The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lithuanian wheat flours

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MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

Lithuanian wheat flours

Hello! This is my first post here on TFL, and straight away I'm starting with a somewhat obscure question.

I am aware of German, Polish and so on flour classification, listing ash content which indicates the type of flour, for example Type-550 (popular in Germany, Poland), but here in Lithuania (and Latvia, though I may be wrong) all flour is classified not only by its ash, but also by gluten content, for example a typical German Type-550 equivalent would be 550D flour. The letter D would stand for the amount of gluten in the flour and the closer a letter is to the beginning of the alphabet, the more gluten there is (A being the highest, but I've never seen even a B in stores).

That would all be good and dandy, but I got to searching what do the letters mean more precisely. All I could stumble upon is the website of one our country's biggest flour distributors. On their website the following information is posted (link here: http://www.malsena.lt/en/produktai/profesionalams/kvietiniai-miltai/betariai-kvietiniai-miltai/tipas-550 ).

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Type 550

Wheat flour is milled from soft wheat grain. It is used as the main material for bread products and sweet pastries and snacks; it makes up almost 1/3 of all products used for food.

Quality indicators of Superior grade wheat flour (type 550):

Type Ash, % Gluten, %
550 B0,51-0,6331-32
550 C0,51-0,6328-30
550 D0,51-0,6325-27
550 E0,51-0,6322-24

 

LST 1133 classifies wheat flour into types determined by the residue of mineral substances, i.e. ash and gluten proteins, after burning the flour. The number indicates the ash content and the letter indicates the gluten content.

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As you can see, the table lists even the lowest gluten level at 22-24 %! I find this odd, because while reading American baking books, I read that what you call bread flour has 11.5 - 13.5 % gluten, and Peter Reinhart even mentions that in high-gluten flour it is a "rare, but possible" occurence to see 16 % gluten.

So I suppose my question is - what gives? The table can't be right exactly, but I can't imagine how it could be wrong either. Note that I can't really compare this to any more conventional flour, because I've been baking with local flours all my life and they perform fine - I'm just curious as to the classification. I can't actually get the official LST 1133 standard - it is, very stupidly in my opinion, only available by (not cheap) mail order.

 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I know considerably more about bread than I do specifically about flour.  Here is my guess...Reinhart and others refer to total protein content of flour.  That protein figure is not clearly defined as to what makes up that protein content so it is not an entirely valuable number but it is a good general indicator.  It is however a measure of "protein" and not a measure of "gluten".  The chart from the Lithuanian flour company does not speak of protein content but rather of the percentage of gluten and I cannot even begin to guess how they might measure that.   So the two methods of measuring are different and cannot be directly compared.

Jeff

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

Thanks, your answer does make sense.

I just checked Ciril Hitz's book and he does classify flour as depends on protein, not gluten content. But really, Reinhart in BBA does say GLUTEN content (when it is never explicitly listed on flours!), but in WW he says that there are four types of protein in flour, two of which later form gluten.

mariana's picture
mariana

Exactly. They list gluten that can be washed out of dough made with that flour, regardless of that flour protein content. Flour doesn't contain gluten, it only  contains proteins that organize themseleves into gluten network when flour is moistened and kneaded.

In North America, protein content is related to gluten in dough by a coefficient 2.4. I.e. if bread flour in North America has 10g of protein per 100 of flour (standard moisture content), then your dough would show 24% gluten content in lab results. This coefficient is very stable for North American flours.

In Europe and Asia flours vary, gluten does not depend on protein content in a strict and reliable way,  and in Lithuania all flour with 10.3g of protein per 100g will give different amount of gluten in dough, depending on its strength. I.e.

 Lithuanian grade B would correspond to North American flour with 31-32/2.4 =12.9 - 13.3 % protein

Grade C - to North American bread flour with 28-30/2.4= 11.7- 12.5% protein

etc.

And that is why you don't see grade A flour in stores. That is as rare as flour with protein higher than 13.5% in North American stores. Let's say, flour with protein 16% THAT would be grade A in Lithuania. That would be a rare specialty white bread flour.

 

mariana

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

Thank you for a very informative answer, mariana!

That also means that I lucked out into buying 10 kilos of quite nice Finnish "Myllyn Paras" flour for way cheaper than it's worth.