What's the Difference Between Whole-Wheat and White Whole-Wheat Flour?

What's the Difference Between Whole-Wheat and White Whole-Wheat Flour?

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Sheela Prakash
Oct 22, 2016

More than once, I've mistakingly picked up a bag of white whole-wheat flour when the recipe I was making called for whole-wheat flour, or vice versa. But is there really much of a difference between the two besides the fact that one is well, white, and one isn't? Aren't they both whole-wheat? I reached out to King Arthur Flour to get the facts.

The Difference Between Whole-Wheat and White Whole-Wheat Flour

While both flours are 100 percent whole wheat, the difference is in the variety of whole wheat.

  • Whole-wheat flour is made from hard red spring or winter wheat, which has a nutty, hearty taste.
  • White whole-wheat flour is made from hard white spring or winter wheat, which has the exact same nutritional value of whole-wheat flour, but because of the variety used, has a milder flavor and paler color.

Whole-Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is made from hard red spring or winter wheat. All three layers of the wheat berries are ground — the bran, germ, and endosperm — to result in a bold, wholesome flour. If you were to take these wheat varieties, strip them of their nutty-tasting, fiber-rich bran and germ, and grind just the endosperm, you'd get all-purpose flour.

Whole-wheat flour can be used interchangeably for white whole-wheat flour called for in a recipe, or it can be substituted for half the amount of all-purpose flour in a recipe.

White Whole-Wheat Flour

White whole-wheat flour is simply made with a different variety of wheat. It's made with hard white spring or winter wheat — the bran, germ, and endosperm are all ground to result in another 100 percent whole-wheat flour. Yet because it's made with hard white wheat instead of hard red wheat, like whole-wheat flour, it has a paler color and its taste is milder. It's still nuttier than all-purpose flour because it includes the fibrous bran and germ of the wheat, but it's a more approachable whole-wheat flour, particularly for those who don't enjoy the hearty taste of whole-wheat flour.

It can be used interchangeably with whole-wheat flour in any recipe, or can be substituted for half of all-purpose flour called for in a recipe.

Related: A Complete Guide to Storing Your Flour

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