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Does baking with whole grain ﬂours change your recipe results?
To ﬁnd out, Oldways Whole Grain Stamp manager Abby tested one cookie recipe with ﬁve diﬀerent types of ﬂour—all-purpose, whole wheat, rye, oat, and spelt.
Abby started with David Lebovitz’s Breton Sables, also known as Salted French Butter Cookies (“What. A. Dream.” she said of this delicious recipe.) Keeping the process, measurements, and remaining ingredients the same, she swapped in the diﬀerent ﬂours and recorded the results. How did the whole grain ﬂours change the texture and taste of the cookie? Which one did she like best? Read on to ﬁnd out!
The all-purpose, white ﬂour cookies had a classic rich and buttery sable taste. The cookies kept their shape well as they baked.
The whole wheat cookies spread slightly more during the bake than the all-purpose cookies did. The ﬂavor was a little fuller, too. Overall, however, “the all-purpose and the whole wheat ﬂour cookies were relatively similar,” said Abby.
The rye cookies had zero spread in the oven! The cookie shape had the same integrity as the all-purpose cookies, with very little spread during baking. However, the ﬂavor notes were much diﬀerent— spicy and chocolatey. Abby could even smell the diﬀerence when mixing the dough! “A totally diﬀerent beast,” she said, adding that the rye added a nice depth of ﬂavor to these cookies.
The oat cookies spread out the most during baking. They didn’t keep their dough’s original shape at all. This cookie had a nice texture and chew, with ﬂavorful notes of caramel. An Oldways staﬀ member called this cookie “nice and toasty.”
The spelt cookies acted in much the same way as the all-purpose cookies, though they did spread out slightly more than the all-purpose during the bake. The spelt ﬂour also added a subtle, welcome nutty note to the ﬂavor of the cookies. “This was my favorite,” said Abby. “If you want to substitute whole grain ﬂour for white, I think spelt is the best substitute. It’s accessible, doesn’t change the result too much, and even improves the depth of ﬂavor a little.”
If you’re inspired to cook with more whole grains, check out our 28-day whole grain menu guide, Whole Grains Around the World!