Hard Red Wheat

Asked August 7, 2017, 11:52 AM EDT

Someone gave me some hard red wheat vacuum sealed in metal containers that hold about 11-12 cups of wheat. How can I tell if it is too old to use for bread making? I made a batch and the wheat tastes strong and it didn't rise. I know it wasn't the yeast because it activated before hand in water.

Shelby County Kentucky

3 Responses

I have talked to a Shelby County resident who makes her family's bread all the time. She said that her experience with red wheat is that it is hard, naturally strong in flavor and tastes nutty. Some people like the taste. She always blends hard red wheat with all-purpose flour or a golden wheat. Blending the red wheat with another type may help your bread rise better. Does the recipe also include some sugar to help the yeast work?

Additional comments from Sheila

I have talked to Wiesenberger (spelling?) Mills. They said that they mark their grain products with a "Best used by date of one year". Wheat can be kept longer and still taste good. It helps to keep the ground flour or wheat berries in the freezer to prolong their use.

We don't know how old the red wheat is that was given to you. If the fragrance has an off odor, it is probably already becoming rancid because wheat and flour can become old and rancid. If only hard red wheat is used in bread, it probably won't rise (or not very much) because the red wheat is very dense. The recommendations are to add another type of flour to the red wheat to lighten the product. Usually 1/2 of each type of wheat can be used. I hope these comments are beneficial in deciding whether or not to continue using the red wheat that you were given. Bakers I have talked to said that the hard red wheat has a strong flavor, but you certainly don't want to continue to use it if the bread has a rancid or off flavor.


Yes, honey or cane sugar. My question was does wheat get old? What is its shelf life? Thanks for your suggestion.

Hello. Thank you for your question. Please contact the Shelby County Extension Agent for Family & Consumer Sciences for additional information. Her contact information is below.

Sheila K Fawbush
Extension Agent
Shelby Cooperative Extension Office
1117 Frankfort Road
(502) 633-4593