Differences among wheat varitials .

Asked November 9, 2019, 10:52 AM EST

There are many varitials of wheat. How does a.specific variety effect flavor, or baking results, or appearance of the finished product for the home baker?

Clackamas County Oregon wheat

2 Responses

Hello,

The main characteristic of wheat varieties that determines baking potential is the protein level. "Soft wheat" varieties have lower protein levels, ~8-10% protein. These lower protein flours are used for biscuits, pastries, Asian noodles. "hard wheat" varieties have higher protein (=gluten) levels and are favorable for bread making. These varieties 9-12% protein or even higher. In the Willamette Valley, nearly 100% of the commercial wheat grown in soft white wheat. The higher precipitation in our region can make it hard to consistently achieve high protein necessary for high quality hard wheat varieties. However, going back 100+ years more wheat varieties where grown in the valley and recent local grain movements are showing that high protein wheat varieties can successfully be grown in the valley (https://www.camascountrymill.com/mill).

Less attention is paid to other varietal aspects, but red wheat tends to have a stronger flavor than white wheat. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6985/wheat-red-vs-white-spring-vs-winter

Further reading that might be interesting:
http://thebreadlab.wsu.edu/
https://www.uswheat.org/working-with-buyers/wheat-classes/
https://www.lindleymills.com/news/74-wheat-quality-and-protein-levels.html
https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/1019e/

Thank you for your email