Wheat & Flour Facts
Hard Wheat v. Soft Wheat
Hard wheat is typically used for bread flour as it is higher in protein thus has more gluten. Soft wheat is lower in protein and gluten and is also known as pastry flour. Soft wheat flours are generally considered better for cookies, pastries, and cakes.
Spring Wheat v. Winter Wheat
Spring wheat is planted in the spring of the year and is harvested in late summer. It is generally higher in protein than winter varieties. Winter wheat is planted in the fall, goes dormant during the coldest months, then begins growing again with the warmer days of spring. It generally yields higher however is slightly lower in protein.
All Purpose Flour
All Purpose Flour – All purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheats in order to reach a blend that is suitable for many uses. It is generally sifted and has some of the bran and germ removed.
Whole Grain Flour
Whole grain flour is just what it says – it is the entire grain including the endosperm (starch), germ and bran. It is generally a coarser flour due to the fact that it is not sifted, Breads made from whole grain flours are generally heavier, coarser breads.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is a finer flour than whole grain as it has had some of the bran and germ removed, however, still retains most of the nutritional benefits.
Spelt is considered an “ancient” grain and produces a flour that is well suited for many uses. Spelt can be milled as either whole grain or whole spelt flour similar to wheat.
Buckwheat is not a grain at all but is a member of the rhubarb family. Buckwheat flour is high in nutrients and amino acids and is a very healthy alternative.
Corn Meal and Flour
Corn meal and flour is ground from either dent corn or flint corn. Meal is typically a coarser grind than flour and is what is typically used for corn bread, mush, etc. A whole grain corn meal which is coarser than meal can be used for polenta and any dish calling for a coarse corn meal.