This series was created during the very beginning of my blogging days. This was before thousands and millions visited and read and made the recipes from my blog. Because of this, the early recipes weren’t tested over and over to perfection like they are today. My plan is to go back and retest these recipes at some point this year. For now, I’m letting you know that this recipe isn’t the best representation of what you’ll find on Live Simply for recipes. My recipe testing and creation has come a long way since the beginning days of the blog. Want to make a tested and perfected baked good? Head over here for all my favorite recipes.
We’ve covered a lot of baking so far in our series: spelt, einkorn, and whole wheat (and whole white wheat). We still have more flours to explore, including the vast world of gluten and grain-free flour options.
Today, we’re going to roll up our sleeves, open the flour bags, and explore one last grain flour: whole wheat pastry flour. We’re also going to share in a delicious snack that many of us enjoyed before our real food days, Pop Tarts.
Oh don’t worry, I’m not opening a box of processed rectangles. No, no! We’re whipping up a batch of homemade whole wheat Pop Tart goodness from scratch.
But, first… flour!
What is Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?
Whole wheat pastry flour is a whole wheat flour that includes the germ, endosperm, and bran, but with a lighter taste and texture than whole wheat flour. If you’re new to whole wheat, I’d recommend reading more about whole wheat flour here.
As we discussed in the whole wheat lesson, there are many varieties of whole wheat berries, ranging from earthy and dark in color, such as red hard wheat (“whole wheat flour”) to light almost white in color, such as soft white wheat. Pastry flour is made from soft white wheat berries that are ground for baking, resulting in a whole grain that’s light and fluffy and lacks the dense quality produced by whole wheat flour.
Whole pastry flour contains less gluten and protein (Bob’s Red Mill’s Whole Wheat Pastry Flour contains 3 grams of protein per serving) than whole wheat flour, and more carbohydrates.
Why Should I Use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?
While I strive for healthy baking, I also desire baked goods that are delicious and mimic the white flour treats that I enjoyed as a kid. Whole wheat pastry flour is the perfect solution for baking healthier, lighter goods without compromising on the whole grain aspect of eating “real.” Baked goods made with whole wheat pastry flour are light, fluffy, and mild in taste compared to red hard wheat (“whole wheat flour”) goods.
How Can I Use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?
Whole wheat pastry flour is perfect for lighter baked goods, such as: scones, pie crusts, biscuits, pancakes, muffins, cookies and waffles. Whole wheat pastry flour is a great transitional flour as you can easily substitute this whole grain flour in recipes that call for 100% all-purpose flour.
If you’re just switching over to whole grain baking, replace 1/2 a cup of all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour in your favorite baked goods. If you’re already used to a whole grain taste, but desire to make lighter cookies or other goodies (particularly around the holidays), try substituting whole wheat pastry flour (or 1/2 the flour) instead of whole wheat flour. When completely replacing all-purpose white flour with whole wheat pastry flour I abide by the rule of 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon. For example: if a recipe calls for 2 cups of all-purpose flour, I’ll use 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour minus 1 tablespoon.
Just like einkorn flour, whole wheat pastry flour is slow to absorb water which means less kneading is needed for yeast breads and more rest time. If possible, allow batters made with whole wheat pastry flour to rest on the counter for about fifteen-thirty minutes before baking. For cookies, refrigerating the dough (like this recipe) can help produce a whole grain cookie with a wonderfully soft texture.
How Do I Store Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?
Wheat berries have a longer shelf-life than pastry flour (ground berries) when kept in sealed containers to prevent moisture and bugs from contaminating the grain. Whole wheat pastry flour (ground berries) can be stored in a cool, dry place for one to three months or long-term in the freezer.
I purchase both Bob’s Red Mill’s Soft Wheat Berries and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.
Soft wheat berries require grinding at home, but this can easily be accomplished with a grain mill. My grain mill has a “pastry” setting which makes grinding berries into whole wheat pastry flour easy. Berries can be found online through Amazon and Bob’s Red Mill and natural food stores (look in the bulk section for the best price).
Whole Wheat Pastry flour can also be found on Amazon, Bob’s Red Mill, or natural foods stores.
For whole grain baking, look for “Whole Wheat Pastry Flour” versus the white, refined counterpart, “Pastry Flour.”
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour Recipes to Get You Started
To get you started with whole wheat pastry flour, I’ve compiled a few real food recipes that specifically call for whole wheat pastry flour. Remember, you can also use whole wheat pastry flour in your favorite recipes that call for all-purpose white flour.
Soaked Whole Wheat Biscuits from Live Simply
Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies from 101 Cookbooks
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls from Live Simply
Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles from The Elliott Homestead
Homemade Animal Crackers from The Elliott Homestead
Finally, the moment we’ve been waiting for…Pop Tarts!
Homemade Pop Tarts start with a light, flaky pastry pie crust. Whole wheat pastry flour is the perfect whole grain for creating pie crusts, along with einkorn, which makes it the perfect flour for this recipe.
I’ll confess, homemade Pop Tarts require extra time to make, more than what I want to spend in the kitchen on an average day. I reserve homemade Pop Tarts for a special occasions like birthdays, or in the fall when baking is contagious and the kids and I feel like rolling dough and spending hours in the kitchen.
I chose to fill these Pop Tarts with my homemade (best ever!) applesauce, but you can also use jam or even make savory Pop Tarts with cheese and pizza sauce or pesto.
Homemade Whole Wheat Applesauce Pop-Tarts
- 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour or freshly-milled whole wheat flour from soft white wheat
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter cold, cubed
- 2-3 tsp water ice cold
- 1 egg
- 1 TB water
- 8-9 TB cinnamon applesauce
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- In a food processor (like this), add the flour and salt. Pulse together for 5 seconds.
- Add the cold butter cubes to the flour. Pulse until the butter resembles coarse crumbs.
- With the food processor running, add the ice cold water until the mixture begins to form a ball of dough. Turn off the food processor and separate the dough into two balls. Flatten each ball and wrap with parchment paper or wax paper. Place the dough in the fridge for at least an hour (up to 2 days).
- After an hour, preheat the oven to 375F.
- On a floured surface (I use silicone baking mats with flour sprinkled over the top), roll each dough into a rectangle. Trim the sides so they are straight with a knife or pizza-cutter, then cut the dough into small rectangles.
- Carefully, with a spatula, place half the rectangles on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and tablespoon of water. Brush the rectangles on the baking sheet with the egg wash. Place 1 tablespoon of apple cinnamon applesauce in the middle of each rectangle and sprinkle with cinnamon. Top the rectangles with the remaining Pop Tart rectangles. Crimp the edges down with a fork to seal.
- Brush the tops of each Pop Tart with the remaining egg wash.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden.
- Sprinkle with organic powdered sugar for an extra treat.
Freezer Tip: Homemade Pop Tarts can be frozen and defrosted in the toaster from a frozen state. Store the Pop Tarts in a freezer-safe bag or container, between parchment or wax paper.
More Ultimate Fall Baking:
How to Use Whole Wheat Flour +Blackberry Scones
How to Use Einkorn Flour + Apple Dutch Baby
Hello I saw the chocolate chip cookie recipe but wondering if you have a sugar cookie cut out recipe using whole wheat pastry flour?
Hey Steph, I don’t, but you could probably sub in whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe: https://livesimply.me/16647/
Hi just read the wwpf substitute for all purpose, do you mean when you are substituting 2 cups AP with 2 cups wwpf, it’s minus 2 tablespoons? Just wanted clarification, thanks!
With all do respect to Kristin, when I made these, they were terrible. Was I supposed to use the full egg for the egg wash? There was a lot of egg, so I only used like a quarter. And also, where is the sugar? They had no flavor, and crumbled when I tried to eat them. The pastry was also salty due to the amount of butter in it. I could also not taste the applesauce at all, which contributed to them being tasteless. I had to throw them out because none of my kids, or my wife, would eat them. This was a great learning experience though. Maybe update the recipe to fix these problems and I will try it again
Thanks for sharing your experience, Bob. Sorry you didn’t have a good experience with the homemade pop-tarts.
Can I use all purpose flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour?
The first time I made these I didn’t have much luck. The egg wash seeped off the pop tarts just enough to superglue the tarts to their pan, which meant chiseling the final product off the pan and ending up with a thousand pop tart pieces rather than ~10 pop tarts. The quality was great–the pastry was flaky (einkorn flour) and homemade date paste was a tasty filling–so I know the fundamentals are there. Next time I make these I will either use parchment paper squares under each tart or I will make “date newtons” by rolling the dough around the paste and slicing into newton-size pieces for slightly more filling and slightly less pastry per bite.
Thank you for sharing, Evey! This recipe was uncategorized until we can further test and improve it.
I just made these, and I have ended up with a couple of questions for you. First, how thinly did you roll out your dough? Second, I refrigerated the dough for a few hours like you suggested, and when I took it out it was too hard to roll out. Do you let the dough warm slightly? Third, I had a lot of trouble with my dough sticking to my rolling pin, so much so that I was needing to add flour to the pin and top of dough every few rolls. Did I do something wrong like adding too much water or not enough flour in the first place? Sorry for the lengthy post, but I appreciate any help you can give me.
Hey Jaclyn, It’s pretty typical for pie dough (what this is) to be hard to roll out after refrigeration and also stick to a rolling pin. Here are two solutions: 1. Chill the dough for less time (the time will depend on how cold your fridge is, which sounds like your fridge is pretty cold and dough will chill much faster). 2. Sprinkle the surface and the top of the dough with flour before rolling it out. You could also try using less water in the dough–that may help if the dough still feels sticky.
Is it possible to do this recipe with einkorn flour or an einkorn/spelt combo?
Hey Joy! Yes, it is :). Einkorn is a great substitute for whole wheat pastry flour.
I’m having trouble with the math in your statement in this article: “When completely replacing all-purpose white flour with whole wheat pastry flour I abide by the rule of 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon. For example: if a recipe calls for 2 cups of all-purpose flour, I’ll use 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour minus 1 tablespoon.” Am I wrong or should this read: 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour minus “2” tablespoons??? Hope you can clarify for me.
Also, I think I read somewhere that you can approximate ww pastry flour by putting regular ww flour through a fine sifter and taking out the bran particles. Does this work?
You need 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour minus 1 tablespoon.
For delicate baked goods (cupcakes, light pastries, and cakes) I sift whole wheat flours to help create a lighter texture. This will definitely help decrease the the dense texture of whole wheat and make it more like whole wheat pastry flour. The difference in the two flours is the actual berry (hard versus soft, etc) and the grinding method.
I was hoping you can clarify the same for me. So if a recipe only calls for 1 cup of all purpose flour, should I substitute it with 1 cup minus 1/2 tablespoon?
Hey Carole, 1 cup minus 1 TB.
I have a similar question.
I think the confusion comes from this comment in the blog post…
‘When completely replacing all-purpose white flour with whole wheat pastry flour I abide by the rule of 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon. For example: if a recipe calls for 2 cups of all-purpose flour, I’ll use 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour minus 1 tablespoon.”
Did you mean to say “minus 2 tablespoons”?
Ah, Catharine, Very good catch. Yes, 2 tablespoons.
My kids helped me make the pop tarts last night, and they were really looking forward to breakfast this morning! 🙂 These were delicious! We filled ours with strawberry preserves. The spelt/whole wheat combo worked. I did half and half, and they turned out very flaky (which I love, but they did fall apart easily). In the future, if that happens to be all I have on hand, maybe less spelt and more whole wheat flour…?
These are definitely going to be a breakfast staple at our house. 🙂
Thanks again for your help!
Thanks, Kristin! You are so helpful. 🙂 (I’m making these for my kids’ breakfast tomorrow.)
You’re so welcome :)! What a treat, I’m sure you’re kids will be so excited. Let me know how the spelt and wheat combo works.
I also had a question about flour. Could I use spelt flour, or a combo of spelt and whole wheat flours? Those are what I have on hand. 🙂
Hey Beth, I believe the whole wheat and spelt combo will work well! You may need to use a bit more water (like a teaspoon more) as spelt absorbs more water than whole wheat pastry flour.
Could you use King Arthur unbleached cake flour blend instead? Just trying to “use it up.”
Hey Sara, I don’t have any experience with the King Arthur Cake Flour Blend, but usually cake flour is very, very fine. If that’s the case it won’t easily substitute for the pastry flour, which is lighter than whole wheat, but much more coarse than cake flour.