Food Friday: Whole Grain Baking with King Arthur and a giveaway

Cooking with whole grains or their only slightly processed cousins (rolled oats, wheat flour) is habit around our house. I have a near aversion to the anemic look and nutritional void of white-flour creations, or perhaps it just a way to justify eating more of my favorite flour-based foods: pancakes, muffins, breads, waffles, cookies, cakes, etc.

My usual approach is to replace from one-third to two-thirds of the white flour with King Arthur’s Organic White Wheat Flour, and I swear you’d never know it—if you’ve eaten pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, oatmeal cookies, any kind of muffin or chocolate chip cookies  at my house in the last few years, guess what—you had white wheat flour. But as your taste begins to stray away from plain white, it becomes even more fun to see what you can add. Pancakes, for example: I don’t use any white flour at all, but instead use white wheat or whole wheat flour mixed with a nutty, grainy colorful corn meal. Everyone in my house devours these. To muffins, I have a similiar routine: I add handfuls of rolled oats or oat bran, spoonfuls of ground flaxseed, wheat germ or flours ground from oats, barley or spelt. And when  baking bread with my trusty Zojirushi, I toss in handfuls of bulgur or millet to whatever my flour mix of the day might be.

However. I was fully ready to concede that SOME things, like my beloved croissants and fine-grained cupcakes and other desserts perform best without hearty, healthy ingredients in the mix. Until I received a copy of  Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains by King Arthur Flour.

I basically want to marry all of the King Arthur cookbooks, and this one is no exception. My willy-nilly approach to a handful here and there of nutrition booster is kid’s stuff compared to the fine kitchen science at work here. Sweet Plum Cake with Rum Frosting, Double Fudge Brownies, Nectarine Upsidedown Cake, Pull-Apart Cranberry Pecan Buns, Orange Cloud Pancakes, Caramel Blitz Torte, Chicken and Mushroom Pastry Pockets, Whole Grain Blitz Pastry Dough and yes, even my beloved Chocolate Croissants have a place in this book, and you won’t see any of them bulging with grains—the effect is subtle and the food is divine.


Since I know whole grains can be intimidating, I’ll start you off slow:

Homemade Whole-Grain Pancake Mix

Photos courtesy of King Arthur’s Flour

  • 4 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats (the five-minute kind, not the quick-cook kind)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup safflower or canola oil

You make this mix, and then store it in the freezer, so you’ve got ready-made pancake mix in the house, without all the trans fats, corn syrup and other additives in the grocery store version. While we just usually make pancakes from scratch each time, I can’t figure out why I never thought to make it up ahead of time, brilliant!

To make the mix:

1) Grind the oats in a food processor until they’re chopped fine, but not a powder.

2) Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running.

3) Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.

To make pancakes:

1) Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk (you can use soured milk, but buttermilk gives noticeably superior results; a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk also will do), and 1 large egg. Don’t worry if it seems thin at first: the oats will soak up the milk, and the mix will thicken a bit as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

2) Heat a lightly greased griddle to 350°F (if you’ve got a griddle with a temperature setting; if not, medium-hot will do).

3) Drop the batter onto it in 1/4-cupfuls  to make a 4″ diameter pancake.

4) When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface without breaking (after about 2 minutes, if your griddle is the correct temperature), turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side, which will take about 2 minutes.

5) Serve pancakes immediately, or stack and hold in a warm oven.

Yield: a batch using one cup of the mix will make about eight 4″ pancakes.
Note: If you don’t have buttermilk in the house, but do have buttermilk powder, try this: In place of the buttermilk, add 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder to 1 cup of dry mix, then stir in 1/3 cup water and 1 large egg.
Variation: Add 1 tablespoon orange juice to the dry mix along with the buttermilk. The acidity and sweetness of the orange juice helps mellow the tannic taste some people perceive in whole wheat flour; while the pancakes won’t have any orange flavor, they may taste slightly milder to you, if you’re not a fan of whole wheat flour (but still want to get more whole grains into your diet).

  • If you’re not in the habit of having buttermilk around, reconsider: you can freeze leftover buttermilk, in 1-cup portions, for future batches of pancakes.
  • These pancakes hold in a low oven for half an hour without getting tough or rubbery, and they’re more than willing to act as a vehicle for any kind of fruit addition, such as peach, raspberry, banana-walnut,  blueberry and cranberry-apricot.
So, you say if you made it this far, never mind the pancakes, where’s that whole-grain chocolate croissant recipe?
You’ll have to find it for yourself—leave a comment below to be entered into a giveaway for their copy of Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains by King Arthur Flour, available from Countryman Press. Believe me, you WANT this book.
Winners will be announced next Friday, when I am back from my annual trip to Baker’s Mecca King Arthur’s Baker’s Store in Vermont.
Good luck!
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Anna Sawin

Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.


  1. Maria on February 20, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Whole Grain Baking Made Delicious! I’m a fan!
    Have FUN in Vermont!!!
    Say hello to King Arthur for me

  2. Sarah G now B on February 20, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Sounds good! On a semi-related note, we had quinoa for the first time last night. I’m still not sure what it is, grain? seed? I need a tutorial. Maybe that will be another Food Friday? Have fun in VT!

  3. thelandofka on February 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Have fun on your trip! I need to cook more with whole grains that is for sure. I don’t really bake much at all, though. See…then I want to eat all that stuff and that is just no good for the waistline. 😉

  4. B. on February 20, 2009 at 10:51 am


  5. Erin on February 20, 2009 at 11:14 am

    OMG I’m starving and these pictures so don’t help.

  6. marie on February 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Hmmm, might actually have to buy buttermilk for this one. I usualy never have it on hand and use the ole vinegar-in-the-milk trick. Sounds yummy, Elle is always begging me to make pancakes….

  7. ikkinlala on February 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I’d love to enter if Canadians may. The tip about the orange juice sounds useful – I don’t mind whole wheat flour, but some people in the household tell me it’s bitter. Enjoy your trip!

  8. ChiaLynn on February 20, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Notes to self: Buy buttermilk powder. Also, try white wheat flour. Also, eat lunch before reading Anna’s blog on Friday.

  9. Carolyn G on February 20, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I’d love to win. I have just started baking my own bread and I love it.

  10. isgreeneasy on February 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I have the King Arthur Cookie Companion, but the Whole Grain Baking book sounds wonderful!
    jggebhardt at gmail dot com

  11. Sarah on February 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Now I want pancakes.

    A friend just told me the other day that King Arthur packages a King Cake cake mix. Most expensive cake mix I’ve ever seen (upwards of $20 for the mix), but then again, WE ARE TALKING KING CAKE. drool.

  12. Sheila on February 20, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Yes please. I want the book! I have the regular one you know, and sometimes I just read it for fun….

  13. Kathleen on February 20, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I love King Arthur’s products, and love drooling (pun intended) over their catalog when it comes in the mail. Count me in!

    I blogged this here for you

  14. Jennifer on February 21, 2009 at 8:43 am

    I would defintely put this lovely book to use in my kitchen and I solemly swear to make every recipe in the book… may take a few years, but I will do it.

  15. Becky on February 21, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    those pancakes look amazing!

  16. Nicole on February 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I just had breakfast, but now I want some pancakes. Mmmmm….

  17. Ashley on February 22, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I would love to win this!

  18. Toonsis on February 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Funny, just this Sat. I made for my young cooking students Blueberry-Orange Pancakes. It is made with whole wheat, low fat yougurt, orange juice and skim milk, etc. They loved it. I wish I would of checked your site because your whole grain pancackes look better! Top that off with some of Vermont’s Maple Syrup Yummmmmmm! Thank you Anna!

  19. Melissa on February 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    It’s 9pm, my belly is full but I WANT SOME of those pancakes. They look so good!! Mmmmm.

  20. Shana on February 23, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity. I use their flour and would love the cookbook. I want to bake more bread this year.

  21. Karen on February 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    This is a book we would use all the time. Thanks

  22. Suzi on February 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    OH that looks yummy! I want to try the chocolate croissants!

  23. Maya Laurent on February 25, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    I need to get that cookbook! I’m always sneaking the whole wheat flour in too.

  24. Gale on April 10, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Am working in the Middle East and addressing cancer. I am am excited to learn how to make things that taste good and are good for you. Hmm… not the first time I’ve read about this cookbook!

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Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.