The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Difference between European and North American wheat?

Hairy Crumb's picture
Hairy Crumb

Difference between European and North American wheat?

I was recently visiting a friend who lives in East Riding of Yorkshire, UK. There's an old windmill there, the Skidby Mill, where they grind their grain under stones turned by the windmill...It's great to see and the people who run the show love to tell you all about it. I bought a few sacks of wholemeal and brought them back home to New Jersey. I mixed with about 50-60% King Arthur's bread flour to make my sandwich bread, and the loaves came out so soft and wonderful. I've gone through all but about a kilo of coarse grind (VERY coarse) and I wish I could get my hands on something comparable. The lady at the mill was telling me about how the european wheat berry is softer than what we grow in the states, mostly due to climate. Does anyone know anything about this? What would distinguish this amazing wholemeal that I found in Britain, and can I get it's equal in the states? Oh, and finally, what should I do with my coarsely ground flour? :)

And if anyone is in Yorkshire, you have to stop by this mill. It's really interesting. I actually met the woman who tended the mill at a farmer's market earlier in the day where they were selling their flour. They're very proud of their small carbon footprint! I ended up back at the mill and talking with the miller as he was shutting down for the night. These few people actually eek out a living grinding grain with a windmill...isn't that nice?


pjkobulnicky's picture

I get great whole meal from an old (demonstration) water powered stone mill here in eastern Ohio. The wheat grown around here (and throughout the East) and thus the wheat they grind is Spring wheat (ripens in the Fall)... on the soft side.  Look for similar places near you.  I bet there are old mills in eastern PA around the historic Amish communities. Usually you have to find out when they are grinding.

But remember ... that stuff is full of oils and will go rancid in a heartbeat; so if you find a source don't buy too much unless you have a big freezer. 


Paul Kobulnicky

Baking in Ohio