6 Tips for Perfect Whole Grain Baking

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I try to bake with whole grain flours as much as possible. We all know that whole grains are much healthier than simple white flour, but do you know why? It’s because whole wheat flour has almost four times more fiber than all-purpose flour and provides more potassium, magnesium and zinc. However, if you’ve baked with whole wheat flour before, you know that it can be tricky and it is not always as simple as substituting whole wheat flour for white in every recipe.

Over the last eight years or so, I have slowly swapped out all the white flour in my kitchen for whole grain flours and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Today I want to share with you some my best whole grain baking tips to help you transition to healthier, heartier baking.


Simple Tips for Whole Grain Baking


1. Start Gradually

If you’re new to baking with whole grains, don’t expect to be able to substitute all whole wheat flour for all-purpose and like the end result. Start by gradually substituting 1/3 of the flour in the recipe for whole wheat. Your family won’t taste the difference and you’ll boost the nutritional content of whatever you’re making. With time you’ll be able to swap out all the white flour for whole grains and you won’t want to go back!

Whole Grain Baking Tips That Will Take Your Baking to the Next Level


2. It’s not always one to one.

If you are trying to substitute whole wheat flour in a recipe that calls for all-purpose, a good rule of thumb is to use only 3/4 cup whole wheat for 1 cup all-purpose. This is because whole wheat flours are denser and true baking is a science based on weights.

Whole Grain Baking Tips That Will Take Your Baking to the Next Level


3. Sometimes you need more liquid.

When baking cupcakes, muffins and cakes with whole wheat flour, you will likely need more liquid. Try adding an additional tablespoon or two more of wet ingredients (oil, butter, applesauce, etc.) to your batter.

Whole Grain Baking Tips That Will Take Your Baking to the Next Level


4. Whole Wheat flours expire more quickly than all-purpose.

Check your package’s expiration date and try to use the flour within three months of opening. I’m not messing around with this one. The smell and taste of rancid flour is awful. Trust me.

Whole Grain Baking Tips That Will Take Your Baking to the Next Level


5. Find the right flour.

There are so many brands and varieties of whole grain flours out there. I find that while regular whole wheat may work well for one recipe, it can yield dry, bland results in another. There are so many varieties of flour: whole wheat, white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour, oat flour, and so on. It can get confusing! My favorite is whole-wheat pastry flour. It’s lower in protein and milled from a softer wheat—yielding more tender results than regular whole-wheat. I also love white whole wheat flour because the flavor is milder, making it most similar to white flour. BUT, it has the same nutritional value as regular whole wheat flour. Win, win!

My go-to brands are King Arthur Flour and Bob’s Red Mill and I truly believe that higher quality flour yields a better baked good.

Whole Grain Baking Tips That Will Take Your Baking to the Next Level

6. Follow a recipe.

If you’re new to baking with whole wheat flour, follow a recipe! Chances are the end product will be much better than if you just played around on your own the first time. Check out some great examples below!

Whole Grain Baking Tips That Will Take Your Baking to the Next Level

I asked some of my blogger buddies to share their favorite whole grain recipes with you guys. Some of these use a mix of different flours and others are 100% whole wheat.

Blueberry Banana Marscapone Coffee Cake from Jenna Braddock

Vegan Jacoma Almond Fudge Cookies from Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen

No Bake Banana Nut Protein Bars from Healthy Helper Blog

Mini Snickerdoodle Biscotti from Barr and Table


More from Little Chef Big Appetite:

Whole Wheat Apple Honey Muffins

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Wheat Bagels


What about you? Do you have any other whole grain baking tips? Share them in the comments below! 



  • Brittany @ Barr & Table
    April 14, 2015 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    These all look so delicious! Thanks so much for including me, Rachel!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      April 14, 2015 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your awesome recipe, Brittany!

  • Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    April 14, 2015 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Great tips! Whole wheat pastry flour is my favourite too – I almost always use it when replacing all purpose flour in baked goods!

    Thanks for including my recipe. 🙂

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      April 14, 2015 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Chelsea! I can’t wait to try so many of your awesome baked goods!

  • Kaila @healthyhelperblog!
    April 14, 2015 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for featuring my bars!!! <3

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      April 14, 2015 - 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Of course! They’re so yummy Kaila! xo

  • April 15, 2015 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Great baking tips! Definitely didn’t know all this.

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      April 15, 2015 - 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Mer! Hope they work for you 🙂

  • April 17, 2015 - 2:17 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I’ll make sure to follow all of them, especially the one about the flour’s expiration date, I hate to waste food.

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      April 17, 2015 - 8:21 am | Permalink

      Glad you found them helpful, Lily!

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