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The 411 on Whole Wheat Flour

Whole Wheat Flour

Q. What is the difference between whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour? – Miriam, Boca Raton, Florida

A. Different types of wheat are grown in the United States and each one has slightly different characteristics.

Regular whole wheat flour is ground from hard red wheat and has lots of gluten so it is suitable for making breads and dense baked goods.

Whole wheat pastry flour is ground from soft red winter wheat. In comparison to regular whole wheat flour, this lighter, airier version has lower gluten content and is best used in pastries, cookies and cakes.

White whole wheat flour is made from soft white wheat instead of red hard wheat (don’t be confused by the name of the wheat strand – it has nothing to do with refined white flour). It has all the nutritional benefits of whole wheat flour, but a milder flavor and lighter color. It is excellent in breads and in baked goods; although, because it has more gluten and isn’t as finely milled, it doesn’t have as light a touch as whole wheat pastry flour.

The last type of wheat is called durum wheat, which is mainly used in pasta. Because of the high protein content of this hard, glutinous flour, durum wheat flour creates dough with unusually strong gluten, perfect for pasta.