Is it a good idea to substitute refined flour with whole wheat flour?

by Sanjeev Kapoor

With the growing awareness about wheat flour being healthier, there is a demand for whole wheat bread and other whole wheat confectionery and baked goods. But how exactly does using wheat flour instead of refined flour affect your final product – in terms of texture, taste and nutrition? Here is everything you need to know.

Nutrition Facts 

Wheat flour is the best flour to use when it comes to nutrition. Maida or refined flour is also derived from Whole wheat grain. The process of refining wheat flour to a smooth white refined flour by stripping the whole wheat grain of its bran and germ, making it very low in nutrients. This process also increases the calorie content of refined white flour by about 10% because of everything else that has been taken out: an average of 66% of the B vitamins are removed, an average of 70% of all minerals are removed, 79% of the fibre is removed and an average of 19% of the protein is removed. So, when it comes to health and nutrient choices, it’s a no brainer that wheat flour should be your go to option!

How does the substitution affect your final dish ?

The debate about substituting wheat flour with refined flour is thick when it comes to baked goods. The truth however is that any biscuit, cookie or cake recipe can be made using wheat flour instead of refined flour. The only difference will be in the texture which will be denser as compared to products made solely with refined flour. Biscuits and cookies might not be as light and melt in the mouth when made with whole wheat flour. So will be the case with cakes Some people suggest using half and half of each flour.

If you can make this switch in baked good then it is definitely possible to replace refined flour with whole wheat flour in most other recipes. You can make white sauce using whole wheat flour. These days even the traditional roomali rotis which have been made for centuries with refined flour are being made by speciality restaurants with wheat flour. It might not be as soft and malleable like maida roomali roti but it is definitely a healthier option. Puris, naans and paranthas turn out great with whole wheat flour too, though you might have to work the dough a little extra.

Before converting any recipe which can use whole wheat flour instead of refined flour keep in mind that it would probably require more leavening and cooking time.

Is it worth the swap?

We think yes. Like we mentioned above, in most cases it is possible to replace refined flour with wheat flour. It will give you a final product that is slightly denser, but also much more nutritious! And if you really have to switch to healthier eating habits, this one is a swap you could easily try!

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.