The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

artisan bread with soft wheat -- it can be done!

ericb's picture

artisan bread with soft wheat -- it can be done!


A few weeks ago, I posted a question about using soft winter wheat for baking artisan bread. Here's the brief story. My wife and I are somewhat passionate about local food. Since we can only grow soft wheat here in Kentucky, I always assumed that I would have to buy flour milled from wheat grown in Kansas or the Northern Plains.


Fast forward to Monday when I was at the market and saw this:

... a bag of All Purpose flour from Weisenberger Mills, Midway, KY. Now, I have used their flour in the past, specifically their bread flour milled from hard red spring wheat, and it has performed beautifully. Check out the sticker on this bag, though:



Yup. Kentucky Proud, made from wheat grown in Woodford County, KY (also home of a fantastic bourbon, Woodford Reserve). I decided to throw out everything I thought I knew about flour and try to bake artisan bread with it.


The end result?


Not bad, right? I chose Hamelman's Baguettes With Poolish. I think this recipe provides a decent baseline, and really lets the flour speak for itself.



I will be the first to admit that this is far from my best loaf. The crust is a too pale and the scoring is nothing to write home about (I may have gotten a bit anxious and threw it in the oven too soon, but 30 minutes into proofing, it started to feel a little dead to the touch). The crumb is perfect for dipping in olive oil or slathering with spread. The flavor is quite nice, with just a hint of tang from the poolish, an almost buttery finish, and the subtle taste of wheat typical in a simple white bread such as this.


I think I will try a more advanced recipe next time, and see just how far I can push this flour. 



Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

I've heard and read that it can be done - and yours looks good. But I have to admit to being beaten by it. In all the years i've made all kinds of bread I've never been able to make it successfully with soft flour.

So very well done!

Kroha's picture

That is very interesting!  While looking for more local flour supply, I was in touch with Daisy Organic Flour.  They are great enthusiasts of baking bread with soft wheat, which, they say, is what has been used in the US prior to industrialization for bread baking.  While on the phone, they said they wanted to "convert" me into a soft wheat baker.  They mailed me an article about it -- if you would like, I would be happy to give you a title. I was under impression that they are very knowledgeable about this type of baking -- perhaps you would be interested in getting in touch with them as well.  I did not ask for the name of the gentelman I spoke with, but he was really enthuastic and helpful.