The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Substituting different types of flour

avants's picture

Substituting different types of flour

In various bread recipes, whole grain red wheat is called for. If I wanted to substitute white whole wheat, how do I calculate liquids to add. I assume hydration is different for different types of flour.

fancypantalons's picture

As far as I know there really is no magic to it, nor any specific formula that you can follow to get the hydration right.  In fact, that's even true if you're just following the recipe straight away, as flour varies brand to brand, bag to bag, and even day to day (for example, I find I inevitably must increase the hydration of my dough, as the flour I use is fairly hard).  As such, it's important to really get a feel for the dough, so that you can adjust as needed (this is, as it happens, why I prefer kneeding by hand over using a machine).  Then, when you try out substitutions, you can just adjust on-the-fly (usually I try to err on the side of a little too wet, and then adjust by adding flour during kneeding).

pmccool's picture


My limited experience with white whole wheat suggests that it is essentially identical to red whole wheat, as far as liquid absorption is concerned.  You may find minor variations between batches, but you can safely assume that the two behave the same.  Just make adjustments on the basis of how the dough feels, like you would with any other flour.


avants's picture

Thank you

subfuscpersona's picture

You seem to be talking about 100% whole wheat flour - the only difference being that one kind was milled from red wheat and the other from white wheat.

If this is the case, there is no difference in water absorption, nutrition or performance between the two. See red vs white wheat for one baker's test trials comparing red and white whole wheat flour.