Health vs. Taste: What Type of Flour for Your Waffles?

It is now relatively common knowledge that whole grain flour is much healthier than white flour. Non-whole grain flour has a longer shelf life because important nutritional elements have been stripped away. It’s less attractive to microorganisms that would otherwise feed upon it and spoil it more quickly. However, it’s not only less nutritional for microorganisms–it’s also less nutritional for us.

However, healthier waffles come at a slight cost: whole wheat flour produces a somewhat denser and less “fluffy” waffle, which you might not prefer. Here are a few ways around that problem:

You can achieve a “compromise” by using half whole grain buckwheat (not a type of wheat!) or wheat flour and half unbleached white flour–or you may prefer the taste of whole wheat white flour.

There are also flours made from other grains, including spelt, rye, amaranth, and oats, that make great waffles. These have different nutritional profiles than wheat, and for some individuals, are easier to digest. In the Pittsburgh area, for example, you can buy pre-made waffle mix with spelt at locations including the East End Food Co-op.

If at least half of the flour in your recipe is wheat flour, you can usually get away without using an additional binder in a vegan waffle. If more than half is not-wheat and has relatively little or no gluten, you may need some ground flaxseed and additional water or xanthan gum to help hold it together.

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