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Cooking hole-in wheat can be easy if you know the ins and outs of handling whole wheat flour.

100% whole wheat flour is a whole grain product made from the whole seed or kernel of a plant.

The grains have three parts, the endosperm which contains starch and protein, the bran – rich in fiber, minerals and phytonutrients, and the germ – full of B vitamins, vitamin E and other antioxidants and minerals.

“White” or refined flours are stripped of their most nutritious parts when they remove the bran and sometimes the germ.

Choosing the right whole wheat flour

Stone-ground whole wheat flour, available at most major grocery chains, is a coarse winter wheat best suited for crispy crackers and crusty bread. If you are looking for a milder whole wheat flour for bars, cookies and cakes, try the whole wheat pastry flour ground from soft wheat berries grown in spring or the “white” whole wheat flour made by one of my favorite food companies, King Arthur.

Liquid adjustment

Have you ever wondered why baked goods made from whole wheat can sometimes turn out to be dry? Unlike white flour, whole wheat flour is thirsty because the bran in the flour tends to absorb water. If you’re cooking from a recipe that doesn’t require whole wheat flour, but you want to substitute it, try using the same amount of whole wheat flour with just 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup of more liquid than the recipe calls for (such as milk, egg white, or other dairy product). If you don’t want to change the amount of liquid, you can always adjust the cooking time or decrease the amount of flour slightly.

Cooking time

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Since whole wheat flour is so “thirsty” and absorbs more liquid, it is also essential to watch the cooking time. I use the same temperature as for white baked goods, but just shorten the baking time from 5 to 10 minutes. Once you’ve decided on your favorite brand of whole wheat flour, I suggest sticking to the same product so you know exactly how to adjust the liquid and the cooking time for the best results. In one of my

, learn more about the lighter side of baking with a delicious Linzer Whole Wheat Cookie Recipe.

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The Holiday Baking Recipe Tips post first appeared on Skinny Chef.

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