Difference between Whole Wheat and All-Purpose Flour

Different flours work best in different recipes meaning all types have different baking times, instructions and uses.  The difference in nutritional value between some flours can be quite large and thus is also important to examine when deciding which flour to use.  Let’s look at the difference between Whole Wheat and All-Purpose flours.


Whole Wheat Flour:

Whole Wheat Flour

This is made by milling the entire wheat berry and is dark in color, full of wheat flavors and is used to create more dense, flavorful baked goods such as bread.

All-Purpose Flour:

All-Purpose Flour

Blend of hard and soft wheat, this flour is made by only grinding the endosperm and is usually used when making cakes or other baked goods that normally have a crumbly nature. 

Comparison chart

Whole Wheat Flour All-Purpose Flour
All three layers of the wheat berry are used Only the endosperm is ground
Better for denser goods such as bread Can be used in almost anything from cakes to gravies
Protein content: 14% Protein content: 10%
Four times higher in fibre Contains less nutrients
364 calories in 100g 398 calories in 100g

Whole Wheat vs. All-Purpose Flour

What is the difference between whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour?

  • To make whole wheat flour all three layers of the clean wheat berry are milled – the bran, germ and endosperm.  To make all-purpose the bran and germ are removed and only the endosperm is ground.
  • This also means whole wheat flour is much higher in nutrients than all-purpose.
  • In addition to being higher in nutrients, whole-wheat flour also has four times more fiber than all-purpose and provides more potassium, zinc and magnesium.
  • Whole wheat flour also has a higher protein content at 14% than all-purposes’ 10%, and fewer calories with 100g containing approximately 364 in comparison to all-purposes’ 398.
  • Whole wheat flour is much denser than all-purpose and commonly used in bread and other dense baked goods, all-purpose is better used for desserts with a more crumbly texture such as cake. 
  • Whole wheat can’t really be used in cakes as its density means it absorbs more moisture and can dry cakes out. 
  • All-purpose flour is far more versatile than whole wheat, as well as cakes it can be used in gravies, puddings etc. 


To emphasize these differences, below is a short video to showcase them: