Learn more about our wheat

wheat varieties

hard or soft, red or white, winter or spring?

After eons of farmers and then scientists isolating and encouraging the genetic development of more “user friendly” characteristics, there are over 30,000 varieties of wheat today, each with its own merits. Most simply, we can classify current wheat varieties as some combination of each of the following: hard or soft, red or white, winter or spring.

Hard wheat
has a higher protein content than soft wheat and thus produces more gluten, the elastic component of a dough that can capture and hold carbon dioxide (CO2). Therefore, hard wheat is critical for yeast-leavened baked goods, but is also appropriate for a wide range of baking.
Hard winter wheat
is planted in the fall, mainly in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and other prairie states. It grows until it's about five inches tall, and then with the onset of winter and cold weather, it becomes dormant under snow cover, and continues growing the following spring. It's harvested in late spring and early summer. The protein content of hard winter wheat ranges between 10–12%.
Hard spring wheat
grows predominantly in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Montana, as well as in Canada, where the climate is more severe. It's planted in the spring and harvested in late summer and early fall. Generally, the farther north you go, the more spring wheat you'll find and the greater the levels of protein—generally 12–14%.
Soft wheat
has a larger percentage of carbohydrates and thus less gluten-forming protein. Soft wheat can be red or white, and is almost always winter wheat. Soft winter wheat is grown primarily east of the Mississippi, from Missouri and Illinois east to Virginia and the Carolinas in the South and New York in the North. There are also important crops of soft white wheat in the Pacific Northwest. Soft wheat is used to make cake and pastry flour.

the color of wheat

heart of the wheat berry

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