Holiday Baking with Whole Grains

I was thrilled to see that Organic whole wheat flour is offered as a special order item at the CSA.  The bags are 50lbs and cost $38.  Email shares@beneficialfarm.com to place an order or find out more information.

I bake with whole grains, mostly whole wheat.  My sister is editor of a baking magazine and converted me to whole grains about two years ago.  It is definitely a switch that needs some great recipes, tips and techniques.  Flour has a lot of properties that impact the baked goods and whole grains absorb more liquid than all-purpose flour.  It is an art to change a recipe from all-purpose to whole grain.  Luckily, there are a lot of cookbooks and websites that have recipes that have already been converted.

As part of a group in Santa Fe, I have been holding whole grain baking parties at my house to discuss baking and give tips for holiday items.  I will start sharing those tips on the blog.  Many of them will have links to flour companies where I learned the ideas. Click on the underlined text to see those websites.  I encourage you to send more tips and ideas that have worked for you!  Members always have the best ideas.

Amy Hetager, CSA Blogger

Whole Grain Baking Tips

Whole grains are a healthier choice, but when baking sweet treats they need a little extra help to have the lovely texture of white flour.  Why is that?  The entire grain is included which will add coarser materials.  Whole grains can include: wheat, oat, spelt, Kamut, rice, rye, or buckwheat.  You can mix several flours to make a better texture.  If you are not gluten-free, mix in all-purpose flour to add some gluten which will add nice texture.

Whole wheat flour includes the germ, endosperm, and bran.  These make it feel heavier and coarser.  The bran in wheat flour cuts the glutens, making a denser baked product.  There are tips for wheat, most from King Arthur Flour and Bob’s Red Mill and both of these sites are filled with recipes.

  1. Add 2 tblsp orange juice per cup of flour and allow to soak for 30 minutes.  This does not change the flavor to orange and makes the product less bitter.
  2. Mix flours, such as whole grain, all-purpose and cornmeal to let other glutens into the baked goods.
  3. Let whole grain baked goods rest for 24 hours after baking to soften the texture.
  4. In baking bread, add orange juice, powdered milk and instant potatoes to achieve a softer texture.

Use white whole wheat flour, which is from a white wheat that has a lighter texture, so it would be like whole wheat mixed with all-purpose.  King Arthur Flour has this available online and you can see the shopping section below for Santa Fe tips.

I have been able to find a large variety of whole grain flours at the Coop in Santa Fe.  They carry Bob’s Red Mill as well as more local flours in the bulk section.  I recently bought Kamut flour which can be used for gluten-free baking and is the closest in cooking properties to whole wheat.  I will write more on that flour in a future blog post.

The King Arthur flour is available at several stores and I usually find mine at Smith’s for the great sale prices.  I am a flour and baking geek so I have several varieties of flour.  Let me know your favorite recipes and tips for baking.

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