The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Wheat Montana flours?

Thor Simon's picture
Thor Simon

Wheat Montana flours?

One of my local stores has started carrying Wheat Montana flours, in 5lb retail packaging.  I see some good things about these flours here and elsewhere, particularly the Prairie Gold.

However, there doesn't seem to be date coding anywhere on the flour bags.  I wonder if it makes sense to buy whole wheat flour if I have no idea when it was ground.  What would you do?

They also have the white flour, which I've never seen before.  It is supposedly single-source from their own farms like the other Wheat Montana products, produced with natural methods though not organic-certified, and I note that unlike a lot of organic flours it has some malted barley added, which I'd prefer.  But I can't find a spec sheet and WM's marketing materials are a bit vague on this product: is is a super-high-gluten flour?  Or just a "high protein" AP flour in the 12% range?  In various text on their web site they seem to suggest both.

Has anyone used the Wheat Montana white flour?  Their customer service doesn't seem to be tremendously responsive.

LLM777's picture

I'm not sure about most of your questions but I've been buying WM grain for a number of years and have been very pleased. A number of years ago I got the flour and stuck it in the freezer in bags to preserve it. Now I buy the whole berry from a co-op and grind myself. Very Satisfied.

beeman1's picture

I have bought there grains for many years. You might want to drop them an e-mail or call them and ask.

mcs's picture

I don't know about the date coding on the smaller bags.  Their larger bags have dates on them, but that doesn't help you any. As you probably saw on their website, they list their wholewheat flours in the 15% range.  According to the side of the bags of flour I have downstairs, the flours have:
White=4g protein per 30g flour (13.3%)
Bronze Chief=5g protein per 30g flour (16.6%)

Obviously those are rounded numbers, but that'll get you in the ballpark.

I use their white and prairie gold flours for almost everything in my bakery. 


Thor Simon's picture
Thor Simon

Thanks for the info, Mark.  I suspect the local store (Fairway Market, in and around NYC) which is selling their flours may also be using them in their bakery -- they have quite a large in-house baking operation and they make a few things like whole wheat bagels which clearly are made with white whole wheat.  I wish they'd put in one of those nifty Wheat Montana on-demand mini-mills I've seen pictures of!

So if you are using their white flour for all kinds of baking, I'm guessing it's not a Sir Lancelot/All Trumps type super high gluten flour.  I have learned not to trust the nutrition labels about protein content -- flours from KA Bread (a.k.a. KA Special) at 12.7% protein all the way to All Trumps at 14.2% protein all list the same 4g/30 oz number on the nutrition label.  Gotta love that rounding.

I guess I'll buy some and try it.  I've both emailed and called WM but no response as yet.



AnnieC's picture


I've been using this flour for years, since it's a locally produced flour.  It's excellent for feeding my starters and for making sourdough breads and bagels.  Years ago a gentleman who worked for the company told me it is a high gluten flour, that performs best when machine kneaded.  Just recently, my 11 year old daughter won the best of all foods from all age categories (including professional) in our county fair, using a bread recipe she developed with this flour. 

pmccool's picture

Yes, whole wheat flour typically requires more water than white flour to produce a dough with similar handling characteristics.  That's because the bran absorbs more water than the starchy portions do.

And yes, a high-protein flour absorbs more water than will a low-protein flour.

So, Wheat Montana whole grain flours tend to be "thirstier" than, say, your white Pillsbury or Gold Medal all-purpose flours because of their bran content and because of their higher protein content.  Any whole-grain flour will benefit from an autolyse, which is a fancy word for just mixing the flour and water and letting it sit for 20-60 minutes before mixing in the salt, yeast, etc.  That time works wonders for softening the bran and for gluten development.

Remember, too, that a sandwich loaf in a pan will usually experience less oven spring than a unpanned loaf baked on a stone, just because it doesn't get the immediate burst of heat from the stone.  And, if it is already doubled, many a dough won't have much capacity for further expansion.