Can wheat flour be substituted for refined flour?

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Wheat flour is the best flour to use when it comes to nutrition. Maida or refined flour is derived from wheat flour. The process of refining wheat flour to a smooth white refined flour increases the calorie content of refined white flour by about 10% because of everything else that has been taken out: an average of 66% of the B vitamins are removed, an average of 70% of all minerals are removed, 79% of the fibre is removed and an average of 19% of the protein is removed. Hence, wheat flour is more nutritious.

Refined flour is largely used for baking purposes. It is a lighter flour than wheat flour and that is the only reason why it gives good results. With the growing awareness about wheat flour being healthier, there is a demand for whole wheat bread and other whole wheat confectionery and baked goods. Any biscuit or cookie or cake recipe can be made using wheat flour instead of refined flour. The only difference will be in the texture which will be denser as compared to products made solely with refined flour. Some people suggest using half and half of each flour. These days even the traditional roomali rotis which have been made for centuries with refined flour are being made by speciality restaurants with wheat flour. It might not be as soft and malleable like maida roomali roti but it is definitely a healthier option. Naans do not turn out right when made with whole wheat flour. 

Before converting any recipe which can use whole wheat flour instead of refined flour keep in mind that more leavening and cooking time will be required. 

We now make white sauce using whole wheat flour, also pizza breads. Biscuits and cookies might not be as light and melt in the mouth when made with whole wheat flour. So will be the case with cakes. But then if we really have to switch to healthier eating habits, biscuits, cakes and cookies have to be cut out to some extent anyway! 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.