Cooking With Whole Wheat

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I have received several questions lately about cooking with whole wheat.  I decided to write a post about how whole wheat works for me in cooking.  I hope this answers your questions and gives you few tips and ideas.

My goal in cooking with whole wheat is not to eat only whole wheat. I am not strict about cooking with only whole wheat.  My goal is to make my family’s food healthier by incorporating more whole wheat into our diet. I use it in some things, but not in all things.

Was it hard for your family to get used to whole wheat?

Yes, it was very hard.  My best advice for this is go slow, introduce it slowly. Start by using a small part whole wheat. If you make bread or pizza crust, replace 1/4 of the flour with whole wheat. When they get used to the whole wheat slowly add more to your recipes.

Do you use whole wheat in the majority of your cooking?

I am guessing that I use whole wheat in about half of my breads, muffins, cookies etc.

In order to get my family to eat whole wheat without complaining much, I have learned what recipes and foods I can get by using it in. Usually when my family wants dessert, they want dessert, not something healthy. I do have several cookie recipes on my site that contain whole wheat. One of our favorite cookies is my whole wheat banana cookies, but in general I make cookies with regular flour.

I have found that whole wheat works well in things like carrot or spice cake and banana bread. But when I make a pie, I make a pie. I make a regular crust, not a whole wheat one. When we want chocolate cake or cookies, I make them with regular all purpose flour.

The one place I have learned that I can serve my family quite a bit of whole wheat is breakfast.  I have a 100% whole wheat bread I make often that we use for toast.  We enjoy breakfast cookies that contain whole wheat and some of our favorite muffins contain whole wheat.  My family doesn’t mind eating healthy foods that contain whole wheat for breakfast.  When I make pancakes or waffles I make them at least part whole wheat.  My family actually prefers whole wheat pancakes and waffles to regular ones. So, breakfast is probably where we eat the majority of our whole wheat. I do sneak it in other places, but breakfast really is where it works best for us.

If you are just starting to use whole wheat, my best advice is to introduce it slowly.  Also, know it will take some time to find out what works for you and your family. You may try whole wheat in one cookie recipe and not like it, but in another recipe it will work for you. Whole wheat takes some experimenting, but don’t be afraid to try things in order to figure out what works best for you and your family.

What tips do you have?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Great advice, I want to add more whole wheat into my our diet. I’ll have to look at some of your recipes, they sound great.

  2. I have recently acquired a whole bunch of raw whole wheat berries. Thanks for the good advice about incorporating it slowly. I think I will aim at breakfast for the most part – with homemade breads and muffins. I’ve heard you can also just cook or boil or saute the wheat berries whole in place of pasta. I haven’t tried it yet, but one recipe I saw sounded pretty good.

  3. Great suggestions and tips Lynn.

  4. Have you tried white whole wheat? It is true whole wheat flour, but from a lighter-colored berry. The taste is milder, but it’s just as healthy.

  5. Sandra, yes I love white whole wheat, and it is mainly what I use. I also use whole wheat pastry in most of my non yeast baked goods.

  6. I totally agree with the part about substituting slowly. That has worked really well for our family. In some recipes the kids haven’t even noticed.
    Great post! I hope lots of people are encouraged to give whole wheat a try!

  7. I was reading about soaking whole grain flour. You can google it. I have tried it a few times and it greatly imporoved the texture and the taste. Idea basically is that you add the flour water, and for every cup of flour you add 1-2 TBLS of an acid. For quick breads I did lemon juice. But for others you can use buttermilk, yogurt, kiefer, vinegar. But it made 100% whole wheat taste much more like AP flour.

  8. Jessica, I have read quite a bit about soaking grains. I have several overnight recipes that I do really like. But overall my family does not like the sour taste you get from soaking grains overnight. We like sourdough, but did not like the strong sour taste that soaking in liquid with acid give you. It did increase the texture some, but we can’t get past the really sour taste it gives you. I know a lot also do it for health reasons, saying it is healthier. I don’t really agree with the health claims behind it. But my reasons behind that are to long for the comment section. :)

  9. very yummy site! for sure, i’ll keep on coming back!

  10. I don’t agree with the health claims really either, but I have no way of testing them :) Sometimes I just soak in the liquid called for like in your overnight cinnimon cake. I think just being in water helped it feel softer. I know what you mean about the sour taste. I tried once to soak oats yucky.

  11. Great advice! I agree completely about where you can and can’t substitute whole wheat.

    Click my name for a recipe for whole-wheat raisin bran bread. We love this for breakfast and snacks! It’s a great way to get fiber into a kid who is picky about vegetables.

  12. My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is the Tollhouse recipe. Not very creative, I know, but it is the best tasting in my mind. I use half whole wheat and half AP in this recipe and my husband and I don’t notice (my kids are too little to complain). I also do half chocolate chips/half butterscotch chips and add walnuts. Yummy!
    We also like whole wheat pancakes and waffles better than regular!

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