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White Whole Wheat Flour… Is It White, or Is It Whole Wheat?

Picture source: Flickr, by GrongarI can’t remember exactly when I first saw King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour. A couple of years ago? My mother-in-law had bought it and started baking with it, and she asked me what I thought about its nutrition profile. Is it really whole wheat?

I have to admit I was a little skeptical at the beginning. I thought it was another product with a confusing name, label, or claim that intended to make people believe something that is not.

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After some research, I found out that in fact, this type of flour is whole wheat. While the term “white”–as in white bread or white flour–usually means processed and refined flour, the term “white” in this product refers to the type of wheat kernel. There’s red wheat and white wheat. Traditional whole wheat flour comes from red wheat, and that’s why it’s darker in color and heavier in texture. This type of whole wheat comes from white wheat that’s lighter in color and texture.

The result: baked goods that are high in fiber and nutrition, but resemble baked goods made from the processed flour in terms of texture and color.

Sounds like a good deal for many consumers who want the nutrition but can’t just yet get used to baking with whole wheat.

On their website, King Arthur says about this White Whole Wheat flour:

Milled from white whole wheat, rather than red, unbleached King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour has all the fiber and nutrition of traditional whole wheat, with milder flavor and lighter color. Thus, white whole wheat is a great way to add whole grains to your family’s diet…We find that in cookies, muffins, pancakes and quick breads, using white whole wheat flour in place of the entire amount of all-purpose flour yields a baked treat that’s just as tasty as the original, with the benefit of increased fiber, vitamins and minerals.

According to North Dakota State University Extension Services, white wheat is new to the US but not to the rest of the world. It’s the major type grown in China, South Asia, and Australia.

The Wheat Foods Council confirms what King Arthur’s website says about whole white wheat flour nutrition and texture and adds that it’s sweeter in taste. It’s supposed to be available as whole-kernels, flour, bran, and bulgur forms in supermarkets, health food stores, bulk bin commodity stores, mills, and on the internet. I have only seen it as flour but plan on looking for the rest of the variations when I’m back in Virginia.

Similar to traditional wheat, white wheat comes in soft and hard variations. Soft has a lighter protein content and is better for cakes and pastries. Hard wheat has more protein and is better for bread making.

Why I like it:

  1. Sweeter, so will need less sugar or other sweeteners when baking.
  2. While when using traditional, or red, whole wheat, I always have to mix whole wheat with processed wheat, I can make baked goods with 100% whole grain using whole wheat wheat flour.

I have used whole white wheat flour in making pizza dough and bread-like pastries. Sadly, I have not posted those recipes. Recipes I made and posted with whole white wheat flour:

Recipes I found online with white whole wheat flour:

Have you baked with white whole wheat flour before? Have you used other forms of white wheat (kernels, bulgur, or bran)? Please post a link to recipes you made or found!

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11 thoughts on “White Whole Wheat Flour… Is It White, or Is It Whole Wheat?”

  1. I LOVE King Arthus White Whole Wheat flour! I use it for all of my baked goods, but its especially nice when you want the final product to be light in color, like my Lemon Poppy Bars.

    I also use it for fruit cobblers and Chocolate Chippers. I don’t want to post too many links and end up in your spam folder! 😉 You can see all the recipes here: http://askgeorgie.com/?page_id=829.

    Sometimes I see it labeled as whole wheat pastry flour, like Bob’s Red Mill, but it’s made from white whole wheat according to the package, and has the same characteristics of the King Arthur Flour.

    Great article!

    Georgie Fear RD

  2. I just discovered this flour a few months ago and I love it! I have been using it in my baking with very good results. Thanks for doing the research – I will keep on using it.

  3. Thanks for introducing me to this product! While I don’t eat wheat, this is something I can recommend to my clients. Many of them cook/bake with whole wheat and like you, they mix half and half (or else you know how nasty it can be!). This sounds like good stuff.

  4. Nour El-Zibdeh, RD

    Georgie: Thanks for the comment and the info on recipes. Will definitely go check them out.

    Krystal: Thanks for the comments. I have no problem baking with traditional whole wheat either, but my friends and family don’t always like the results 🙂

    Reeni: I’m glad to hear you use it and like it. All your baking looks delicious. That’s a great sign!

    Candid RD: thanks for the comment. It can be heart recommending products if you don’t personally use them. That would be my problem if I have to suggest gluten-free. I guess I’ll ask you!

    Allison: Thank for the comment. Those brownies look amazing! Thanks for sharing…

  5. Pingback: Avoiding Everything White: Myth or True? : Practical Nutrition

  6. I’m so glad you did this post! I purchased King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat flour by mistake one day. Somehow I missed the word “white,” only noticing it once I got home. I’ve been baking with it since I bought it, but I’ve had it in my head that it is somehow less nutritious and planned to buy regular whole wheat next time. I’m so glad to read that this is not the case! 😀

  7. Nour El-Zibdeh, RD

    Yes Andrea, that was my first impression too until I did the research. It’s made from white wheat, but it’s whole. keep baking!

  8. I have been off processed carbs for more than 4 months, and that means mainly no wheat in all its types. Yesterday i was out of options and ended up eating what the waiter said is whole wheat pasta, lets call it brown pasta. And my question is, how ‘processed’ is whole wheat products such as pastas and breads or homemade pastas from whole wheat. Especially in Jordan not USA so the products differ. Am i safe eating whole wheat or brown breads and pastas or am i still eating in that case processed carbs? thanks

    1. Hi Farah, I consider all breads and pastas processed. You get more nutrition from other carb sources like potato and sweet potato with the skin, fruit, beans, lentils, or oats. When it comes to being ‘safe’ or not, it’s going to depend on your health and situation. If you have celiac disease for example, or wheat sensitivity, then it’s not safe because it’s a wheat product that could trigger an immune reaction. If you don’t have these and avoiding processed carbs for general health and wellness, you could always enjoy a meal once a week or part of a meal and not stress about it. As long as it’s not a regular part of your diet. I can’t speak about the wheat in Jordan vs the US since I don’t have enough information about that. I was under the impression that some of the US in Jordan is imported from the US.

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