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Whole Wheat Flour Made From Red Or White Wheat

Whole grains are good for us — we all know that. But did you know that there is a red and a white wheat variety?

White wheat flour is not to be mistaken for processed white flour made from red wheat.

Wheat flour can be made from the popular red wheat but also from white wheat. As a wheat variety, white wheat is a derivative of red wheat but not to be mistaken for the processed white, all-purpose flour found on most baking shelves.

I recently came across a bag of white whole wheat flour in a store and began to wonder if white whole wheat flour is just another processed, ’empty,’ white flour. Not so! Here is what I learned while discovering artisan bread recipes made with white whole wheat flour.

Both red and white whole wheat flour are considered healthier options compared to refined white flour which is, ironically, most likely made from red wheat. Both red and white whole wheat flour retains the bran, germ, and endosperm of the red or white wheat kernel, providing a higher fiber content and a broader range of nutrients.

Red whole wheat and white whole wheat are both varieties of wheat, but they have some differences in terms of color, taste, and nutritional composition.

  1. Color: Red whole wheat has a darker color due to the presence of a pigment called anthocyanin, which gives it a reddish-brown hue. White whole wheat, on the other hand, has a lighter color similar to traditional refined white flour.
  2. Taste: Red whole wheat tends to have a slightly stronger and nuttier flavor compared to white whole wheat. The presence of bran and germ in both types of wheat contributes to their distinct taste.
  3. Nutritional Composition: Both red and white whole wheat are considered whole grains and are generally healthier choices compared to refined flours. However, there are some differences in their nutritional composition:
    • Red whole wheat: It contains higher levels of dietary fiber, minerals, and antioxidants compared to white whole wheat. The presence of anthocyanin pigments in red wheat also contributes to its higher antioxidant content.
    • White whole wheat: While it has a milder taste, it retains most of the nutritional benefits of red whole wheat. It contains a similar amount of fiber and essential nutrients but may have slightly lower levels of certain antioxidants.
  4. Baking Properties: White whole wheat flour is often preferred for baking due to its lighter color and milder flavor, which can be more appealing in certain recipes where the taste of whole wheat is not desired. Red whole wheat flour, with its darker color and stronger flavor, may be more suitable for recipes where a heartier taste and appearance are desired.
white whole wheat
White wheat flour is not to be mistaken for processed white flour made from red wheat.

In whole wheat flour, the total protein content is higher than in processed white flour. This might lead one to think whole wheat bread might rise the highest of all, but that is not how whole wheat bakes. Whole wheat flours contain all the parts of the wheat berry, including the bran and the germ. Bran, when ground, has sharp edges that can cut the strands of gluten that form in the dough, which is why whole grain loaves can be shorter and denser than those made with processed white flour.

With 12.2% protein, white whole wheat flour is a tad lower in protein than red whole wheat flour with which I have baked good boules. But white whole wheat flour offers the wholesomeness of whole wheat with the performance of all-purpose.

Substituting white whole wheat for all-purpose flour in many of one’s favorite “white flour” recipes can be a piece of cake — quite literally! Check out King Arthur’s Baking Company’s guides to whole grains at

Today I picked up a 5lb bag of Farmer Direct Foods flour at a Smart & Final grocery store here in Sacramento. It is the same flour sold as such by King Arthur’s Baking Company. I am eager to give this flour a try in my sourdough starter and my final bread dough in a few days.


Always curious...

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