Yeast bread, rolls, and pizza: from white to wheat, a baker's guide

So, why do you want to bake with whole grains?

For some of us, it’s a desire to add fiber to our diet. For others, a lifestyle choice: avoiding heavily processed or refined foods – embracing “whole” foods.

Maybe you simply like the flavor of wheat. Or you’re trying to follow a healthier diet, which according to USDA dietary guidelines, means “Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.”

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Or perhaps you bought a bag of whole wheat flour because it was called for in a cookie recipe you wanted to try, and now you don’t know what to do with the rest of the bag…

Whatever the provenance of your desire to bake with whole grains – specifically, whole wheat – you’re probably not satisfied with simply following existing whole-grain recipes. You know, the ones in magazines like Real Simple, and Cooking Light.

It’s fine to try new whole-grain recipes every now and then; but what you’d really like to do is substitute whole wheat in some of your well-loved family favorites, making Anna’s Banana Bread or Gram’s Peanut Butter Blossoms or those Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins just a tad healthier.

Is it possible to do this – simply substitute whole wheat flour for the all-purpose (white) flour called for in your recipe-box recipes? Or is there some secret you don’t know – the need to increase liquid, decrease fat, wave your magic wand and spin around three times – in order to successfully convert a white flour recipe to whole wheat?

Thankfully, the process can be simpler than you think.


This post, the first in a guided series to substituting whole wheat for all-purpose (AP) flour, concentrates on the most challenging type of recipes to convert: yeast bread, rolls (including sweet rolls), and pizza.

But you know what? After lots of experimenting, I found a simple rule for substituting whole wheat with minimal change in the flavor, texture, and rise of your bread.


Here it is: in yeast recipes calling for all-purpose (white) flour, substitute King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour for up to half the white flour, by volume. There’s no need to adjust any other ingredients. The result will be a loaf, roll, or pizza crust that rises nicely, has mildly “wheaty” flavor, and is a warm beige in color, rather than creamy white.

Bonus: you’ll be treating yourself to a nourishing blend of the vitamins and minerals found in enriched all-purpose flour; and the fiber and additional vitamins and minerals in whole wheat flour. The two flours complement one another wonderfully well, not just in flavor and performance, but in dietary benefits.

If you like this 50/50 result, try substituting a bit more whole wheat next time. If you don’t – substitute a bit less. But half and half – AP and whole wheat flours – is a good place to start.

Now, what about substituting whole wheat flour for 100% of the all-purpose – can you make a straight 1:1 switch?


Unless you’re willing to accept a loaf, roll, or crust that doesn’t rise as high, isn’t as light – then not a good idea.

BUT – there IS a way to use that straight 1:1 substitution, and turn white to 100% wheat, by making a few simple adjustments. More about that later.

OK, timeout. So, SO many of you have asked the following question, that I need to address it right now, before we go one step further:

Is white whole wheat really a whole-grain flour? Or is it a blend of white flour and whole wheat, or does it rely on some wacky type of processing to make it white, or…?

White whole wheat flour is 100% whole wheat – “nothing added, nothing taken away,” as we like to say here. It’s ground from white wheat berries rather than red wheat berries; but just as a red tulip and a white tulip are both tulips, red and white wheat are both wheat.

All-purpose flour on the left; white whole wheat in the center; traditional (red) whole wheat on the right.

All-purpose flour on the left; white whole wheat in the center; traditional (red) whole wheat on the right.

And when you grind the entire berry of either wheat – red, or white – the result is 100% whole wheat flour. Period. Take it to the bank.

If you love traditional red whole wheat (King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour, in the dark brown bag), more power to you; use it in good health. It’ll “work” exactly like white whole wheat in your recipe.


That’s dough made with white whole wheat flour on the left; and the same recipe made with traditional (red) whole wheat flour on the right. Both are 100% whole wheat, but what a difference in color, eh?

But if you’re someone who’s not in love with the assertiveness of whole wheat flour, take my advice: try white whole wheat. Compared to red wheat, white wheat’s mouth feel, flavor, and look are much closer to that of white flour.

Now, let’s explore some of the experiments that brought me to these conclusions. In all cases, I’m comparing the same recipe made using 100% all-purpose flour; 50% all-purpose and 50% white whole wheat; and 100% white whole wheat flour.

First up: a simple yeast batter bread, English Muffin Toasting Bread.


I’m using this recipe in order to see how whole wheat will act in a yeast bread that doesn’t call for any kneading.


To make this simple bread, I combine all the ingredients in a bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat at high speed for 1 minute. The resulting sticky dough/batter is scooped into a loaf pan.* After a single rise, it’s baked.

*I love using a 9″ x 4″ pain de mie pan for any bread recipe calling for an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. The longer, narrower, deeper pan, with its straight (rather than slightly flared) shape, produces bread without the typical “mushroom” top – no getting stuck in the toaster!


The result? The 100% white flour loaf rises just a tad higher than the 50/50 combo, while the 100% whole wheat loaf is a distant third, rise-wise.

I’m a bit surprised at this result. Why would the 100% whole wheat loaf be SO far behind the 50/50 loaf?

Thankfully, as the experiments continue, I figure out the answer.

For my next loaf, I want an old family recipe, a tried-and-true white bread. I know many of you cherish your family recipes; let’s see what happens when we substitute whole wheat flour in an older recipe, one clearly written for white flour.


How many of you have recipes like this? Written in India ink on a yellowing card, stuffed in a worn cardboard box, this is my grandmother’s recipe for the bread she made week after week, year after year, to feed her family – 7 kids and husband.

Clearly she didn’t need a lot of direction!

But I did. It took me awhile to figure out, but eventually I used this skeleton to write myself a “real” recipe.


Remember: I’m using 100% AP (white) flour; a 50/50 blend; and 100% whole wheat flour. All three rise similarly through their first rise (on the baking sheet). And even the second rise doesn’t produce huge differences…


…though you can see the AP loaf (left) is clearly taller than either the 50/50 or whole wheat loaves.

Once baked, though…


…the 100% AP loaf stands tallest – by a hair (crumb), over the 50/50 loaf.

The 100% whole wheat loaf wasn’t too bad, though; a bit shorter, a bit denser, and it took longer to bake. Which is a good thing to remember: the denser/shorter the loaf, the longer it’ll take to bake all the way through.

Next, let’s sweeten things up a bit. How will a typical cinnamon roll or sticky bun turn out if I simply substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose, without making any adjustments in the other ingredients?

Remember, this is all about simplicity; I want to figure out when you can successfully make a straight 1:1 switch with all-purpose and whole wheat; and when you can do so only by tweaking the recipe.


Our Cinna-Buns recipe is the quintessential breakfast sweet roll.

Let’s see what happens using a straight 1:1 switch.


This rich dough, with its egg, milk, and sugar, is a fairly slow riser.

And the whole wheat dough seems stiff. It isn’t rising quite as well as the AP and 50/50 doughs – which makes sense. Whole wheat, with its coarser grind and bran, takes longer to absorb liquid than AP flour. But once it does, it absorbs more. The same amount of water used in both an all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour bread recipe will yield whole wheat dough that’s stiffer than AP dough.


But let’s continue with the rolls, and see what happens.


Uh-oh. While the AP (left) and 50/50 (bottom right) rolls are rising nicely, the 100% whole wheat rolls are lagging far behind.


And the resulting 100% whole wheat buns – not up to snuff. Dense and stiff compared to the AP rolls, I need to throw these to the birds.

OK, I’m going to stop for a moment, and consider what I know about yeast dough.

Generally speaking, the stiffer and drier the yeast dough, the less it will rise. The CO2 produced by yeast has an easier time expanding the elastic network of gluten in which it’s trapped when the dough contains more liquid.

Think of swimming upwards through water, vs. digging your way out of hard-packed dirt – get the picture?

What if I increase the amount of liquid in the 100% whole wheat dough, to give it the same soft, elastic consistency as the AP dough?

At the same time, I’ll give the whole wheat dough 20 to 30 minutes to absorb the liquid before kneading; this should make the dough easier to work with, and prevent me from adding too much additional flour.

Let’s try these Cinna-Buns again.

And this time, just to throw another variable into the mix, let’s test traditional (red) whole wheat flour against white whole wheat.

I make the dough again, adding 2 teaspoons additional milk for each cup of whole wheat flour in each of the 100% whole wheat recipes.

I also let the whole wheat doughs rest for 25 minutes before kneading.

I knead the doughs, let them rise, and shape them into buns.

And after 90 minutes rising in the pan…



That’s AP flour, bottom left; 100% white wheat, center; and traditional (red) wheat, bottom right. All three are rising nicely.


And after baking, you can’t see a difference in height or texture.


Only the buns’ color gives them away: that’s traditional whole wheat in front; white whole wheat in the center, and all-purpose flour in back.

OK, now that I know the secret to turning a white flour bread recipe into high-rising 100% whole wheat bread, let’s test it on another old favorite: Amish Dinner Rolls.


This moist, dense potato roll recipe has been on our site for years, undergoing several changes along the way.

Substituting butter for lard, for instance – which gives you an idea of this recipe’s vintage.

Using what I’ve learned about increasing the amount of liquid, and giving the dough a rest before kneading, will I make high-rising dinner rolls first time out of the gate?


The dough looks good. It feels good, too; all three doughs (all-purpose, 50/50, and 100% white wheat) are soft and supple.


Shape rolls, nestle in pans. Apply elastic shower caps, for rising. (What, you don’t know the Secret Life of Shower Caps – doubling as dough-rising covers?)

Nice rise… nice bake…


…nice buns!

While the late afternoon light paints a rather deceiving picture, kind of washing out the colors, that’s 100% white wheat, bottom left; all-purpose, top; and 50/50, bottom right.

All three rolls have risen nicely, and have great, light/soft texture.

And, finally – let’s try some pizza dough.


Since I’m working on the second installment of my “America’s Love Affair with Pizza” series concurrently with this post, I choose the basic pizza dough recipe from Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza, Pasta, and More!


Again: all-purpose on the left, 50/50 in the center, 100% white whole wheat on the right.

Notice how rough the dough is in the first shot (top left); all I’ve done at this point is mix the ingredients together, without kneading. Right after I take the shot, I knead the AP dough; then the 50/50; then, finally, the 100% white wheat, which gives this last dough its requisite 25 minutes’ rest.

They all rise nicely. I divide them in half, to make two 8″ pizzas each.

Puck notes that the dough can be used right away; or refrigerated overnight before shaping and baking. So I try that experiment, too.

The result? I don’t see a textural difference between using the dough immediately, or chilling it. There is, however, one difference in the all-purpose crust: the chilled dough is slightly more flavorful, due to  lactic and organic acids produced overnight by the growing yeast.

I can’t taste that same difference in the whole wheat doughs; I can only assume the flavor of wheat overrides the subtle flavors produced by the yeast.


Here’s the dough I’m using right away. I shape it, give it a short (30-minute) rise, and brush it with olive oil, per Puck’s instructions…


…then bake.

Over-bake, actually. I mean to par-bake these, then add the toppings, then finish baking. But I misjudge how fast pizza crust can bake on a pizza stone in a 450°F oven.



Anyway, here are the results: top to bottom, 100% whole wheat, 50/50, all-purpose.

Continuing to experiment with the amount of liquid necessary to make the highest-rising 100% whole wheat crust, I try adding slightly less additional water to the pizza crust than I do to the Amish roll dough. And there’s a difference: the 100% whole wheat crust (top) isn’t as light as the AP crust (bottom).

I do one final experiment, making the 100% whole wheat crust again, and upping the amount of water. And this time, the resulting crust is just as light as the AP crust.


Now, back to those original over-baked crusts. Once I turn them all into finished pizzas, they’re not bad. Though why I’m so cheap with the pepperoni, I don’t know – since it’s low-fat turkey pepperoni, I definitely can (and should have) applied it more generously!


One final shot: AP crust on the bottom, 50/50 on top. As you can see, the 50/50 crust is a warmer color, and rises just slightly less than the AP crust.

And there you have it: it’s perfectly feasible to substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour in your favorite yeast recipes. To summarize:

♥ White whole wheat flour yields a lighter-colored, milder-flavored bread than traditional (red) whole wheat flour.
♥ When whole wheat flour is used up to 50/50 with all-purpose flour, there’s no need to make a change in your favorite white-flour yeast recipe – the result should be quite similar to the original.
♥ When whole wheat flour is substituted 100% for the white flour in a favorite recipe, allow the dough to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before kneading.
♥ When whole wheat flour is substituted 100% for the white flour, adjust the dough consistency by adding 2 teaspoons additional liquid per cup of whole wheat flour used, to start. After giving the dough a rest, start to knead; if it begins to feel overly dry and stiff, add more liquid, enough to make a smooth, supple dough. Note: In high hydration recipes, those making a very soft, sticky dough (e.g., ciabatta), start by following the recipe as written, without using additional water. Add more water only if necessary to produce the dough consistency described in the recipe.

Oh, and another thing: when baking with whole wheat flour, I often substitute orange juice for part of the liquid called for in the recipe. Why? While it doesn’t lend any flavor of its own, orange juice (used in small amounts) seems to temper the sometimes assertive flavor of whole wheat.

In addition, yeast loves an acidic environment, which orange juice helps create. A good rule of thumb is 1/4 cup OJ substituted for 1/4 cup of the water or milk in a recipe using 3 cups of whole wheat flour.

Finally, one last bit of advice: be sensible. Substituting whole wheat for 100% of the white flour in your favorite brioche, or challah, or croissant recipe, even if you add liquid, isn’t going to create a light and tender, highest-rising, buttery, delicious brioche, or challah, or croissant. It’ll be whole wheat – with all of whole wheat’s inherent characteristics: darker color, stronger flavor, a less-smooth mouth feel.

When baking with whole wheat, it’s best to understand the limits of any particular recipe, and manage your expectations. That said – I was never a particular fan of whole wheat, but after a week’s worth of baking with it, I’ve gained new appreciation for its versatility, its ability to slip fairly seamlessly into white flour recipes – and even its flavor!

What’s been your experience baking with whole wheat flour? Share your thoughts in comments, below.

Did you enjoy this baker’s guide? Check out our guide to substituting whole wheat flour in your favorite cookie, brownie, and bar recipes; and our guide to substituting whole wheat in scones, muffins, batter breads, biscuits, and pancakes.

Interested in purchasing King Arthur flours, including white whole wheat, at a store near you? Check out our store locator.


PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Amy P

    This was fantastic! I love how in-depth you guys go with these posts. I will definitely test these tips – I’ve been subbing wholewheat flour 100% for a while now with varied success but seem to be getting the hang of it now. I’m surprised two things didn’t come up that have made all the difference for my success rate – weighing the flour instead of measuring by volume (as whole wheat weighs more than all purpose cup-for-cup) and using vital wheat gluten (as wholewheat has a lower gluten percentage thanks to the added bulk from germ and bran).
    Do you guys find that either of these help much with substituting wholewheat for AP?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Amy, yes, here in the test kitchen we always weigh our ingredients when baking. In our kitchen, whole wheat weighs 4 ounces/cup, while AP is 4 1/4 ounces; so our weighing is the opposite of yours, as far as relative weights, but let’s not either of us sweat it! 🙂 And yes, vital wheat gluten would help with the rise; I was trying to keep the process as simple as possible, for people who didn’t want to purchase any extra ingredients. Thanks for sharing this – good tips to remember. PJH

  2. JuliaJ

    PJ, thanks for sharing your experiments with 100% ww flour, great job! Was thinking about the orange juice addition–would a pinch (or two) of ascorbic acid powder (e.g., crushed Vitamin C tablets) work instead to increase the acidity of the dough? Looking forward to your ww cookie blog next month!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Julia, I don’t think the ascorbic acid would work on the flavor (though I could be wrong, as I haven’t tried it), which is mainly what I add it for; but it would definitely make the yeast happy. In fact, may professional bakers add a touch of ascorbic acid to their yeast doughs. PJH

    2. Diane AK

      A note about ascorbic acid: Just yesterday I purchased a jar of each Active Dry Yeast and Quick Rise Yeast. I’m new to bread making and wanted to have which ever type was called for in any recipe that I might wish to use. There is only one ingredient difference between the two types – that of the addition of Ascorbic Acid in the Quick Rise Yeast. Interesting to have wondered about this difference just yesterday, and today I found this post. Life is Good.

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Yes, Diane, that makes sense – ascorbic acid gives yeast a “kick in the pants,” as it were, getting it going faster than if it was just left on its own. We like to use SAF instant yeast; if you find dissatisfied with the two yeasts you’ve purchased, give SAF a try sometime. it’s really a wonderful yeast. Best of luck with your bread – PJH

  3. Gin

    Super good and comprehensive post, PJ!!! I hate to think how long pulling this one together took, but I’m sure your fellow employees enjoyed the benefits of it. Makes me wish I worked for King Arthur. The one thing you didn’t touch on was sourdough and whether your “1/2 ww, 1/2 AP” rule works with that, as well. Do you have any thoughts about that?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Gin, I wouldn’t use whole wheat in the starter itself; too problematic, as whole-grain starters tend to attract negative bacteria sometimes, so you have to be super-careful about how you feed and store them. But subbing it in your sourdough bread recipe, for some of the AP flour? Absolutely. (That said, I’m sure others here will add to my comment with their own great experiences using whole wheat in their starters! Each to his own, right?) 🙂 PJH

  4. Mary B.

    Such a wonderfully informative article! I grind my own wheat and frequently try to convert yeast bake goods to whole wheat, with varying success. This was so helpful; great to know that the rest and some extra liquid are so crucial.
    I have used my dad’s bread recipe for decades, and I have also found that the 50/50 sub works much better than 100% whole wheat.
    I do have a question, though. It seems when I use whole wheat that I need more flour in proportion to the liquid in order to make a smooth dough; you seem to suggest I would need less. Should whole wheat dough be left slightly sticky before the first rise, as opposed to smooth?
    Thanks for all of your hard work helping us to understand the hows and whys of baking!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Mary, I think the issue is how long it takes whole wheat to absorb the liquid; different grinds absorb at different rates. I like to adjust the liquid, rather than the flour amount. Depending on whether I know the dough to be naturally sticky; average; or stiff, I add more or less liquid when subbing 100% whole wheat, and I always let it rest before kneading. And yes, I’d leave whole wheat dough a bit sticky even after kneading, since as it rests it’ll continue to absorb liquid – that’s my theory, anyway! PJH

  5. Lorraine Fina Stevenski

    Professor PJ…Love KA white whole wheat flour! But keep it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. I use the half and half method for my muffins and scones with perfect results. I am going to try pizza with this method next time. I use my variation of Puck’s pizza recipe and use the food processor method but make it an hour rise. The honey tastes great in the dough. I have not experimented with www in my cakes yet. I will try a bundt cake first and let you know the results. I love your experiments and how you document your results for all of us to read. Thank you.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lorraine, I haven’t tried cake yet, either; am deep into cookies and bars this week, with biscotti in the oven right now. Let us know how the bundt cake turns out, OK? Thanks for connecting here, as always. PJH

  6. "Mandi F."

    An excellent post. There’s a section of the KAF Whole Grain Baking book that walks the reader through the types of whole grain flours and provides guidance on how to incorporate them into recipes and points out what types of flour works best in what types of recipes. This post just reminded me of that and now I can’t wait to get home after work and re-read it.

    One other thing I’ve been wondering about is working whole grains into recipes but not necessarily in flour form. I’ve had good experiences with putting bulgur into bread recipes but I wonder if there’s a way to work other grains in too? Kasha? Kamut?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Mandi, what I usually do is treat bulgur, kashi, etc. the same as rolled oats. They don’t provide structure, but can be an add-in. You need to increase the liquid when using them; but more than that, I’d just be giving you info. that was too generalized, as each grain, depending on how it’s cut (or not), and whether it’s cooked (or not), will require different amounts of liquid. Experiment – you’ll soon figure it out, just like I did! 🙂 PJH

  7. Carolyn

    This is the most comprehensive, easiest to understand article on the differences between flours I have ever read. Hugely helpful – thank you very much. And the tip on using orange juice – I can’t wait to try that out this weekend!
    One question – I use whole grain whole wheat flour. (It’s darker than regular red whole wheat flour) Would there again be a difference, or can I use it the same as the white ww and red ww you’ve referenced above?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Carolyn, I’m not familiar with the flour you’re talking about – all whole wheat flour is whole grain flour, so not understanding what you’re using? I’d say give it a try; you’ll soon figure out if it works the same as the experience I had with standard whole red and whole white. Good luck – PJH

  8. Amanda

    Wow! The best article on whole wheat baking ever! I make my own pizza dough using 100% KAF white whole wheat flour once a week, and up until now thought I just had to live with the dense texture and less than optimum rise. I can’t wait to try out the method that you have so meticulously researched. One question though. I frequently bake at higher elevations (I live in an RV and travel around the country), and while I try to make adjustments to compensate – such as less yeast and a shorter rise time, I am wondering if there are additional adjustments I should be making when using 100% whole wheat flour at a high altitude?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Amanda, I wouldn’t think you’d need to make any further adjustments than you already make; I believe at high altitude, you increase liquid anyway, so just increase it a bit more using whole wheat. I confess I’ve never been anyplace that’s high altitude (much less baked at high altitude), so I’m getting this information from others; let us know how it goes when you try it, OK? PJH

    2. Susan Reid

      Chiming in on the altitude question. PJ’s right about more liquid at altitude, and Amanda, you’ve got it right about cutting back on the yeast. One other thing you can do for better results at altitude is to do 3 rises, and use the refrigerator for the first two. Remember each rise is going to go faster than the one before.
      The cooler temps slow down the yeast and give the dough more time to develop better flavor. That extra time also gives the bran more time to absorb the liquid, which will make the dough and the finished product behave more like a white flour. The bakers I talked to when testing in Colorado also rely on our Bread Flour in combination with whole grains for better structure. Susan Reid

    3. Carlos

      So you do 3 – 40 minute rises and the first two you do completely in the fridge?
      Or do you do the rise at room temperature and then retard in fridge for a while?
      Great article PJ, very informative!!

  9. Carolyn

    One more question, if I’m allowed…. I have purchased from KAF the whole grain bread improver and vital wheat gluten and they really help my whole wheat bread rise better. But, I live in Canada, so (even though KAF customer service is fantastic) it’s a pain and expensive to get them. Your article doesn’t adress using these – does this mean with the changes you’ve identified these 2 product aren’t (as) necessary?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Carolyn, they’ll always help with the rise; and the bread improver will help with moistness of the crumb, too, as whole grain products can sometimes seem dry. How about if you do your own test – see what difference they make, side by side with a “control” loaf? That way you’ll know whether or not they’re worth the expense of getting them. BTW, sorry our Canadian service is more expensive – it’s those darned taxes… PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Could be… but graham flour is actually just red wheat flour ground a bit more coarsely. Thanks, Margy, for suggesting that, though – PJH

  10. sarah

    I am so glad to have recently discovered this blog. I will be a passenger on a 14 hour car ride soon and plan to pass the time reading all the past entries. I’ve been trying to bake whole grain yeast breads with varying results for the last two years. THANK YOU for this terrific information. I knew I was adding too much flour during kneading, but didn’t know how else to achieve a smooth dough…love the great tip about resting the dough. Can’t wait to try again.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We look forward to your successful results! Enjoy both the travel journey and the baking journey! Happy baking – Irene@KAF

  11. Amy

    You’re phenomenal and I love you all. I subbed KAF white whole wheat in for very nearly anything (Christmas cookies may be the one place for white flour) with excellent results; to be honest, I make all of my yeast doughs by feel and so end up adding that bit of extra liquid without even noticing it to make the dough texture feel right. I might offer that as a suggestion for experienced white flour bakers: use your hands and feel free to add liquid until the whole wheat dough feels supple. Now that I’ve moved overseas, I still read your blog for fun and education, but I must say, baking with whole wheat flour in New Zealand is a disaster! The flour simply isn’t up to even ordinary North American standards — let alone King Arthur ones — whole wheat contains large flecks of bran that I suspect have a dramatic impact on gluten formation, and my first several experiments have been unmitigated failures (including the WW biscotti that spread everywhere instead of properly holding their shape). If I only had your test kitchen (or could borrow PJ!) I’m sure I/we could figure it out; a shame I have neither!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      For those who are just starting out with white whole wheat in all purpose recipes – start with 25% WWW and see where the taste and texture takes you. We suggest using up to 50% WWW in an AP recipe – if you want to use more than that then use the WWW in a recipe written for whole wheat one for one. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    2. Briget

      You can try sifting out the large flecks of bran using a fine strainer. I grind my own wheat for flour and depending on what I’m baking I will sift the flour. For example, very fine with no bran for cakes.

  12. Amanda

    This is an incredibly timely post as I’ve just recently been playing with using your white whole wheat flour in various recipes. I’ve used it many times in recipes that specifically call for whole wheat flour, but never tried experimenting on my own before.

    I did a 2/3 white flour, 1/3 white whole wheat flour version of your English Muffin Toasting Bread and didn’t like the results. It was more crumbly, and the top crust in particular broke off nearly every time I cut off a slice. I suspect I let it rise too much – since it’s such a quick rise in general. It was well over the top of the bread pan when I put it into the oven. Does that make sense?

    I’ll try again with your tips this weekend!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Yes, that makes sense, Amanda – the longer you let bread rise, the more its gluten stretches, and the weaker it gets. That could cause it to crumble. Try letting it rise until it just crests the rim of the pan – I think you’ll get a better result. Good luck – PJH

  13. Sherri

    What a coincidence! I just bought a bag of your whole wheat flour yesterday to experiment with making whole wheat bread. My husband and I prefer whole wheat over white. One thing I am thinking of doing is to make the dough, let it rise once, then knead and shape into loaves, and then put into the freezer. Not having experimented with this before, are there any adjustments I might need to make so this will work and I won’t have to waste any of it?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sherri, you’ll probably have to make adjustments once you try it anyway; but putting dough in the freezer dries it out, so be generous with your liquid – err on the side of a sticky dough. Don’t freeze for longer than 4 weeks before using; and don’t let it rise at all once you’ve shaped it, pop it right into double plastic bags and freeze it (I assume it’ll already be in the pan). Good luck! PJH

  14. Carl Lori

    Another greater post PJ! I have experimented with other flours, just out of curiosity and there is a difference! I recently discovered the Red Star Platinum Yeast and was impressed with the results as it provided a superior rise and texture to my whole wheat and bread flour breads, be it by using my Zojirushi bread machine or by hand. Next is trying it in other yeast recipes. Unfortunately the store that did carry it has dropped it and hopefully I’ll find it somewhere else. I hope that you folks will consider carrying it in your line-up of yeasts. The SAF Gold is very good, but I find the Platinum a bit better. I haven’t used your dough enhancer and that may make the difference I’m looking for also. Again, thanks for the great blog and keep on bakin’!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Carol, I know we’ve tested the Platinum – let me see where we are with it, OK? As you’re finding, every little tweak (new yeast, different brand flour, more/less liquid) yields a slightly different result. It’s fascinating, isn’t it? As much the journey as the destination… Finally, thanks for your kind words – they’re much appreciated. PJH

    2. Carl

      Looking forward to your review and YES, it is so fascinating with each tweak. I got my passion for cooking and baking from my Grandpa Georg that came from Germany in 1936 with his immediate family. Grandpa was a cook in the German army during WWI and after attended a culinary school in Europe. When I was a little boy I so loved spending time with him in the kitchen as well as with my mother as she loved coking and baking, too. Come on folks, get those kids in the kitchen and have fun!

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      I agree, Carl – baking is a wonderful gift to pass along to the next generation – and the one after that, as well. I’ll bet your grandpa’s cooking style changed quite a bit from WWI to later in his life, eh? Thanks for sharing your memories here -PJH

  15. mumpy

    i’ve never been a fan of whole wheat, but the white wheat has made me a believer!….i use it (about 30 to 40 percent) in almost everything – bread, quick breads, rolls, muffins, cookies, even some cakes (spice cake, applesauce cake)….i always add a TBS of water for each cup of white wheat….i also like to ‘soak’ the wheat flour for about a half hour before i start the recipe, using the liquid from the recipe….if i’m using an overnight sponge, i use the white wheat for that, too…..i’ve had consistently good results and love the taste, texture, nutrition….white whole wheat flour is a wonderful product, and i think everyone should try it!

  16. Barbara

    PJ, thank you so much for this post. I have been trying to up the whole grains in my recipes, but didn’t always like the taste and texture differences. I stumbled on the orange juice trick somewhere a while ago, and it does help. But this is the best post I have seen anywhere on how to improve the texture and rising. In my own kitchen experiments I have been including an autolyse in my whole grained breads, even when the all-white flour recipe didn’t call for one. (I add the salt after the autolyse and before the kneading.) Did you try this, and do you think my results will get even better if I don’t wait to add the salt. My theory was that the salt was making the yeast work harder so it would be helpful to let the yeast get a head start. But having made one loaf where I accidentally forgot to add the salt (yuck), I am eager to try it your way!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Barbara, interestingly enough, the most recipe experiments our bakery has been doing with salt show that adding it or not adding it during the autolyse doesn’t seem to make any difference. So go ahead and add that salt – I hear you about forgetting to add it later (and I’ll bet your dough rose like crazy, didn’t it?) I didn’t compare a white flour autolyse to the whole wheat autolyse head to head – but I always get good results with whole wheat if I let it rest (autolyse + salt) before kneading. I like your idea about soaking the flour for better texture in the final loaf, too; that should help “tame” that sharp bran. Thanks for sharing your good ideas here! PJH

  17. Susan

    I use King Arthur bread flour as opposed to AP flour when baking breads/rolls/pizza dough since we like the “chew” the extra gluten/protein offers. Any advice regarding whole wheat flour substitutions, using more water, more rest time, etc., when using bread flour? Thanks!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      No changes necessary, Susan, if your recipe calls for bread flour. If it calls for all-purpose flour, and you substitute bread flour, then you’d want to add extra water – between 1-2 teaspoons per cup of bread flour, I’d guess. Then, if subbing whole wheat for all-purpose flour in the recipe as well, add the extra water for that, too. Hope this helps – PJH

  18. Bernat Bauçà Marroig

    First of all, thanks for your recipes. My name is Bernat, and we have an artisan bakery since 1852, five generations ago. I bake english toasting bread every day. My grandfather learnt to make it one hundred years ago, and its one of our specialities. I bake in the two ways, with white flour and with whole wheat one.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Wow, Bernat – that’s a wonderful family tradition! And how comforting, to bake English muffin toasting bread every day. I just baked another loaf today – and enjoyed two warm slices, one with butter and cheese, one with butter and cinnamon-sugar. Nothing better… Thanks for sharing here. PJH

  19. Carolyn

    Hi PJ — I did a test as you suggested – 3 loaves using a simple flour, water, salt and yeast recipe: 1 using just all purpose flour to give me a baseline to compare; 1 using 100% red whole wheat and 1 using 100% red whole wheat with the whole grain bread improver added. For both whole wheat loaves, I subbed in some OJ for the water, and also added 30 minutes rest time before kneading. After the first rise, all 3 loaves were pretty much the same. After the second rise, the WW with the bread improver was slighter higher than the regular WW bread. After baking, the AP loaf was about 30% higher than both whole wheat loaves. Both WW loafs were almost identical iin size. Cutting into the cooled WW loaves, both had an identical texture and taste. I’m still not a fan of 100% Whole Wheat loaves because of the grittiness of the flour, but the suggestions you made in your post (rest time and OJ) certainly improved the outcome. Thank you again for this wonderful post.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Wow, you’re ambitious, Carolyn – thanks so much for sharing here. I wonder, did you add extra water to the whole wheat loaves? I’ve found adding 2 to 3 teaspoons per cup of flour yields a softer dough and a better rise. Still, I agree; I find 50/50 bread – half all-purpose, half whole wheat – a nice compromise. Cheers! PJH

  20. 3petitsprinces

    Fabulous post, PJ! I am a long time lover of whole grains & have made my own bread for over a decade. Since I am a busy mom, I use my bread machine for both doughs & regular loaves (my family enjoyed homemade cinnamon rolls this morning, in fact!). I, too, grind my own wheat for the added nutritional benefits as well as adding variety to my family’s diet. Here is my question: I like to incorporate kamut & spelt in place of www or rwh. I find that kamut easily subs for the wheats but I find spelt to be slightly persnickety. Could you include a post in this series on using “alternative grains” such as kamut, splelt, rye, buckwheat, even Ezekiel grain? I realize I might be an outlier here with this request but I feel certain there are other bakers out there who have leaned to enjoy these grain varieties. Again, thank you so much for this series! I so enjoy this blog & have learned so much!

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      What a great idea for this or another series. I’ve sent PJ a heads up! ~ MJ

  21. FSCOTT

    SUPER helpful. I’ve just stumbled upon this site in the last few weeks as I tried my hand at pizza dough using bread flour (as opposed to an AP flour). Today, I went for the classic KA oatmeal bread recipe. And, now, I’m just totally inspired by all the beautiful pictures and detailed information and instructions on this blog. I’ve been using another flour brand since I started baking, but with this site, you’ve earned a new customer. Thanks!

  22. Anna

    Could you clarify please what flours were used? In your post you say you used “100% all-purpose flour; 50% all-purpose and 50% white whole wheat; and 100% white whole wheat flour” right above the English Muffin Toasting Bread, but then the rest of the post refers to 100% whole wheat. It’s a little confusing…
    Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      All the beauty shots on this blog were made using either 100% all purpose flour, 50% all purpose and 50% white whole wheat, or 100% white whole wheat. All the breads, loaves, rolls, pizza and cinnamon buns were made using these three variations. Usually the pictures line up this way – on the right side is the variation made with just all purpose flour, the center is the blend using half all purpose and half white whole wheat and the left picture is made with just white whole wheat flour. I hope this helps – happy baking! Irene@KAF

  23. Susan

    Hi PJ, always so happy to see and read your blogs, so much great information, thanks so much! I do have a question..5 yrs ago I had major heart surgery and had to dramatically change my diet, salt was the first thing to be greatlly reduced. I called your hotline and asked how much I could cut back on salt when baking bread, rolls, pizza etc. and still have a good product, and was told that I could cut the amount of salt by half, it has worked like a charm so far. I only use KAF flours and mostly the white flour. I will definitely be moving over to incorporating more white whole wheat into my baking. Would that salt rule apply in any and all cases while making some of the flour changes you have talked about in this blog? Again, thanks for all of your efforts!

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Susan,
      Yes, the salt rule is pretty much a standard and is especially true for yeast baking. In items that have baking soda and baking powder, you may be able to reduce the salt amount further. There are some great blogs and books these days on salt free baking, I’m sure your local library will be happy to help you find some. ~ MJ

  24. Possible_97

    Hi PJ,
    Thank you so much for all your research. I wish I’d read it before my own experimentation this weekend!
    I’m extremely new to sourdough bread making (I’ve been raising my own white starter for 3 weeks now and this is the first round of baking I’ve used it for) and thought I’d try out some different flours and ingredients.
    I made 8 loaves: 2 white with sunflower/pumpkin seeds, 2 white with fruit/nut, 2 whole wheat spelt flour, 2 whole wheat spelt with fruit/nut.
    Results: All white loaves had a good consistency to the dough, good rise (the seed loaf was slightly better than the fruit, but I’d also shaped them differently) and were light fluffy. The spelt, however, were not so great. The dough was stickier even though I used the same quantities as the white, and there was hardly any rise compared to the white. I had rested the dough for an hour before kneading and it was so wet I don’t think it could cope with the extra water mentioned above.
    If you have any ideas that’d be great!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Hi – Spelt is an interesting whole wheat flour – a native of Italy, we like to think of it as having the same mellow character as its native country! While its protein is high, its gluten is very relaxed, compared to regular whole wheat flour. I’d suggest you try using less liquid; kneading it less (its gluten is more prone to damage from its bran); and managing your expectations. Spelt will never “act” like typical whole wheat flour. We find it’s fine for pizza, bread sticks, focaccia, and other low-risers, but trying to make a tall loaf of bread with it – well as you saw, its mellow gluten simply can’t support a big rise. Hope this helps – PJH

  25. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez- SENAC- Petrópolis, R.J.-BRAZIL

    I really appreciate this kind of post.As a teacher on baking skills at SENAC School at Brazil, it´s really a good study material with a kind of challenge that is always big to my students when they think on baking with whole wheat flours. And this post is rich on turning all clearly!
    I work at a bakery inside small supermarket here at my city, and customers always ask for more 100% whole wheat breads. I decided months ago start baking here that Kaf´s recipe of 100% Whole Wheat Honey Bread that was anounced as a best wished of all the times! And incredibly, that bread surpassed all the others on best selling here, including the other whole wheats. I decided add much more water and increased the adding of honey even more to this recipe! This really turned my dough lightly, with great rise compared with normal water/honey ratio called on recipe. I often bake this bread with cinnamon and raisins here and the result if any extra water is added, is a shaggy, heavy bread. Another tip when you bake with cinnamon/raisins, and of course 100% whole wheat is to rest dough before knead,for 30 minutes, then after knead rest it for long time, and finally when i mold it inside pan, i give a final rising time of several hours under refrigeration, covered well. Often i do it and rest overnight under refrigeration.Inside pan. It rises nicely, and at next morning i have a nice crowned loaf! And of course flavors enhanced a lot!
    The choose of rest rising time refrigerated, is nice because we could even add less yeast to bread. Whole wheat breads contain an extra amount of wild yeast that comes added on bran, naturally. It contributes to a better flavored bread. One of best posts in months!!!!

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      It is always so nice to hear from you, and thanks so much for sharing your experiences Ricardo. It’s like having another test baker, just a little further away. 🙂

      ~ MJ

  26. Barbara

    Hi PJ, I so appreciate your taking the time to post and ANSWER all our questions. I am back to baking my own bread nearly every other day and I will tell you my tummy is very happy. Got a bit lazy along the way and bought store bread and paid for it in many ways. Making your own food in every way possible is the only way to go. Thanks for your wonderful advice always.

  27. Pat M.

    PJ, thank you so much for this post, I learned so much. I am on a restricted low carb diet but love homemade bread….when using the 50/50 flours how do I calculate the carbs per slice ? Again, thanks for your posts.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Pat,
      If you use a free online nutritional calculator, you can just enter all of the ingredients separately and get the total for the recipe. has a nice calculator we’ve found to be quite accurate. ~ MJ

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      I’d assume an online nutrition analysis program would give you this information – I’d help you if I could, but I don’t have access to such a program. If you find a program, the white wheat can be entered as “whole wheat” – it’s nutritionally the same as any other whole wheat. Good luck – PJH

  28. Lynnette

    I found your article to be very informative. Thank you for all the research you have done to bring it to us. I make whole wheat bread all the time. I have used your King Arthur whole wheat flour for a long time, and I love it. However, I have a big supply of wheat that I felt I should start using, and I have a wheat grinder; so I have started grinding my own wheat and using it to make my bread. (Sorry, but I buy many of your other items). I have realized through the years that the wheat flour absorbs more liquid just as your article stated; but I have always just added less flour. I really like your idea of adding more liquid. I usually mix enough dough to make 2 loaves of bread. To my original recipe I recently have started adding 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten, 1/4 cup dough enhancer, 1/2 tsp. citric acid, and 1 lecithin granules. I add a little more water to compensate for the added dry ingredients. The texture of my whole wheat bread is amazing!! It has made such a big difference to add these last four items. Thank you again for this amazingly informative article!! I can hardly wait to refer it to my baking friends.

  29. Maxine Slater

    I was so delighted to find the recipe for English Muffin Bread! I used to bake my bread, but had to quit when I could no longer stand long enough. The muffin bread, since it requires no kneading is perfect! The last time I did it I used half whole wheat flour, and it was just as good. Now, because of your experimenting I already know what to do in order for it to come out right when I make it from all whole wheat. Thanks so much!

  30. pauline kalish

    Thank you for this, I found it a wonderful read. About a year ago I switched to baking only sourdough breads using a wild yeast starter .I have been experimenting with feeding the”mother “different flours. I have found the best results with 100%organic whole wheat, it seems to become very active and strong .For years now I have been using a combination of white AP and whole wheat in all my baked goods and find the new white whole wheat hard to get used to . Do you know if the protein content is the same? I love talking to other passionate bakers!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Pauline, yes, the protein content is the same. That said, even though the protein percentage is the same, protein may differ from wheat to wheat. Witness spelt: its protein is very “mellow,” and despite being a high percentage of the grain berry, doesn’t produce high-rising bread. I hope you’re able to adjust to our white wheat – it’s my favorite flour, and I can use it in just about anything. Thanks for offering your feedback here – PJH

  31. cynthlcs

    Thank You! What an informative post. I have recently started to grind some of my own grain without much success (the loaves turned out more like door stops) Will try your idea of using a 50/50 blend and a little more water. Letting the dough rest before kneading is ingenious ! Cant wait to try this new method..

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Freshly ground grain acts differently than bagged flour – to me, it seems more vibrant, with marvelous flavor; but can also be somewhat harder to work with (it’s called “bucky” in the trade). Good luck with your experiments – glad we could help. PJH

  32. awesomelymaid

    Great article – fantastic information – and pictures you just want to eat. Am eager to make the switch to white whole wheat. Have a cool rise recipe that everyone loves. Can i substitute one-for-one white whole wheat for the all purpose flour the recipe calls for?

    Also, cannot believe no one so far has asked if you are willing to share your grandmother’s fleshed-out recipe with the rest of us. Love old recipes!

    Thanks for a wonderful post..

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can, but you may want to use 50/50 like the blog suggests for a better rise. Also, make sure to use all of the tips PJ has mentioned. Jon@KAF

  33. Monica

    What a great comprehensive study/write-up! I also want to incorporate more whole wheat flour into my baking and do generally substitute up to half of it in place of white flour. It’s great to know this can be done in all these recipes without a significant change in result. Thank you for all this information!

  34. Pamela

    Terrific article! Thank you for an informative and easy to understand way to substitute whole wheat in recipes calling for all purpose flour.

  35. Cynthia

    I’ve learned a lot from this article and thank you! I am a very enthusiastic user of KAF’s White Whole Wheat flour and generally do the 50/50 approach with KAF All-Purpose Flour. I stumbled upon an absolutely fabulous pie crust recipe several months ago — it is the Chickens in the Road Foolproof Pie Crust recipe at and I make it with the 50/50 WWW flour and AP flour division. Fantastic — very flaky, tasty, and forgiving. So, thanks to this recipe and your great flours, I won my first-ever pie contest last August with a peach pie! Thanks for such an educational and entertaining blog.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Great connections, Cynthia! Many bakers find egg and vinegar included in pie crust recipes helps them develop some success and confidence when embarking on the pie crust journey. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  36. John Spadaro

    This was fantastic,I really learned a lot about flour ,My only disappointment was you didn’t include the reciptes for the rolls, bread, etc .thanks again ..John

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      John, three of the recipes are linked from the top of the post, directly under the main photo, as well as from the body of the blog. My grandma’s recipe is reproduced in a photo; so the only recipe not linked is Wolfgang Puck’s pizza crust, which you can find in our recent pizza blog. Hope this helps – PJH

  37. Crystal

    Wish I would have seen this last night, I have 4 5lbs bags of flour in the house, White Whole Wheat and Whole Wheat, I made what came out as a brick with the White Whole Wheat, next time I will try a 50/50 ratio with standard A-P

  38. Matt

    Early on, the comparison is 100% white (AP)) vs. 50/50 AP/white whole wheat vs. 100% white whole wheat. But in most of the remaining comparisons and discussion, it appears to be AP vs. whole wheat (not white whole wheat) comparisons. Did the author change the flours being compared or was there a typo (or typos). Not clear.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Matt, here’s what I wrote up front: “In all cases, I’m comparing the same recipe made using 100% all-purpose flour; 50% all-purpose and 50% white whole wheat; and 100% white whole wheat flour.” For the cinnamon rolls, I did an additional test comparing red whole wheat to white whole wheat; but white whole wheat was the whole wheat of choice everywhere else. Hope this helps – PJH

  39. Judy

    I’m learning that understanding the science behind baking is critically important to success. You’ve done a great job (and service to amateur bakers like me!) explaining some of the mysteries of baking using whole wheat flour. Thanks so much.

    I like to bake challah and my family likes it on the sweet side. Sometimes my challahs are too cake-like and dense. I’d like a more chewy or toothsome texture with some larger CO2 holes similar to the challahs one used to be able to buy in a bakery. Can you make some suggestions on the the KAF flour I should use? Can I also use the white whole wheat flour?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If your challah is too dense, it is likely a little too stiff. You may want to make a slighter softer dough.~Jaydl@KAF

  40. Pauline Kalish

    P.j. I took your advice and tried using the white whole wheat in place of ww. I also used Kaf bread flour instead of ap in my ww sourdough..the loaves came out much higher and quite lovely! Too bad there isn’t a place for posting photo’s.I am now going to experiment with the white whole wheat in other recipes.thanks again!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Pauline, we hope to redesign our recipe section soon to include reader-submitted photos – we love to see them! In the meantime, post it to our Facebook page, if you’d like – I’d love to see that beautiful loaf! PJH

  41. Richard PN

    Thanks, PJ and all KAF staff and owners for a very inspiring community of dedication to the art, science and business of baking. I have come twice to your Baking School from Santa Monica, California and was much enriched by the experience. Mainly, I bake bread, a large percentage of which is sourdough. I use many King Arthur products and also grind my own grain, partly for fun and partly for freshness. That raises two questions. Do you have any experience regarding the benefits of freshly ground flour? Negative notes? Two, Briget mentioned the use of a sifter to remove some bran from home ground flour. I wish to do that but can’t seem to find good info regarding the fineness of the screen. Numbers such as 30, 60, 230, etc., baffle me. Guidance will be much appreciated.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Richard, I’ve baked with freshly ground wheat. It makes a wonderful, high-rising loaf with great flavor. As I recall, the hydration needs to be a bit different, but I’m sure you’ve figured that out. Freshly ground grain retains all of its nutrients. If you bake with it right away it makes a great loaf; but if you wait even a day, its baking qualities start to become inconsistent, until about 3 weeks after being ground, when it all settles down again; so keep that in mind, OK? As for sifting bran – I found this on a mill site, explaining the numbers attached to sifters: “Mesh size is the number of openings in the screen, in each direction, from center to center of parallel filaments or wires per linear inch. For instance, a 30-mesh screen has 30 openings per linear inch.” So the higher the number, the finer the screen. And the finer the screen, the less bran you’ll have in your flour (but the longer it’ll take to sift). So it sounds like some experimenting is in order… Good luck – PJH

    2. Richard PN

      Thanks, PJ, you are blessing to us. I will use the info to find a screen, altho when i grind extremely fine the bran is so small it is almost invisble. Still want to sift, tho!

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Thanks, Richard. The way they remove bran at the mill is way more complicated than anything you can do at home, but it’s still worth doing what you can, if you want to lessen the fiber in your flour. Good luck – PJH

  42. Pat

    Thanks sooooo much for the transition information from A.P. flour to Whole Wheat!!!. One question please, PJ, I have made the English Muffin recipe that is baked on top of the stove and they are very good. Can i use the 50/50 ratio in this recipe?

  43. Charlie B

    I would like to use more whole wheat flour in baking bread, but I have not been very successful. After reading this I tried mixing white whole wheat and KAF bread flour, and was pleased with the results. Like reader Amy P I also weigh my flour, so I was surprised when you said whole wheat weighs only 4 oz per cup. I did a little experiment and found that sifted AP flour was 4 oz per cup; not sifted, but slightly fluffed AP weighed 4.5 oz; white whole wheat and Organic bread flour came in at 4.75 oz per cup. I verified the accuracy of my electronic scale with known weights so I’m curious how the weight of flour in your kitchen can be that different from mine.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That is why we encourage folks to weigh ingredients if possible. I could measure 1 c. of all purpose flour by volume the way we recommend to and so could you and we may arrive at a different weight. I have 2 small kids and they have grown up scaling so at least we can control that part of the outcome! Haha! The conversions from volume to weight found on our Ingredients weight chart is most helpful. The information is what our Product Developers in our test kitchen signed off on as a guide to our recipe conversions. I am hopeful they will include grams in the future. Other recipe authors/cookbooks will have their own technique for measuring flour and claims for what 1 cup of all purpose flour should weigh. For best results, adjust your scaling to suit their recipes, Ok Charlie? Elisabeth@KAF

  44. Lori Menz

    PJ, I was wondering if you are willing to share your grandmothers’ white bread recipe, revised version with me. We are white bread fanatics and I have yet to bake a loaf like that one with the fine crumb and great rise that I see in the pictures. I think whole wheat bread is an acquired taste, but each to their own. I enjoyed all the info though, keep up the good work. I use potato water when making ciabatta ,great holes in the loaf. I make light and airy buns but have no success with bread, can I use my bun recipe to make loaves of bread? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Lori

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lori, Here’s the formula I came up with: 1 cup (8 ounces) unseasoned mashed potato; 1 cup of the potato water (water in which the potato was boiled) 2 cups lukewarm milk; 2 tablespoons instant yeast; 3 tablespoons sugar; 1 tablespoon + 3/4 teaspoon salt; and 9 cups of flour. That’s right, there’s no fat in these loaves beyond what’s in the milk; so I suggest using whole milk. Mixed, kneaded, rose in the bowl, deflated, shaped, put into my 9″ x 4″ loaf pans (you could use 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ or 9″ x 5″, though the 9″ x 5″ will make a shorter, wider loaf). Let rise until light, then baked at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown. Sorry I can’t be more specific; I didn’t write down all the details. Good luck, and enjoy! PJH

    2. Sherry

      PJ, I would like to make your grandmother’s recipe but reduce it to 3 cups flour to make in the ZO, how much would the yeast be reduced? Thank you.

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Sherry- For a 3 cups of flour recipe, 1 1/2t of yeast should be a good amount to work well for your machine. Happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  45. Gene

    I was very happy to see this posting. It has much information I was looking for. I bake a variety of different breads and your Harvest Grains Bread is one of my favorites. Being in the process of converting as many bread recipes as possible to 100% whole grain I would appreciate it if you could inform me as to what modifications I would need to make to convert the recipe to 100% whole wheat flour. Thank you and keep up the good work.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Gene, follow the directions in this blog about substituting whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour. To make it 100% whole grain, you’ll want to adjust the liquid a bit, and wait 30 minutes before kneading. I also suggest using white whole wheat – it’s really tasty. Good luck – PJH

  46. Terry

    This article is an outstanding contribution, thank you so much. I hope you won’t get tired of hearing that! I have been putting together a “family cookbook” for our kids (not for publication), and would love to include this therein. May I do so, giving credit where due of course? Also, Might this (and some of your other articles) be available in PDF format? Thanks!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Terry, I’m sorry, these aren’t in PDF format – though we’ve been thinking about e-books a lot lately… Of course, I’d be honored for you to share this with your kids – no credit needed. And thanks so much for taking the time to connect here – PJH

  47. Olubukola Olabisi

    This is a very informative article. I have never read a comprehensive one like this before. Thanks sooooooo much!

  48. Ping

    What if it’s by weight? Is it the same one for one substitution?
    Example: if a recipe calls for 8oz AP flour, I’d use 4oz AP flour and 4oz white whole wheat flour?
    Also, what if it’s whole wheat pastry flour that I’d like to use? Do I substitute one for one in weight and volume as well – 4oz AP and 4oz whole wheat pastry?


    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Though ww and AP weigh very slightly different (4 ounces/cup vs. 4 1/4 ounces/cup), substituting half of each, by weight, is fine. Basically the same with ww pastry flour, though since it’s lower protein, you may need to lower the liquid in the recipe a bit, or use a bit more ww pastry flour. PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Lorraine-
      Generally, because bread doughs are so stiff an heavily kneaded, the flour will thoroughly incorporate so there is usually no need to sift. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call our Baker’s Hotline at 855-371-2253. Happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  49. usha rege

    A very interesting article. In India we normally eat whole grain wheat flour, for making flat breads, we call them Chapatties. I love to bake breads & experiment a lot with it.My grand children love to eat foccacia as I make it. I call it indianisation of Italian bread. In the dough I add finally chopped 1/2 green chillies(depending on the quantity of the flour) 2/3 chopped basil leaves, 2/3 fresh green cloves of garlic a 2 inch piece of celery .I had tried 50/50 method of whole wheat flour & all purpose flour. The results were quite good. While adding water i do not measure it, I go by the feel of it.As for making chapatties, we have to knead flour every day, so we do get a good idea of how much water is needed, for soft chapatties also we need a very soft & pliable dough.I use the same logic while making bread. Your article is very enlightening. Thanks a lot for it.I will definitely try to make a 100% whole wheat bread.U.R.

  50. Caroline Owens

    Homemade whole wheat bread is sweeter and, as you note, a different flavor. It takes getting used to after living on white bread all one’s life.

  51. Bekki

    Loved this article! My favorite 100% wheat hack is baking bread loaves in parchment lined graniteware chicken roasters instead of loaf pans (Bonus–the pans are inexpensive). Before popping on the lid, spritz the risen loaf liberally with water. Because the bread steam bakes, the crusts are thin and crackly instead of thick, tough, or bitter and the crumb is soft and chewy.

  52. LC

    I’ve subbed traditional whole wheat 100% for AP in banana bread, blondies, and oatmeal-chocolate chip muffins with great success, no other modifications.

    For challah, I use about 1/2 bread flour and 1/2 white ww. Best suggestion I’ve seen probably has the same basis as your observations of longer rise, more liquid for 100% ww subs: mix the whole wheat flour, liquids, sugar, salt, yeast and let it sit and rise 1 hour before adding the AP or bread flour, then follow original recipe for kneading/rising/shaping.

  53. Daniel Burstiner

    Excellent article! My wife pointed me to this article and since it’s so long, it took me a while to decide to read it. Now that I have, I’m so glad I did. My son is a Johnson & Wales graduate with a Bachelor’s in Baking & Pastry and worked at Bouchon Bakery in Napa, CA (Head Baker before he left). He’s taught me how to bake at home. Many times he’s suggested substituting wheat to make healthier bread but I’m intimidated! THis article helped me a lot and I will try some of this now, with his guidance. Coincidentally, he’ll be visiting me this week and I can try some with him here. Thanks for a great article!

  54. Don Herman

    Tremendously helpful! I’ve made cinnamon rolls with whole wheat before, and they turned out OK, but using these tips will make them so much better.

  55. Lois Jones

    I am under the impression that 50-50 white flour and white whole wheat flour are acceptable in sticky buns and pretzels. Is that to say that all white whole wheat would result in a disappointing product? I am not really a baker so need all the help I can get, but am trying to cut back on white flour.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Lois, you can certainly adjust your favorite recipe using 100% white whole wheat flour in place of the white flour, but you will want to follow the suggestions for 100% whole grain adjustments (adding extra liquid and allowing the dough to rest before kneading). The 50/50 blend was used in this experiment simply to provide a middle ground for comparison between the all purpose and the whole wheat baked goods–which isn’t to say that white whole wheat flour would not produce a tasty, healthy final product too. Happy whole grain baking! –Kye@KAF

  56. kathy

    Are there any other modifications you would make for high altitude (6200 ft) on these recipes.I sure have been feeding a lot of my flops to the ducks…Thanks.

  57. Pam

    Wonderful, step-by-step explanation of your experiments, P.J. Thank you! I was taught in Culinary School that whole wheat flour, with its bran & germ ground in, has sharp little edges that “cut” the elastic fibers that developing gluten needs to hold the CO2 in, making for the shorter rise. Is this true or just CIA urban legend? Can’t wait to try your formulas!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This is true, Pam. However, if you allow the whole wheat rich dough to sit for 30 minutes after mixing, but before kneading, this will allow the bran to fully hydrate and will somewhat mitigate this effect. The result is a more productive kneading process, and hopefully a better rise.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      David, you can try adding a teaspoon of vital wheat gluten for each cup of whole wheat flour used. But I don’t think it’s necessary; try it without first, see what you think. Good luck – PJH

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      David, I would recommend adding 1-2 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to your whole wheat bread doughs. It will strengthen the bread’s structure while lightening texture and promoting a good rise. Hope this helps. Happy Baking!JoAnn@KAF

  58. Laura

    Thank you for all the great information, I just bought a few packages of King Arthur Bread Flour is there a secret on when to used this flour when the recipe just calls for All Purpose Flour?
    Thank you

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It’s fine to substitute your bread flour into bread, roll and pizza recipes that call for all purpose flour, Laura, although you may notice a slightly chewier final product. Our bread flour has a protein content of 12.7%, while our AP flour has 11.7% protein. This means the bread flour will develop more gluten and absorb a bit more liquid than all purpose flour. We recommend adding an extra tablespoon of liquid to the recipe for each cup of bread flour substituted. Barb@KAF

  59. Barry Ecker

    So, I was looking for a recipe for whole wheat brioche and I could not find one that was set up for bread machines. Using these two bread machine recipes:

    Brioche 3lb.

    ½ cup skim milk
    4 eggs
    1 cup butter
    2 tsp. salt
    ½ cup white sugar
    4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    4 tsp. instant yeast

    Honey Whole Wheat 3lb.

    2 ¼ cups water
    6 cups whole wheat flour
    ¾ cup vital wheat gluten
    ½ cup honey
    3 tsp. table salt
    3 tblsp. Butter
    2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast

    I came up with this:

    Honey Whole Wheat Brioche 3lb.

    3 ¾ tablespoons water
    ½ cup milk
    4 eggs
    1 cup butter
    2 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup honey
    4 ½ cups whole wheat flour
    3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
    1 7/8 tsp. instant yeast

    Did I get the amount of yeast, gluten, and water right?

  60. David Staddon

    I really like the way you write your posts. Fun to read 🙂 Thanks for the info in this post. It is very helpful!

  61. SHEILA

    Been baking with whole wheat flour for decades (yikes!) now. The appearance of KA white whole wheat really made it easy to substitute ww for white in everything I bake with little or no adjustments….except yeast recipes. I made the Cinna Buns yesterday and was concerned because the first rise took hours – even in the oven on “proof” (100 degrees). No matter, the dough was beautiful and cooperative when rolling out. Decided to refrigerate and bake in the morning. No rising at all in the fridge. Again, took hours (2) to rise on the proof setting. Even then, not very puffy but getting impatient so I baked them. 375 degrees (glass pan) about 17 minutes. Heavenly!! That glaze is amazing! Did not see this article until the second rise. Will definitely try them next time. Your results look impressive.

  62. Pius kamau

    1. How can prepare pastry items
    in this case using different methods
    2. How to prepare two types of yeast items using wheat flour.

    i feel dope with all ur presentation and knowedge giving.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, it sounds like you might find the information in these other resources helpful to get you started. Here’s a link to the articles on our blog that look at different kinds of pastry (choux pastry, puff pastry, laminated dough, and more).
      And secondly, here’s a link to our full Yeast Baking 101 Guide, which is packed with tips about using yeast successfully. Please let us know if there’s something else you’re looking for. Kye@KAF

  63. Sylvia B

    Thank you for this in depth post. I read it this weekend and then had the hardest time finding it again. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. I have just purchased a grain mill and am trying to transition to using whole grains in my recipes. My first try was delicious, but did not rise well. I know I added too much flour. I was using the weight for bread flour, not whole wheat. I did use hard white wheat berries and found the taste to be delicious. I’ll give it another try this weekend with your excellent tips including letting it rest before kneading and adding more water.

  64. Ailene

    I LOVE this post! I’ve been wanting to eat more whole grains, but it has been a learning curve (since I’m already amazing at cooking with white flour). I am definitely saving this for future reference!

  65. Connie

    I do not have a comment but a question. I accidentally bought stone ground whole wheat flour and because of its grainy texture am not sure what to do with it. If I use it in a traditional recipe will it have a grainy texture?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Connie, just because the flour is stone ground doesn’t mean it will necessarily have a gritty texture. Some of our White Whole Wheat Flour is stone ground, and it has quite a pleasant texture. Try using your flour in place of the White Whole Wheat Flour in any of these tasty recipes. Try to choose recipes that also use at least half all-purpose flour to offset some of the whole wheat flavor. Kye@KAF

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