Whole Wheat Pastry Flour vs Whole Wheat Flour

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour vs Whole Wheat Flour: Full Comparison

Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by Lori Walker

Upon preparing two sets of cookies, I utilized whole wheat pastry flour for one and standard whole wheat flour for the other. It astonished me to observe a distinguishable divergence in the end results.

Whole wheat pastry flour is like the soft and fluffy cousin of whole wheat flour. While both come from wheat, they have distinct textures and properties. 

So, what’s the difference between whole wheat pastry flour and whole wheat flour? In this comparison, I’ll share the characteristics of these two flours and their delicious roles in baking.

The Ultimate Flour Face-Off: Whole Wheat vs Whole Wheat Pastry

Whole Wheat Flour on a Glass Bowl

Regular whole wheat flour is obtained from hard red wheat, while whole wheat pastry flour is milled from soft white wheat.

The key distinction lies in their protein content, with whole wheat pastry flour having less. 

This lower protein content makes it perfect for crafting tender, delightful baked goods like pie crusts, muffins, quick breads, pastries, and cookies.

Even better is that whole wheat pastry flour retains the valuable nutrients in the bran and germ, ensuring your treats are delicious and nutritious.

But what’s a millet flour?

Quick Summary Guide

AspectWhole Wheat FlourWhole Wheat Pastry Flour
IngredientsRed wheat berries100% stone ground soft white wheat
Common UsesBread, rolls, pastries, cookiesPastries, cookies, sweet breads
Texture OptionsFine, medium, coarseSmooth, soft
Flavor ProfileDense and strongRich and hearty
NutritionHigh in fiber, protein, essential nutrientsProvides more fiber, vitamins, minerals
Shelf Life1 month (room temp), 3 months (cool temp), 6 months (fridge), 1 year (freezer)3-9 months (from milling date)

Must-Know Differences


Whole wheat flour hails from red wheat berries [1], or “hard red wheat.” 

Its signature features are its deep, reddish hue, robust flavor, and grainy texture, which make it a classic choice for hearty, whole-grain recipes.

Meanwhile, whole wheat pastry flour, a finer grind than whole wheat flour, yields baked goods that are lighter and softer, such as cookies and brownies. 

And it contains less gluten compared to whole wheat flour, making it unsuitable for yeast-based baking. 

Essentially, whole wheat flour boasts heartiness, while whole wheat pastry flour brings delicacy to your baking endeavors.


Whole wheat flour’s uses vary depending on the wheat it’s milled from. Flour from hard red wheat is perfect for crafting bread and rolls, imparting a robust flavor and texture. 

On the other hand, white winter wheat yields a milder flavor, making it ideal for pastries and cookies. 

“In God’s mill even chaff becomes flour.”

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Polish-American Novelist and Short Story Writer

Now, let’s focus on whole wheat pastry flour. This flour exclusively hails from white winter wheat and shines when baking pastries, cookies, and sweet bread.

Find out what you can make with cake flour here.


Texture is critical in baking; choosing the right flour can make or break your recipe. Whole wheat flour offers a range of textures based on its granulation size: fine, medium, and coarse. 

Fine-grained flour is a rapid liquid absorber, making it a favorite among bakers. Medium-grained flour imparts a nuttier and coarser taste with a slightly rougher texture. 

On the other hand, coarse-grained flour is reserved for adding a natural, rugged texture and intense flavor to bread, typically in small quantities.

Now, let’s talk about whole wheat pastry flour. It’s the finesse expert. Made from finely ground whole wheat flour with a high starch content, it delivers a smooth, soft texture. 

Whole wheat pastry flour is the secret ingredient for achieving that perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture when your goal is delicate, tender pastries and baked goods.

Flavor Profile

Close up Image of a Flour

Flavor is the secret ingredient that can elevate your baked goods. 

Whole wheat pastry flour is the go-to option to boost nutrition without traditional whole wheat’s dense, strong flavor. 

It’s perfect for baking powder or baking soda recipes, offering a milder taste that won’t overpower your creations.

On the one hand, traditional whole wheat flour, milled from 100% hard red wheat berries, brings a rich and hearty flavor. 

Using it for pizza dough, muffins, or scones infuses your baked goods with that unmistakable, wholesome wheat taste. 

Nutritional Information

In terms of nutrition, whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour shine brighter than regular all-purpose flour. Here’s why:

Whole wheat flour takes nutrition seriously. It’s made by grinding the whole wheat berry, including the germ, bran, and endosperm. 

“In the world of flours, whole wheat pastry flour whispers’ delicacy,’ while whole wheat flour shouts ‘hearty.’ The choice depends on the song you want your baked goods to sing.”

Leonelli Bakery

This means it’s loaded with more fiber, protein, and essential nutrients than plain white flour, which ditches the germ and bran.

On the other hand, while finely ground, whole wheat pastry flour retains some of the bran and germ, balancing tenderness and nutrition. 

Health Benefits of Whole Wheat & Whole Wheat Pastry Flour 

First, these flours can help reduce the risk of heart disease, making your ticker a little happier. 

They also lend a hand in lowering blood pressure, which is a boon for cardiovascular health.

If you want to control your weight, these flours assist. They help redistribute fat and make you feel fuller, aiding in weight management.

But that’s not all; these flours also regulate blood sugar levels, a crucial factor for those watching their sugar intake. 

Plus, they provide a dose of vitamin C [2], adding a nutritional boost to your baked treats.

So, whether you’re whipping up bread, pastries, or cookies, know that you’re not just indulging your taste buds but also nurturing your health.



Is it okay to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of whole wheat flour?

Whole wheat pastry flour can be used as a direct substitute for regular whole wheat flour at a 1-to-1 ratio.

It also works well as a substitute for a portion of all-purpose flour, typically up to half or even more, depending on your recipe. 

Find out how you can clean a flour sifter here.

Is whole wheat pastry flour and graham flour the same thing?

No, whole wheat pastry flour and graham flour are not the same. While both are made from whole grain, graham flour is ground more coarsely than whole wheat pastry flour. 

This coarser texture gives graham flour a distinct texture and flavor, making it suitable for specific recipes.

Key Takeaways

Having delved into whole wheat pastry flour vs. whole wheat flour, it’s clear that each flour brings unique characteristics and benefits.

Regarding Texture, we learned that whole wheat flour offers versatility with its fine, medium, and coarse granulation. In contrast, whole wheat pastry flour delivers a smooth, soft texture suitable for delicate pastries and baked goods.

Considering Flavor, whole wheat flour boasts a dense, hearty flavor ideal for bread and rustic treats, whereas whole wheat pastry flour offers a milder, richer taste perfect for pastries and sweet creations.

From a Nutritional perspective, both flours outshine all-purpose flour in terms of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, but whole wheat flour, including the germ and bran, takes the nutrition crown.


Lori Walker

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