Replacing White Flour with Whole Wheat in Recipes

Stromboli was lunch today for a group of Waldorf kids on their 8th grade trip adventure.  What a terrific group!

As it was a PPH column first, the previous post only included a link, but now can include the whole recipe.  After it ran, a reader asked this question about replacing white with wheat flour and I thought it was a good one to share:

I always enjoy your column; my husband’s favorite French Onion soup is the one you printed a while back. Now I would like to give your stromboli a try, perhaps for Valentine’s Day. I was wondering what you thought about using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, and if I did, whether there are any adaptations I should make. I already plan to try a new brownie recipe from the most recent Cook’s Illustrated magazine, so I figured the stromboli would be fun too. Why not break the caloric bank in the name of love??? (I guess that is why I might feel better using whole wheat flour!!!)

Thanks and I look forward to reading more of your recipe suggestions!

Mary G.

And my response:  That French Onion Soup is my husband’s absolute favorite recipe too (which I will post on a future date.)  I love your phrase about ‘breaking the calorie bank’!  As for using whole wheat, I have two thoughts.  One, don’t replace more than half of the white flour with the wheat, any more and you’ll have to adjust the gluten content or it won’t rise as well.  The other thought is to use whole wheat bread flour, which has more gluten in it, and rises better.  Even so, for the first time, I wouldn’t replace all of the white flour with the wheat. On another note, I read that brownie recipe a couple of days ago and thought to try it as well.  I really love the one I already use, but it’s more fudgy than anything else, which has only seemed a very good thing.

Happy caloric eating to you and your husband!

Stromboli Dough
Stromboli is similar to a pizza or a calzone.  While a pizza is flat and a calzone folded over itself once, stromboli are rolled into a loaf with the toppings inside.

This dough is easily doubled or tripled to make stromboli for a crowd or for any of the above mentioned uses.  Of course you can always knead this dough by hand, but I’m assuming that only the purists among us will do so when a dough hook is readily available.  If you don’t own a dough hook, no worries, our foremothers (and me all summer long) just kneaded the dough for 10-15 minutes by hand.  It’s a meditative and energetic exercise all at once.

3/4 tablespoons dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water, reserve 1/4 cup and add as needed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for the top of the dough
Cornmeal for dusting

Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a mixing bowl.  With the dough hook attachment of the mixer, mix on low speed.  Add 3/4 cup of water and olive oil.  When the dough begins to form a ball, add more water a tablespoon at a time until the little bits of flour on the bottom of the bowl start to work into the dough.  Knead on medium low speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until the surface of the dough begins to be very smooth and the dough is elastic.

Oil the top of the dough, cover with either a plate or plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

When the dough is ready to roll out, preheat oven to 400°.  Place a cast iron skillet or other heavy oven proof pan in the bottom of the oven.  Dust a baking pan with corn meal.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured countertop to about the size of a laptop.  Lay out ingredients over the entire surface and roll up snugly into a loaf, tucking in the ends and pinching the seam closed.   Place the loaf onto the pan dusted with cornmeal.  Oil and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again, about 1/2 hour.  When the loaf has nearly doubled, make three diagonal slashes on the top with a razor or very sharp knife.

Place the baking pan in the oven, throw 1 cup of water into the skillet on the bottom to generate steam and quickly close the oven door.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and an internal read thermometer reads 210°.

Serves 4-6

Ricotta and Genoa Salami
1/2 pound sliced Genoa salami
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 oz. grated mozzarella cheese, about 1 cup

Mozzarella with Parsley and Arugula Pesto

1/2 cup pesto (recipe below)
6 oz. grated mozzarella cheese, about  2 cups

Parsley and Arugula Pesto
1/2 packed cup parsley leaves
1/4 packed cup basil leave
1/4 packed cup arugula leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the leaves are finely blended.

Makes 1 cup (I know the stromboli recipe calls for only 1/2 cup, but if you are going to clean the food processor anyway, why not make extra to go in a pasta dish or a dressing on salad?)

No-Cook Tomato Herb Sauce
The stromboli is nice on it’s own, but traditionally it has a sauce to go with it.  I discovered this summer that even canned crushed tomatoes make a flavorful sauce that doesn’t need cooking when the bright flavors of parsley and basil and the zip of fresh garlic are mixed with the tang of red wine vinegar.

1 14oz. can crushed tomatoes, about 2 cups
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced basil
1 teaspoons minced garlic, about 1 clove
1 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon balsamic
1/8 teaspoon salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.  This sauce benefits from 20-30 minutes of just sitting to allow the herbs and garlic to soften and the flavors to combine.

Makes 2 cups  (again, you’ll have extra, but why not?  With the extra pesto above you’ve got the beginnings of a great pasta dish.)

Our first days on the bay are always so sweet!

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