What’s the difference between a winter and spring wheat?
Seasonal labels refer to when the grain was planted. Timing affects the size and strength of the plant, which are important to a farmer. Winter wheat tend to have stronger stalks and smaller heads, while spring wheat likely follow the opposite trend. Spring wheat are less susceptible to diseases, but must be grown where sufficient rainfall is reliable in the early spring.
What’s the difference between hard and soft wheat?
Hard wheat tend to have higher protein content and stronger gluten-forming proteins than soft wheat. Thus, hard wheat are better suited for yeasted products and breads with an open, chewy inside. Flour from soft wheat is better for chemically-leavened products like cakes, muffins, biscuits, and cookies – baked goods with fine insides.
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This is my favorite wheat. It’s a versatile grain can be used for breads, cakes, and salads. So soft, sweet and plump, it can be cooked up like rice or barley as a dinner grain!
Back in Mexico tortillas are almost always made of corn, native to southern Mexico. Sonora was the first wheat variety successfully cultivated in the new world, and was used in the northern Mexican state of Sonora to create the very first wheat tortillas. Naturalized in the dry regions of Mexican north makes it well adapted to the hot dry summers of the Ukiah valley.
If you feel particularly adventurous try using it to mill your own giant burrito tortillas. It’s also good for making pastries because of its fluffy, soft texture that gives you the feel of pastry flour with the nutrition of whole grains.
This is what Dave Miller said about my Sonora: “The bread has a nice mellow flavor that I’ve come to expect from Sonora, a taste that I like very much…your Sonora has a more buttery, light flavor.” There, you heard it from the whole grain man himself.
When I lived in Toronto, I noticed sacks of red fife flour in each of my friends’ houses. I had never seen grain varieties specified on flour bags before. This piqued my curiosity, wondering if my friends were flour children of a cult. Indeed, they were in a 35 million person cult: being Canadian. The official national grain of Canada red fife is famous as a bread wheat. It crossed several continents and across the Giant Pond before getting to Canada. It’s experiencing a revival as home-baking and whole grains becomes increasingly popular. Just like Canadian football with its hundred meter fields and Canadian bacon which for some reason goes on pizza, red fife is much like the varieties of wheat you’re accustomed to, but a bit different. Nutty, bold, yet familiar.
In the fall of 2013 I found myself in a lovely California-style home in Los Feliz, California learning how to bake bread. Between dough risings and loading up the wood-fire brick oven, I got to know Mark Stambler. It turns out that he was a key actor in changing the state’s cottage food law to enable more people to sell homemade foods, including his own. Thank goodness because his L.A. Miche is so good! Triple IV is Mark’s favorite grain to bake with, so this crop is dedicated to him. Mark said that the 2015 Harvest California Red is noticeably sweet and smooth.
This one’s for all my eastern European friends who fed me rye bread and crackers on nearly every occasion there was to eat. This grain is used for crackers, bread, and beverages. Spicy, nutty, and a staple. Just like my friends.
This ancient grain resulted from a cross of the ancient and wild grains in the Near East. Prominent in diets from the Bronze Age to medieval times, spelt remains popular in northern Spain as an important health food. Its distinctively dynamic, sweet, bright flavor makes a great impression on any palate.
Spelt is sought out for making breads, crackers, beer, and distilled spirits such as the Dutch jenever.
Akmolinka | Cone wheat
Alaska | Soft white winter wheat
Blu’dur Arcour | Hulless emmer
Chiddam Blanc de Mars | Soft white spring wheat
Foisy | Soft white spring wheat
Ethiopian Blue Tinge Emmer
Syrian Wheat | Hard red spring wheat
Tres | Soft white spring wheat
Xinchan Rice | Wheat
Wit Wolkering | Soft white spring wheat