Baking with Multigrain Flour
Baking with multigrain flour wasn’t something I had considered until, in 2008, I received a package as part of my share of a local combined community supported agriculture (CCSA) program I participated in.
I was curious if I could use this ten grain variety in place of all-purpose white flour in my baking, so I used it to make a batch of cupcakes.
Can You Directly Substitute Multigrain Flour For White Flour?
I tried directly substituting multigrain flour for white flour, but it didn’t work as I had hoped. My test cupcake was far too crumbly – it completely fell apart when I picked it up. It seemed the multigrain flour had absorbed more of the cake moisture than white flour would have. This is similar to what happens when you substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour.
In general, multigrain flour will not work as a direct substitute. The properties of the grains that make up the flour blend determine whether it needs extra hydration and whether it will act in the same way as all-purpose flour.
Note: My friend Lori of Life in Webster Groves used the same 10 grain flour that I received to make a strawberry bread. She found that she needed to increase the liquid to make her recipe work.
How Does Multigrain Flour Affect the Taste of Your Baking?
Multigrain flour is going to taste different than white flour. The big difference is that it actually has a taste!
White flour takes on other flavors of your baking, while multigrain flour blends bring their own flavor elements.
How Does Multigrain Flour Affect the Texture of Your Baking?
Not surprisingly, the multigrain flour caused my cupcakes to be more grainy. This isn’t a bad thing, just something to be aware of.
Even after making the cupcakes again (successfully, by adding additional hydration using oil and more binding using an extra egg), the change in texture brought about from using multigrain flour made my cupcakes taste more like muffins.
Multigrain Has Multiple Meanings
Everything I wrote about multigrain flour above will vary depending on the exact mix of grains in your multigrain flour.
If you’re into experimenting, I highly recommend trying out different flour blends – let me know how it goes. But, if you’re interested in consistent results from your favorite recipe, use the flour that it recommends.
Check out my post on semolina flour for another idea of a different flour to experiment and bake with.
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Excellent advice. I sifted the flour twice, added an extra egg, added a little applesauce instead of additional oil, and made sure not to overmix. The cupcakes came out super moist. Thanks again!
Thank you very much for the information! My mom loves to substitute regular flour with multi grain and whole-grain flours and she always ends up with brick instead of cakes. I’m printing this and giving it to her, I am pretty sure it will help her.
Great stuff, thanks for sharing!
This great product is a MUST HAVE in your kitchen if you love to bake, highly heat resistant and extremely durable!!!
Many thanks – this is very helpful!
I always substitute whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour for white flour. For some recipes it doesn’t matter but other recipes it does. I’ve always read to take out 1-2 tbsp per cup (1 cup white flour = 1 cup minus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour) rather than adding more liquids. I’ve always found that this works best.
Ah yes, the complexities of whole-grain flours. I think it’s one of the reasons why we stick with plain ol’ white — it’s easy, it’s predictable and it always turns out just as we expect it to.
We know you’re the experimental type (just look at your cupcakes!) but a good whole grain cookbook might be a good investment.