I've had the Whole Grain Baking book from King Arthur Flour for some time, and it has yet to steer me wrong. Sure, you can haphazardly substitute whole grain flours for white flour in bread recipes, and most of the time it will work. But why not use recipes that were designed for whole grains?
The interesting thing about the recipes in this book is how un-fussy most of them are. Instead of adding ingredients in stages, many recipes tell you to combine everything all at once, and then knead it with a mixer, by hand, or with a machine.
Many of the whole wheat recipes include orange juice, which balances the flavor of the whole wheat, but the amount is so small that you won't taste the juice at all. The book notes that you can use water, if you prefer, instead of the juice. The recipe will still work.
If you're going to make these recipes, keep in mind that the standard King Arthur Flour cup weight for bread flour is 4 1/4 ounces, while the standard cup weight here at Serious Eats is 5 1/2 ounces. If you won't be using a scale to weigh the flour, measure with a light hand (spoon into the cup and level off) rather than dipping into the flour bin to compress the flour before leveling.
Fortunately, this book gives both weight and volume measurements for flour and some other annoying-to-measure ingredients, and there are helpful tips for specific recipes as well as general-knowledge items.
One thing I really like is the way the book gives friendly warnings in the instructions when something could go wrong, cautioning that a dough might feel too sticky, but you don't want to add more flour, or warning that a recipe can go from perfectly baked to burned in 30 seconds.
Besides breads, this book also has recipes for cakes, pastries, cookies, and just about anything you'd want to bake with whole grains.
Win 'Whole Grain Baking'
Thanks to the generous folks over at King Arthur Flour, we are giving away five (5) copies of Whole Grain Baking this week.
To enter to win a copy of this book, all you have to do is tell us how you like to use whole grain flour. In bread? Cookies or cakes? Some other unexpected way?
About the bread baker: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie or @cookistry.