also not sure that it matters. Baking bread is not as difficult as baking cakes. You just don't want a too dry dough and a long rise is better than a short one.
posted by mumimor at 11:44 AM on March 28, 2020

You can substitute whole wheat flour one to one in many recipes that don't need extreme leavening or strength. As long as you're not making, e.g., angel food bundt cake or super porous sourdough boules, the results will be well within normal limits and then you can optimize from there. Extra hydration is a common tweak.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 11:53 AM on March 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book.

It’s all about baking with with 100% whole wheat. Its “Dinner rolls for Aunt Agatha” are heavenly, and are demanded for all holiday meals ‘round here. Best, though, is that it has an introduction about baking theory and technique specifically with whole wheat. To really succeed, you’ll (k)need more than just recipes.
posted by sjswitzer at 11:53 AM on March 28, 2020 [3 favorites]

My super-easy pankake recipe:

1 cup ww flour
1 tsp baking powder (mix dry ingredients)

1 banana well mashed and whisked until liquid
1 egg
1 cup milk (Mix wet ingr then stir into dry)

Add a handful of blueberries if you want

They’re not particularly fluffy but I like flatter pancakes. They are quite tasty and use no added sugar.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:06 PM on March 28, 2020

There’s more than one kind of whole wheat flour - does the bag give you any other hints? Hard wheat, soft, winter, red? Stone ground, coarse, pastry?

All of these make delicious food, but they’re different.

Seconding the recommendation for the Laurels Kitchen book, and King Arthur recipes are reliable.
posted by clew at 12:10 PM on March 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

This banana bread recipe from King Arthur Flour is 100% whole wheat. It makes excellent muffins, and the last time I made it I put in equal amounts of chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. The next time I brave the grocery store, I’m getting bananas just to make this again.
posted by centrifugal at 12:21 PM on March 28, 2020

Update: I just made the pancakes above and remembered to put in a dash of salt. (I used to cook without salt when I was feeding someone with hypertension and now frequently forget it. I've grown used to low-salt foods, but most people will prefer it with salt.)
posted by sjswitzer at 12:49 PM on March 28, 2020

posted by saladin at 1:31 PM on March 28, 2020

Here's another banana bread recipe that uses only whole-wheat flour. I made it yesterday; came out great.
posted by Syllepsis at 2:11 PM on March 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

D'ya have some oats? This Smitten Kitchen whole wheat oat bread is nice.
posted by stray at 2:45 PM on March 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

The King Arthur Flour site has the best WW recipes in my opinion. In their whole grain cookbook they often mention adding a little bit of acidity to WW baked goods- citrus or vinegar or yogurt- and this makes a HUGE difference in both taste and texture
posted by genmonster at 4:27 PM on March 28, 2020

I managed to mess up my above comment with the Cook's Illustrated pancake recipe.
There's the line "5 tablespoons", that doesn't include the ingredient.
It should be "5 tablespoons OIL".

(I notified the moderators, so it may get fixed).
posted by ShooBoo at 9:06 PM on March 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

This Basics With Babish episode covers roti and lachha paratha.

I’m thinking about trying them out myself.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:13 PM on March 28, 2020

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