The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hard red winter wheat flour

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ww's picture
ww

Hard red winter wheat flour

Hi all,


Am going to jump into the amazing TFL with a question.


I have used Eden brand ORganic Hard Red Winter Wheat to bake and found that it can really vary. I understand it's a high-gluten, strong "bread" flour, although i don't remember what the difference between Spring and Winter Wheat is. Just read somewhere that it's considered a wholewheat flour?? I have not used it as such but that's not surprising at all given its texture. Also i believe the protein level is 14% (the website i saw gave the protein weight as 4g for a 28g serving).


Don't know if i'm totally off-track here; just trying to understand what the product i'm baking with. Because i have found quite major variations when using it. With the second pack, my dough was extremely wet, wetter than usual, and i found myself adding a significant bit of flour and kneading it (by machine, thank goodness) a lot more to get it anywhere near what i'm used to.


Can anyone shed light on this flour? And can one pack (presumably another harvest???) vary that much? MOST IMPORTANTLY, in general, are high-gluten flours more absorbent or less? If the dough is very wet, does that mean that the flour is NOT absorbent so i should cut back on the hydration in the first place?


Thank you very much in advance to any of you bread mavens who cares to answer!


 

GabrielLeung1's picture
GabrielLeung1

DISCLAIMER: I could have incorrect information, if I do, I'm sure someone will come around and correct me, but this is what I base my baking on, and it has served me well. 


The names spring and winter wheat appear to be derived from the season of planting (http://www.smallgrains.org/WHFACTS/6classwh.htm), spring wheat should have the most gluten.  


Flour varies. That is a fact of life, and you can't really get around it. That being said, gluten attracts water, so flour with higher gluten content should be more absorbent of water then flour with lower gluten content.


I've often found that high gluten flour requires more water then low gluten flour would; dough made from lower gluten flour will appear wetter with the same amount of water compared ot high gluten flour.


I've heard people say that flour from the same harvest, shipped over deserts or through forests will have greater moisture or lesser moisture (while all still being dry flour) compared to one another. These subtleties can affect the flour and you must learn to account for them or to adjust your ingredients according to how the dough appears.


On the one hand, you can try to adjust flour according to how moist ur flour is, on the other, you can embrace wet doughs and make your doughs intentionally wet, because they turn out quite nice. 

ww's picture
ww

Thanks Gabriel. I do like working with wet doughs. I'm just a bit confused because i would have expected it to require more water yet it's quite the opposite, and adding all that extra flour worries me. Manageable when you're making a bread you've done before but tricky when you're trying out a new recipe and don't quite know to expect.


I try to remember to add water incrementally but mostly forget :)


 

GabrielLeung1's picture
GabrielLeung1

Hm. I suggest adding all the water at the same time. Its usually flour that u want to add incrementally in fear of over-drying the dough. But thats all assuming that you've correctly scaled all your ingredients before putting them together. 


Calculate your hydration, and scale your ingredients. When that's all done you can try adjusting how much flour you'll need thinking about your gluten content.