White Whole Wheat versus Regular Whole Wheat
Like most of the rest of the country, we’ve been getting some cooler weather here in Denver. When that happens, I like to fire up the kitchen and start baking. I noticed I was running low on bread, so I decided to check out this Easy Whole Wheat Bread Recipe. And for kicks, I decided to try two different types of flour: My regular Hungarian Stone Ground Whole Wheat; and this new King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour. I’ll show you the interesting results.
I find bread making to be meditative. There are bursts of activity, then hours of doing other things, then more activity, then more quiet. I don’t mind tackling a complicated recipe now and then – with butter just the right consistency, or eggs that are mixed in one at a time, or honey or molasses or agave syrup! It’s fun to find out what the concoction actually tastes like when you’re done.
But when you want a basic, easy sandwich bread for the family, this is my go-to recipe. I modified it from a white flour recipe, so it has more liquid than the original. It makes two loaves.
Easy Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 3 Tbl organic sugar
- 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 F), PLUS two tsp per cup of whole wheat, or 1 tsp per cup of white whole wheat
- 3 Tbl softened lard or oil
- 1 Tbl salt
- 6 1/2 cups flour
I use a Kitchenaid stand mixer, so in the mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Stir in the lard, salt and two cups of flour + additional teaspoons of water – depending on the type of flour you’re using. Beat well until mixed. Then add the remaining flour, one cup at a time with the extra water.
Once the dough gets too thick for the mixing paddle, switch to the dough hook (for me it’s about that last 2 cups). Knead the dough with the dough hook for about 5 minutes – or by hand on a floured surface for 8 minutes. If the dough looks like the surface is tearing and unelastic, add more water. If it feels sticky to the touch, even after kneading, add a pinch more flour. The finished product should be smooth and elastic.
(TIP: If you’re using a stand mixer like mine, you can keep the dough from climbing up the hook by cutting the dough in half just before you really get into kneading. Working on 1 loaf at a time will save you a lot of headaches.)
Grease another large bowl and place the kneaded bread inside, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Place a damp towel or plastic wrap over the bowl and set it in a warm-ish place to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size. If you’re in a hurry and want it to get to the next step fast, you can turn on your oven for a few minutes, then turn it OFF and place the bowl inside. I prefer to spend an hour working on something else!
Punch the dough down and place it on a lightly floured surface. (I have a bread board I inherited from Dwaine’s mother – just a nice, large board I store in a little niche between the fridge and the wall.) Divide the dough into to pieces and form into elongated loaves.
Place the loaves into greased 9X5″ loaf pans. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let them rise again until double in volume – about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Just as you place the loaves in the oven, lower the temp to 375 F. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
As I mentioned above, I’m testing my regular whole wheat flour against this new King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour. The regular whole wheat is made with red winter wheat; the King Arthur is made from the whole grain of a white wheat.
The color is not markedly different, as you can see. So if you’re trying to fool the kids with something that’s going to come out looking like store-bought white bread – it’s not going to work! But there are big differences in using the product.
I found the regular whole wheat flour needed twice as much additional water as the white whole wheat – and even that might not have been enough. The white whole wheat bran is more delicate and light than the red whole wheat, so it doesn’t need to absorb quite so much moisture.
Kneading the regular whole wheat dough was far more laborious than the white whole wheat. I almost couldn’t tell a difference between working with it and with regular unbleached flour. Huge benefit for those with achy hands!
Texture-wise, you can see that the regular whole wheat on the left is a bit more “rugged” than the white whole wheat on the right. Personally, I like a bread with some heft, but the white whole wheat will give you a lighter, airy loaf:
You can see that the white whole wheat on top is rising much higher than the regular whole wheat on the bottom. The finished loaves reflect this, too:
The loaf is definitely “lighter” in color, but no one will be fooled into thinking is regular white bread!
Ahh, but the real test is the taste and again, you’ll see a marked difference. The King Arthur White Whole Wheat bread has a much lighter, less bran-y flavor than the regular whole wheat – by FAR. With the loaves rising higher, you get a much lighter, airier slice of bread. It holds together superbly – great for a sandwich.
Nutrition-wise, the white whole wheat contains 4 grams of dietary fiber per 1/4 cup, there the regular whole wheat contains 3 grams! That surprised me.
I highly recommend both flours – I’ve used them both and they work very well for me. But if you don’t normally care for whole wheat, give the white whole wheat a try. It may surprise you!