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Tip - Taste Comparison of various Whole Grain Wheat

DanAyo's picture

Tip - Taste Comparison of various Whole Grain Wheat

NOTE - this was originally posted to the 50/50 WW SD Community Bake. I thought it good to move it to the Tips Section. I decided to compare the following wheat berries in the 50/50. Each test used a single 50% Whole Wheat according to Maurizio’s instructions for his 50/50 Whole Wheat SD.

A few pieces were sliced from each of the 6 bakes and frozen in labeled bags.

My granddaughter sat in on the test. She has a discerning palate. 6 plates where numbered and my wife, Patsy placed a slice from each bag in random plates. The results were informative for me, but when it comes to taste all things are subjective.

As expected , the white grains where most mild and the reds most intense. Below are our thoughts on each grain. It surprised us both that our opinions were often very much in agreement.

From most preferred to least.

#1 Turkey Red - We both agreed that this grain was our favorite by a long shot. The smell stood out from the rest. Very pronounced. Sweet, with a hint of cinnamon. I thought it smelled a little like fine pipe tobacco (my best description). Slightly bitter crust, soft textured and a moderate chew. Tangy and over all very complex.

#2 Red Fife - This one had a sweet flavor. As you chewed the yogurt like flavor began to build in the back of the mouth. The more you chewed the better it got. It had a faint wheat smell and a medium texture, not chewy and not spongy. Actually the crust on all of the breads had the slightest bitterness. I really think the dark bake attributed to that.

#3 Hard Red Winter Wheat - We thought this bread had a very nice and noticeable acetic tang. Like the Red Fife, the flavor continued to build with each chew. It smelled of mild wheat and was medium dense. Side Note - notice the different layers of color in the crumb below. I think it may be because of the diastatic malt. I used the full 1% for this, the first bake, but omitted it completely for all of the rest. If you have a different experience, I'd like to hear from you.

The remaining 3 grains are all white. It seems we strongly prefer the more robust flavors of red wheat. For those that prefer a more mild flavor the bottom 3 may be more appealing. The closest to store bought white bread was definitely the White Sonora. It have a very clean flavor that was mild in all respects. The last rankings are difficult since we favor the Reds so much.

#4 Sonora White - We placed this at the top of the 3 whites since the flavor was so clean. For those preferring a mild sandwich type bread, this may be the ticket. It absorbed water well during the mix and produced a fairly strong dough similar to the Hard White Wheat. Key descriptive word is, mild.

#5 Hard White Wheat - Non-eventful (to those that like the strong flavor of Red Wheat), but it did have a light tang. Once again, a mild flavor, which can be a great thing for those looking to bake a 50% whole grain bread and not run off the average person :-))

#6 Soft White Wheat - It had a mild taste. Taylor thought is was slightly malty, which was nice. This whole grain does not absorb a lot of water. I had to reduce the water and also add additional flour during the mix. The dough was more slack than the others, but boy, did it spring in the oven? I am beginning to think that weaker gluten springs better. I imagine the weakness can work to a benefit. Not sure about this, but it is my present thought at this time. I think this is why Trevor uses such a long premix for his Champlain.

Everyone's taste are unique. It is possible that your choices would be just the opposite as our's. Neither of us are professional taste testers, but we know what we like. I hope you find something valuable in the review.

I want to thank Maurizio for sharing his formula, it seems that many participating in this bake are giving it rave reviews.



bread1965's picture

Thanks for posting.

HansB's picture

Good post Danny. Turkey Red is high on my list too. My new favorite is Yacora Rojo. I've been adding it at about 15% to Turkey Red and KABF. I'll have to use it alone with my base flour to report the flavors that I detect.

barryvabeach's picture

Danny, there you go breaking every rule again,    I had always thought that soft wheat was for cakes, and hard wheat for bread, and that you could not make a good bread with a soft wheat.   Now i will have to try to make some using soft wheat and see how it turns out . 

DanAyo's picture

Barry, the crumb of the White Sonora was actually pretty nice. Keep in mind the formula was Maurizio’s 50/50 whole wheat/ white flour.

I bet is would bake up nice at 100%, though. But not as open.

“ A versatile grain, White Sonora Wheat is excellent for making tortillas and can be cooked with beans, soups, or cooked whole or cracked and used as a side dish or added to salads. While relatively high in protein content(12.73%), it is low in gluten forming proteins. This characterizes it as a “soft” wheat.”

Because I like the stronger flavor of Red Wheat, the whites were rated lower. Some may rate the flavors completey opposite if white wheat was their preference.

DanAyo's picture

Hans, maybe you can post your findings with Yacora Rojo and/or any other whole wheat. I’ve heard about that grain but never tried it.

I wished we could get a mote accurate description of the potein of each grain. But I guess it is not possible because, unlike flour it isn’t easily analyzed. I often get a protein range.

HansB's picture

I will Danny, not much to do but bake these days.

DanAyo's picture

I imagine most aviation is grounded at this time. Have you been flying lately?

HansB's picture

We picked up a couple of people in Lima that needed to get back but my boss is laying low until this is over. My girlfriend flies for an airline and has had several trips cancel too. 

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Thanks so much holding this tasting Danny and posting such informative results.  I've been very curious about the relative flavors of varietal wheats like Turkey Red and Red Fife.  This is the first time and place I've read actual comparative blind tasting notes.  Well done!  Now I'll be dangerously tempted to order in one of those.  Your fault.

Stay safe.


Benito's picture

Love the taste test analysis Danny.  I wish these flours were more readily available here in Toronto where I live.  I don’t a lot of searching but haven’t been able to find much in the way of interesting flours.


mikewasinnyc's picture

I'm late to the thread but this is a great post. Nice looking loaves as well. Can I ask where you're able to buy grains with this kind of specificity? My selections are what's available at Central Milling - availability now being the key variable - and they don't carry some of these.

DanAyo's picture

Mike that taste comparison was done a while back,. But I have a lot of berries that are stored in 6 gallon buckets. A number of grains were purchased from Breadtopia. I also use Pleasant Hill Grains, Honeyville, Central Milling, Bread Beckers. Just rec’d Hard Red Spring wheat from Central Milling. Their berry quality (cleaned very well) is impressive.

There s wheat out there, but you’ll have to look around.