The Fresh Loaf

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Grain Millers: What type of wheat do you prefer?

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fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Grain Millers: What type of wheat do you prefer?

For those of you who grind your own wheat, what type of wheat berries do you prefer?  Winter or spring wheat?  Red or white?   Do you prefer different types of wheat for diferent types of bread? 

I just purchased a Nutrimill grain mill and bought 25 lbs of organic red winter wheat from Utah from my local health food store.  Also purchased 25 lbs of organic Canadian rye.  I haven't used the wheat yet, but the rye has been wonderful.    Would be interested in your experiences.  Thanks! Liz

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I don't usually see hard red wheat labeled as either winter or spring.  I've been assuming what I have is winter, but I don't know.  So what it boils down to is that I buy hard red wheat and take what I get.

Rosalie

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I didn't read the rest of the question.  I bought 50 pounds of hard red berries.  I'm not going to buy hard white in addition, and I doubt I would buy the white because I like the taste of the red.  But I also have soft white wheat berries that I use for lighter things like cookies and cakes.

Rosalie

susanB's picture
susanB

I use hard white more for rolls and sandwich breads, and the red for hearth breads.

All my grains have been purchased from Honeyville Grains. They've recently added Spring Wheat, which I'll be ordering soon.  On a non-baking note, their steel-cut oats are a great find.

susanB

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

SusanB -- Thanks for recommending Honeyville Grains. I had not heard of them, and they have a major distribution center in Southern California near me.  They have a nice selection of whole grains and I really like their $4.49 maximum shipping cost.  The shipping is so prohibitively expensive on grains and flour.  Am a bit new to whole grains, but their 50 lb bulk prices seemed high.  The combined cost of my two 25 lb sacks of rye and wheat from local health food store was $31.00.   Do you know if any of their grains are organically grown?  Have you tried any of their white flours?  And, if I place an order, will definitely try their steel cut oats.  Thanks for the recommendations! Liz

susanB's picture
susanB

I don't believe Honeyville's grains are organic. And I haven't found any local suppliers of grain, so the cost works out for me (when you factor the low shipping cost) Last year I bought 50 pounds each of hard red, hard white, rye and steel cut oats. That's 200 pounds of grain, $4.49 to be delivered to my front porch.

susanB

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I buy organic hard, red spring wheat.  I was using the organic hard, red winter wheat, but after a suggestion from JMonkey, I switched to the spring, it really made a difference for me.  I buy a 50 lb. bag of this for $20.00 dollars, which I think is a great deal.  The bread that my family favors the most is a Maple Oatmeal Wheat Bread, so I also buy organic rolled oats for this, which are a little bit more expensive.   I have also bought 25 lbs. of organic rye, but I so far, have not been successful at making a good rye bread.  I also bought some organic splet berries, but have not used them yet.  I buy all of these from health food stores locally.  I have compared all of the stores here and also have seen what is available on line.  I found some good prices on grains on the internet, until I saw the shipping costs, which were ridiculous (the same price as what I wanted to buy)!  So, I would suggest going to a local health food store and check the prices for bulk, alot of them will do special orders for no additional charge.  My spelt was 25 lbs for about $26.00 and the rye was about 17.00 for 25 lbs. and the oats were 50lbs for about $26.00.  All of what I buy is organic and costs a little more,but is worth it.  I have lately been placing multiple orders with different stores because the one store, that I deal with the most, has been unable to get the spring wheat.  I have heard that wheat prices are going up fast and so I have tried some other stores, so I can still get good prices.  So, I urge everyone to stock up on some of your grains now, next year, you might find them hard to come by.  I heard that there is a wheat shortage coming.

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Ramona:  Why do you like the spring wheat better than winter wheat?  Because of its higher protein content is it easier to work with?  Produces a lighter loaf?  I, too, purchased from my local health food store to avoid exorbitant shipping costs.  My recent 25 lb. purchase was winter wheat but if spring wheat is noticeably better, I will opt for that on the next purchase. Thanks!

Airfun's picture
Airfun

I recently got a Nutrimill as well, so haven't experimented a lot.  I got hard red spring and hard white in 22lb sacks, using about half each for a loaf gives an amazing flavour, sweet and the red seems to come through as very distinct, but not overwhelming.  Overwhelming isn't the right word, there was something about the taste that was a Yum! but wouldn't have been, I don't think if it was all hard red srping.  I did have some hard red winter to finish up when I got the Nutrimill, it didn't have the same impact, but there could be other reasons as well :)  I'm still experimenting with everything!

 

Chris 

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I do use the spring because it does produce a lighter loaf and the protein makes the dough easier to deal with.  When I made the Blueberry Cheese Braids with the winter, it's texture was just not enjoyable or as tasty, but with the spring, they came out great.  In fact, they were only around for 24 hours, which was not the case with the results from the winter.  Also, when I was working with the winter, my family definitely cut back on their bread intake, but when I started using the spring and doing this Maple Oatmeal Loaf (I also add sunflower seeds and ground flaxseed), I can't keep bread in the house now.  I keep finding us out of bread before I can make more and I make 2-3 loaves at a time.  I am trying to work out a system where I only have to bake twice a week, but so far it has been almost every two days.  This bread is really good!  And healthy!  I was using milk with a tbsp. of cider vinegar for some of the liguids in this recipe, but I wanted to see how it would turn out with all water instead and you would never know the difference.   So, I am just going to use water for now on.  I always do the sponge method overnight. 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

The wheat I mill most is organic hard red winter wheat. I can't get hard red spring wheat locally and the cheapest mail order source for spring wheat is double what I pay for winter wheat when you factor in shipping costs plus it is not organic. I have, however, used Bob's Red Mill whole wheat flour, which is milled from organic hard red spring wheat, so I do have a comparison point,

Most of my bread combines home-milled flour with unbleached bread flour. Given this caveat, I've found no difference (in performance or taste) in winter vs spring hard red wheat in the final product. Like many bakers here, I use long fermentation times and it's interesting to note that Jeffrey Hamelman in his book Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes mentions that winter wheat is as good or possibly better than spring wheat for breads using this technique, despite the somewhat lower protein content of winter wheat.

I did order some Montana hard white spring wheat but haven't milled any of it yet, so can't comment on red vs white wheat

I keep some soft wheat on hand for flat breads.

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Subfuscpersona: I was hoping that you would respond to this discussion as I recall that you have lots of experience at grinding your own grains. My baking style is much like yours: a combination of unbleached organic white flour with whole grains and long fermentations. I also recall, but am not sure where, reading that winter wheat was preferred for artisan style breads (perhaps akin to using lower protein white flours to bread flours). Since I, too, had trouble finding spring wheat, I ordered the winter wheat by default, but wanted to check in with the experienced folks to find out your preferences.  Am looking forward to using some of the winter wheat in next weekend's baking. So far, the freshly ground rye has been excellent. Would be interested in hearing your thoughts about the white spring wheat when you use it. Thanks so much! Liz

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

hi fleur-de-liz,

Re spring vs winter wheat, I honestly think it is only part of the mix (is that a pun?)

I notice even in this thread that those who prefer flour from spring wheat were making bread with other ingredients besides wheat flour - Maple Oatmeal Wheat Bread and Blueberry Cheese Braids. In this case the higher protein in spring wheat might be the crucial difference. Its important to factor in all the ingredients called for.

Techniques also affect result - whether you use a soaker and/or autolyse, how long the fermentation is, whether you do an overnight refrigerator retardation, how you knead (and how long), etc. etc. So many variables to consider.

For example, my basic "whole wheat" sandwich loaf (baked in a loaf pan) includes a high percentage of biga, which I make with King Arthur Bread flour (12.7% protein). This may compensate for the slightly lower protein value of winter whole wheat. I noticed that if the biga was made from Gold Medal Harvest King flour (~ 12% protein) my whole wheat loaves had less oven spring and were somewhat heavier. I also used to include a small amount of gluten flour, but found this unnecessary when I switched to the higher protein bread flour.

My momma always said the devil is in the details. So I don't think you can say one kind of wheat will always be "best". About the only constant I've seen in my own baking is that - for wheat - fresh milled tastes better than the best brands of store bought.

As a side note, I'm envious of those who have the storage space to buy grain in 25 pound sacks to take advantage of the lower cost, but, alas, this is impossible in a small apartment.

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Thank you for your comments on when to use different types of wheat. I now have more questions as I used my wheat berries this weekend.  I ground my organic red winter wheat coarsely in the Nutrimill and then sifted out the bran to try to simulate Heartland Mill's Golden Buffalo, which I really enjoy.  My milled wheat tasted (and smelled) kind of grassy.  That taste was really pronounced when I first cut into the bread.  A day later it wasn't as pronounced, but I am still not thrilled with  the taste.  Any thoughts?  It was a very long fermented miche style bread, mostly whole wheat with just a small amount of rye and white flour. Could the wheat need some aging?  The rye that I milled was wonderful when used moments after being ground. 

I just ordered some 5 lb bags of various wheat berries from Wheat Montana to experiment with the different types of wheat, although I am trying to get away from the exorbitant shipping costs of mail ordering, and particularly since my local health food store will buy in bulk for me. 

Thanks so much for your advice!

Liz

PS: You can store your grains in my garage any time!

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

hi fleur-de-liz

Excuse my tardy answer. I would really like to respond to your points in detail, but find the response area really limited for what I'd like to say.

Here's a brief response to only one of your comments...

> re grassy taste in bread using flour milled from organic red winter wheat...

I don't experience the "grassy" taste and smell that you got. On the other hand, you say your miche was made mostly from home-milled wheat with very little other grains (rye/white flour). I (unfortunately for your purposes) typically use a much smaller percentage of whole grain flour (max is 50-60% of total flour weight). I also tend to use a biga for a significant portion of the final dough. IMHO, my greater use of white flour might counteract any pronounced adverse taste from freshly milled whole wheat flour.

Some ppl also complain of a "bitter" taste in bread made with a high percent of whole wheat flour. I typically add a small amount (2-4% by bakers percentage) of sweetener to bread with a high (over 30%) percent of whole wheat flour. The sweeteners I favor are buckwheat honey, unsulphered molasses and barley malt syrup. The amount of sweetener used is too small to make the bread taste sweet, but may help in counteracting this problem.

> would you like to continue this discussion by emal just between the two of us? If yes, my email is mygbmailbox "at" gmail "dot" com - you can give me your email in this thread or just send me a "starter" email so I have your address.

I think this could be fun. After all, we have the same basic equipment (though my Nutrimill is the "one-speed" version so it only operates on high speed). In addition, we have a very similar selection of grains. Even if we don't make the same kinds of bread (your breadth of bread making is much wider than mine) we can trade info and efforts. My mom was right; the devil is in the details and possibly that's what needed here.

> PS - I am getting 50 lb of grain in 5 days - I wish I could use your garage for storage! :) :)

In a moment of madness, I ordered 25 lb. each of two kinds of organic hard spring wheat from www.wheatmontana.com - "Prairie Gold", their white wheat and "Bronze Chef", their red wheat. I still have lots of hard red winter wheat (plus, ummmm, spelt, rye, oat groats... I'm embarressed to continue. LOL, You'd think I was stocking up for a global famine). Anyway, I have lots of grain to experiment with...

...looking forward to your response... SF

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I've been told that the bitterness is in the red pigment, hence whole white wheat isn't bitter. My DH is very sensitive to that bitter taste, and likes the white wheat much better.

I'd love to have your discussion continued here as I hope to get a grain mill for my birthday next month. 

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I don't know why your wheat is bitter. We grow our own wheats and stone grind them and I have never had any bitter taste from the flour or grains. For more info on flours and grains check out the website at www.organicwheatproducts.com

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Subfuscpersona:  Thank you so much for trying to assist me on my grain milling adventures!  As requested by KipperCat I will continue the discussion here so that others  can benefit.

I did get some grains from Wheat Montana to experiment with -- Prairie Gold and Bronze Chief.  Last weekend, I used some of the freshly milled Bronze Chief (red spring wheat) in a French Country Bread, which had a much lower percentage of whole wheat than the previous Miche.  But, I could tell right away that the Bronze Chief smelled much better after being milled, with no grassy smell, and the taste of the flour in the bread was wonderful.  Of course, this was not a true test since the percentage of whole wheat was much lower, but the smell and the taste were so much better than the previous winter red wheat. 

 I have read that last year's wheat crop in some areas was relatively poor, and that, in fact, conditions were too good and the wheat was not 'stressed' enough producing a low quality and often poorer tasting grain. Perhaps also my batch of organic Utah grown hard winter wheat just isn't very good. 

I also typically bake with mixed grains, but do enjoy breads with whole grains.  Certainly the freshly milled rye that I have been using has been just wonderful and has turned rye breads into a whole new thing for me. 

So I am at this point chalking up my grassy tasting wheat experience to poorer quality grain.  I really don't want to 'age' the wheat since that seems to counteract the positive nutritional benefits of freshly milled grains.  But I would love to continue this discussion and benefit from your experience, as well as others.

Thanks,

Liz

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

to fleur-de-liz and KipperCat

I would love to continue this discussion about grain and home milling. Besides the three of us, I know that there are other members of and visitors to TFL who are interested in this topic and probably have much to contribute.

Unfortunately, forum posts are essentially transitory and tend to die away after time. That's just the nature of the beast. Furthermore, despite all the search aids on the site, ppl often don't find all the good advice (on any topic) that's been contributed.

My suggestion would be to create a *collaborative* blog on TFl on this issue. While a blog normally belongs to one person, in this case the blog would be open to anyone who wishes to contribute to this topic.

Never having set up a blog on TFL (or anywhere else, for that matter), I don't know if it is technically possible to have a blog with multiple "owners". However, if it can be done, this might be a good way to continue our discussion, share our knowledge and solicit the contributions of others.

What do you both think about this idea? - SF 

 

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

A collaborative blog is not technically feasible. A new forum for grains and milling is, so I created one. Enjoy.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Now if we could only go back and put all the old "grains and milling" posts there.

Rosalie

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I really like the idea of some place for milling discussions. I don't know if the software would support a multi-owner blog.

I got to thinking that maybe a forum might be a better place, so I looked at the list of forums. Lo and behold, there is a forum there called "Grains and Milling!" Thanks Floyd. That was quick work. :>

Airfun's picture
Airfun

Yay!  Thanks Floyd! 

I was hoping this discussion wouldn't go private and disappear. I don't have a lot to contribute yet, but am soaking up a lot of information.

The new forum will be on my check first list :)

 

Chris 

goetter's picture
goetter

Another lurker says "likewise" - I have a Retsel en route to me this week, and a corner of my dry, cold basement reserved for grain storage.  I appreciate the opportunity to continue eavesdropping.

siuflower's picture
siuflower

  My freind is going to give his grain mill that he never use. I'm looking forward to grind my own flour. I appreciate the information in this blog.

prairiepatch's picture
prairiepatch

This is sure exciting.  I have just recently found and joined the fresh loaf.  I have been baking bread for about a year now.  I too purchased the nutrimill and have been absolutely loving it.   

I live on the farm and  I have been using purple wheat.  It is a specialty wheat that has a super high protein content.  It is loaded with antioxidants and flavanoids.  It has a beautiful sweet nutty flavor and really makes wonderful bread and Ihaven't even mentioned the wonderful color of the bread.  

 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

prairiepatch on September 29, 2008 wrote:
I live on the farm and I have been using purple wheat. It is a specialty wheat that has a super high protein content. It is loaded with antioxidants and flavanoids. It has a beautiful sweet nutty flavor and really makes wonderful bread

Please share with us additional information re. purple wheat Can you provide link(s)that provide information re this variety? Can you provide links to mail order sources?

Why do you especially like this variety of wheat, and how do you use it in bread recipes?

Thanks for any additional info you can provide ...

SF

 

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

We're all in our little cocoons with an oversimplified view of things.  There's hard red wheat, hard white wheat, soft white wheat.  I found out recently there's soft red wheat.  Also purple.

Well, if we weren't in our cocoons, we'd realize it's a highly complex world out there.  How many types of poppy are there?  How many manzanitas?  Oaks?  Felines?

The commercial world has taken us in.  Certain forms of wheat are "commercially viable", that is that people buy them.  So the farms sow those kinds.  But there's really lots of variety out there.  They may be hard to find if you want to buy them, but they're there.

Rosalie

charbono's picture
charbono

This wheat might be similar to one called Ethiopian Blue Tinge.

cb

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

I too would like to know more about this purple wheat. The only purple wheats I know are teraploid T. turgidum varieties, some of which may have been bred into bread wheat. I'm finding bits and pieces via the internet. Prairiepatch doesn't seem to be around much any more.


Jeremy

prairiepatch's picture
prairiepatch

Hi there,


Your right I haven't been around here much for quite a while.  But I have still been baking all my families bread.  It is surprising how the bread just gets better and better with more experience.


Anyway I am not sure is anybody still interested in learning more about purple wheat.  It is still my favorite wheat to use.  I am going to be starting a batch right now.  Let me know if you are still interested.  And sorry for disappearing like that.


Holly

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

And yes. I would still like any information anyone has on purple wheats. I contacted a commercial bakery in |Austria that said they specialised in goods from purple wheats, but got no reply.


Jeremy

prairiepatch's picture
prairiepatch

Actually Jeremy you mentioned you knew of some purple wheat varieties called teraploid T. turgidum.  Well you may know more about it than me.  Because I don't know what variety of purple wheat I am using but I will tell you what I do know.


 First of all because of its dark colour it is very high in all those antioxidants and anthocyanins.  Blueberries are supposed to be a super food, well the purple wheat is similar in its health benefits.  There was a whole university study that was on the net where they tested the different wheats for their health benefits.  Now they want money before they let you read the study.  But here is the link to the study abstract maybe you can find it for free somewhere else on the net.  http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf101700s


As far as my own personal experience with it.  I mentioned earlier that it is sweet and nutty.  Well the sweetness was the honey I added to the bread.  But it is much different from regular wheat varieties.  It has a much stronger flavor, very earthy and I think nutty.  The colour of the wheat and the resulting bread is very dark almost like a pumpernickel.  I have my regular bread recipe that I always use.  Sometimes I use the purple wheat and sometimes I use the regular red spring wheat.  Both are very good but they are so different from each other it is like apples and oranges.  


Apparently from what I have heard.  There are only two farmers here in this province that have the rights to grow purple wheat. I get my purple wheat directly from the farmer.  However he deals with InfraReady Products.  Here is the link to them maybe they might help you if you were interested in purchasing some.


http://www.infrareadyproducts.com/


Well hopefully that has answered some of your questions.  If there is anything else you would like to know just ask maybe I can help.


Talk to you later


Holly

accumulatorx's picture
accumulatorx

Hi, could you post or send me a way to get the purple wheat direct from the farmer? I get quite a few heirloom grains direct, it gets too expensive to buy 50 lbs one 1 lb package at a time from retailers who repackage it and hike the price up a bit too high. Thanks, accumulatorx

prairiepatch's picture
prairiepatch

Hi again,


Just for kicks and giggles here is a link to a Chinese TV commercial I found.  They make instant noodles from the purple wheat.  In the commercial they flash an image of the purple wheat.  It is in Chinese so I don't understand it but I thought it was entertaining.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExmJKudBh8s