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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pan Integral Bakeoff: 100% Hard Red vs Hard White Sourdough Bread

Hard Red WW vs Hard White Sourdough Breads

Caveat emptor
I've been reading about White Whole Wheat Flour for some time now, but I've never tried it.  The other day when I was in Arva Flour Mill picking up some more organic whole grain flour, I noticed a small bag of the organic white wheat, so I picked some up.  To me, it was the perfect opportunity to try making some bread with it, side-by-side with the 100% whole wheat sourdough bread I always make, in the Tartine style.

Unfortunately, one has to be extra careful when buying wheat.  If it doesn't say "whole" wheat somewhere, you are getting a fraction -- some of the bran has been removed.  This bag doesn't indicate what the fraction is, but in later conversations with staff at the Arva Flour mill, they have assured me that this bag is not whole white wheat.  Furthermore, the organic flour -- the hard red whole wheat flour (that I usually buy), or this white wheat flour -- that one can obtain at Arva Flour Mill is not milled there.  They do not have the facilities to mill organic flour.  They buy it, repackage it, and sell it to consumers like me.  They cannot even tell me the extraction rate, or how much white bran is in it.  In fact, I do not even know if the white wheat is a true hard white wheat, or is merely a blend of hard and soft white wheat flour.

I can buy organic red wheat berries from Arva Flour mill, and I can mill my own organic grain from them (that'll be my next option) -- but I have to look elsewhere for organic white wheat berries.  I am told that Arva Flour Mill cannot get them.

Despite my frustration at not getting white whole wheat flour, this is my experience with using the Organic White Wheat flour for the first time.  It gives me an opportunity to research hard white wheat.

First, the breads.

White Wheat Bread, Red WW Bread
Both breads are made with:

  • 100% organic wheat flour (this is the only difference between the loaves: one is a ww hard red, the other a hard white wheat flour that is not whole)
  • 76% water
  • 20% sourdough starter
  • 5% wheat germ
  • 2% salt

Both doughs were stretched and folded, for about 4 hours.  Then the dough was divided, bench-rested, and shaped before placing in a basket to proof in a cold environment (my fridge, my garage) overnight.

The white wheat dough was very sloppy and sticky.  It is a long time since I have used anything but whole wheat flour in bread dough.  I could tell that the gluten wasn't developing the same way as the hard red whole wheat flour; furthermore, I could tell that there wasn't much bran in this extremely white dough.  I had added the usual 5% wheat germ back into the mixture, but it still didn't have the 'golden' look to it that has been described of white whole wheat flour.  This whiteness was an unnatural whiteness.

The proofed dough was sagging despite being chilled, but there was the usual fairly good oven spring for the loaves.

I wish it had been 100% whole white wheat flour I was using, for a proper "pan integral bakeoff".

Questions, questions, questions about Hard White Wheat
Organic White Wheat Flour is prohibitively expensive.

Is it worth buying?  Does it appreciably add value to one's loaf?  Is the nutritional quality on par with regular (hard red) wheat?  Is the baking quality similar -- i.e. does it make a good loaf of bread?  How's it taste?  Are the organic claims legit -- i.e. has it been genetically modified to be an albino grain?  These are all the kinds of questions that someone who knows nothing about it would ask.  That's what I wanted to know.

So in addition to building 2 loaves, side by side, I did a bit of Internet research on the topics.  In other words, I let Google serve me up a few interesting web sites until my curiosity was satiated.  

If there is one thing I've discovered from trying to obtain white wheat berries from the Arva Flour Mill, its that the average person like me is going to have a hard time obtaining white wheat berries.  Why?

Justin Turner, working on his Master of Food Science in Kansas in 2003 (Turner, J. (2003) Whole wheat flour milling: effects of variety and particle size. MS thesis. Kansas State University.  67p), provided part of the answer:

"The majority of whole-wheat or whole grain products sold in the baking section of grocery stores are made from red whole wheat.  The reason for this is most likely due to the availability of hard white wheat and the extra costing involved with sourcing, procurement, transportation, and identity preservation of these varieties.  The extra costs involved in creating a supply chain for hard white wheat products are something that most consumers would not pay more for." 

It is no great secret that there are health benefits to eating whole grains rather than refined grains, but consumers as a whole are not buying it -- we as a whole society are not eating enough, in ratio to the amount of refined grains -- and this fact is not lost on food producers.  Most people tend to like the taste of refined grain products.  Because of this, according to the study of Chase (Chase, K. et al. (2004) Perceptions Of Members of the American Association of Cereal Chemists Regarding Production of Whole Grain Foods. Journal of Food Distribution Research. 35(3) pp. 53-59),  industry leaders have not been historically keen on promoting whole wheat products.  But white wheat has piqued the interest of captains of industry because it can fool consumers into thinking they are eating refined products.  The taste of hard white wheat is often described as "milder," which many consumers seem to prefer (for some reason; to me, another way to say "milder" is "tasteless").  

Hard white wheat is something that some of the big users of wheat products are beginning to demand.  The Whole Grains Council lists many of the larger manufacturers who have sourced white wheat for their bread: King Arthur, George Weston Bakeries, Maple Leaf Bakery, Rich's, Farmer Direct, etc.   These large-scale users of white wheat are able to afford the "identity preservation" of a white wheat supply chain, and are able to claim "whole wheat" status on bread that looks and tastes almost like highly processed bread flour.

But how does it compare to bread made from red whole wheat?

The Whole Grains Council will tell you that white wheat is nutritionally similar to red wheat -- that there are bigger nutritional differences to be found based on where and when wheat is grown (and how much water it receives), than the variety.  But then, they will admit that the genes of the white wheat are different -- they have to be, they don't even have the gene(s) that encode(s) for bran colour.  And of course, the bran does not have the same "strongly-flavored phenolic compounds' as red wheat.  That means the taste is different: it is milder, and it has a lighter texture.  And try as they might to avoid it, they do seem to admit that the protein is slightly less than red wheat -- you have to adjust your recipes.

Maziya-Dixon & Klopfenstein's study (Maziya-Dixon B. and Klopfenstein, C. (1994) Nutritional properties of hard white and hard red winter wheats and oatmeal I. effects on cholesterol levels and faecal fat, neutral sterols and bile acids in cholesterol-fed rats. Cereal chemistry.  71(6). pp. 539-543) found that whole red and whole white flours when mixed similarly had the same viscosity.  This should mean that if I am substituting whole grain for whole grain, I shouldn't have to adjust the materials for viscosity at all.  However, similar hydration might still not work as well, for a couple of reasons: (1) there still may be a difference in protein.  A stronger gluten net is going to trap more air and other gases. (2) white whole grain may be milled to an extremely fine powder.  The bran may not have the same water-carrying ability, if ground very fine.

Okay, so the nutrition, and the feel of the dough might be more or less the same (if the grain is whole, and the flour is milled similarly); but what about the final product?

Studies with an "electronic nose" (Sapirstein H. et al. (2012). Discrimination of volatiles of refined and whole wheat bread containing red and white wheat bran using an electronic nose. J Food Sci 77(11). pp. S399-406) have shown that white whole wheat can fool people into assuming that the bread they are eating is made with refined flour.  The crust is lighter, the crumb does not remind people of traditional whole wheat, and the aroma of white whole wheat bread does not even give it away, because the white bran has an entirely different complement of volatiles, closer to white bread made without bran (again, one wonders about the change in nutrition, therefore, if the volatiles are different).

Luminosity studies show that the phenolic acids are different in white wheat, and this changes the colour. (Jiang, H. et al. (2011) Color of whole-wheat foods prepared from a bright-white hard winter wheat and the phenolic acids in its coarse bran. J Food Sci. 76(6). pp. 846-52.) Specifically, white wheat seems to have more protocatechuic and p-hydroxybenzoic acids in its mix of phenolics.

Most surprising, Maziya-Dixon B. and Klopfenstein (Maziya-Dixon B. and Klopfenstein, C. (1994) Nutritional properties of hard white and hard red winter wheats and oatmeal II. effects on faecal water-holding capacity and loss of protein, ash, calcium and zinc in cholesterol-fed rats. Cereal chemistry.  71(6). pp. 544-547) found that while Red Whole Flour seems to have slightly more ash, and zinc, White Whole Flour has slightly more fibre (both soluble and insoluble), and more calcium and physic acid.  And curiously -- again, because it seems more counter-intuitive -- increased soluble fibre meant less calcium loss, in animal nutritional studies.

So it would seem that if I were to obtain hard white wheat berries, and mill them to a certain fineness, the bran would still be there in the mixture, conferring all the benefits of whole grain, and yet the bread crust would look tan and the crumb would be ivory white, and it would smell and look like a bread made with refined white flour.

Hard White Wheats
I corralled my research into White Hard Wheat with a quick survey of what types are available here in North America, what cultivars and varieties are being grown.  According to the Dow patent, 1990 was the year that "Hard white wheat" was added as a U.S. market class.  According to the Whole Grains Council, Australia had been growing white hard wheat for decades prior to that.  Much of the work that went into developing hard white wheat for the North American climate was started in Kansas.  According to the patent by Monsanto, developing new cultivars takes exacting and expensive research requiring 7-12 years of selective breeding.  Incidentally, all of these patents make for very interesting reading; the Monsanto patent in particular goes into quite a bit of detail regarding the genes their hard white wheat has been selected for in their breeding program -- including disease resistance, high yield, herbicide tolerance, whiteness, strong gluten, etc.:

However, farmers would not look for seed with these patented names, but would rather know the wheat they grow by their 'popular' cultivar names.  The following list is not necessarily complete, merely representative.  If nothing else, it should show the flurry of activity in the breeding programs for hard white wheat, since the earliest cultivar I found mentioned (Ramona50, released in 1951).  As export markets of China and Japan demand more white wheat, we can expect the amount of white wheat flour to grow, as a market percentage, here in North America.

  • AC Vista - 1996 - developed by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
  • Snowite475 -- 2007 -- developed by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
  • Snow White -- 1993 -- Goertzen Seed Research
  • Lolo (IDO 533) - 1997, 2003 - developed by University of Idaho
  • Argent - 1998 - developed by NDSU
  • Explorer - 2001 - developed by Montana State University
  • WestBred - 2001 - developed by WestBred
  • AC Snowbird - 2004 - developed by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
  • Wendy - 2004 - developed by South Dakota State University
  • Golden 86 - sold by Walton Feed, Idaho, but seems to be somewhat of a mystery grain, according to the provenance related at cfi
  • IDO377S -- 1994 -- developed by Idaho Breeding Program
  • Lochsa(IDO 597) -- 2006 -- developed by University of Idaho  
  • Otis (WA 007931) -- 2005 -- Agricultural Research Center of Washington state university  (and University of Idaho, Oregon state University, and USDA-ARS)
  • Blanca Grande -- 2001, 2006 -- Resource Seeds Inc.
  • Blanca Fuerte --2006 -- Resource seeds Inc.
  • Blanca Royale -- 2007 -- Resource seeds Inc
  • Clear White -- 2005 -- University of California
  • Patwin -- 2006 -- University of California
  • Patwin 515 -- 2011 -- University of California
  • Platte2 (96x0799-14W) -- 2006 -- AgriPro Wheat
  • WB-Cristallo -- 2009 -- Westbred LLC
  • WB-Paloma -- 2010 -- Monsanto Technology LLC
  • Oro Blanco -- 1996 -- AgriPro Seeds, Inc.
  • RonL (KS03HW158) -- 2006 -- Kansas AES, KSU
  • Shavano (HV9W98-929W) -- 2006 -- WestBred, LLC
  • Galileo (ID0641) Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Gary (ID550) -- 2001 -- Ed Souza at Aberdeen
  • UI Darwin (ID0641) -- 2006 -- Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station 
  • MDM (WA7936) -- 2005 00 WSU 
  • NuDakota (97ROM-SDW) -- 2006 -- AgriPro Wheat 
  • NuFronter (W94-480s) -- 2001 -- General Mills Operations, Inc.
  • NuGrain (W98-530-03W or GM1006) -- 2006 -- AgriPro Wheat
  • NuHorison (W95-610w) -- 2001 -- General mills Operations, Inc
  • Palomino (W96-359W) -- 2007 -- Agripro Wheat
  • WB-Perla (SI909-371W)-- 2011 -- WestBred, a uniti of Monsanto Co.
  • Alta Blanca (IDO470) -- 2006 -- University of Idaho
  • Delano (APB W10-8) -- 1994 -- Arizona Plant Breeders
  • Golden Spike (UTI944-158) -- 1999 -- Utah AES
  • Ivory (OR850513) -- 1998 -- OSU Kronstrad
  • Idaho 377s -- 1995 -- Idaho AES
  • Macon -- 2002 -- Agricultural Research Center of Washington state university  (and University of Idaho, Oregon state University, and USDA-ARS)
  • YU995-231W -- 2002 -- Western Plant Breeders
  • WB-Cristallo (DA904-32W) -- 2009 -- WestBred, LLC
  • MT9420 -- 2008 -- Montana State University
  • Pristine -- 2000-2 -- Western Plant Breeders
  • Ramona 50 -- 1951 -- California AES and USDA-ARS
  • Siete Cerros 66 -- 1966 -- International maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and Mexican Ministry of Agriculture (INIA)
  • Vaiolet -- 1998 -- AllStar Seed Company
  • Winsome -- 1998 -- Oregon AES
  • Klasic -- 1981  -- Northrup-King & Co.
  • BZ998-247W --2003 -- Western Plant Breeders
  • BZ998-256W -- 2003 -- Western Plant Breeders
  • CA-901-580W -- 2004 -- WestBred, LLC
  • CA907-8186W -- 2009 -- WestBred, LLC
  • Clara CL (KS08HW35-1) -- 2012 -- Kansas State Univ. Res. Foundation
  • KS03HW6-6 -- 2006 -- Kansas AES, KSU
  • KS84063-2W -- 1998 -- KSU Agronomy dept
  • KS85W663-42 -- 1998 -- KSU Agronomy dept
  • KS95HW61-6 -- 1999 -- Kansas AES, KSU
  • KS96HW115 -- 2000 -- KSU Agricultural Research Center
  • Palamino (W96-359W) 200? -- Agripro 
  • AP402 CL2 (CL03016) -- 2008 -- Syngenta Seeds
  • Arlin -- 1993 -- Kansas AES, KSU
  • Aspen (HV9W96-1383W) -- 2008 -- WestBred, LLC
  • Phoenix -- 1981 -- California AES and University of Melbourne
  • Pima 77 - 1977 -- International Maize and wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and Mexican Ministry of Agriculture (INIA)
  • Plata -- 2001 -- Resource Seeds Inc. 
  • Prairie Gold - sold by Wheat Montana since 1988; same as Golden 86 (according to cfisupply)

Some of my Sources, for the above list:

Bread Results
Both of these breads are good.  I prefer the red whole wheat 100% pan integral.  It has more flavour, more taste, more bulk, you really feel you are getting something nutritious when you eat it.  You don't require much -- one or two slices, and you don't think about food for hours.  I'm not used to eating breads with refined flour -- which is what most of the world apparently demands.

My wife likes the lighter loaf.  I'll be honest and tell you that when I eat it, I like the taste, but I don't like the way it makes me feel afterwards.  I feel bloated.  I don't feel full, I feel like I want to eat again soon.  And my breathing changes: my breath is noticeably shallower.  I don't know how to describe this sensation.  I don't feel good about myself when I eat processed wheat.

But I also have to say that I'm disappointed that I haven't yet have the opportunity to make my own whole grain, whole hard white wheat loaf, for a true bakeoff comparison.  I will have to search beyond the Arva Flour Mills for the grain, and mill it -- perhaps grow it -- myself.

Notes to Myself
  • Lots of interesting factoids in the article by Maziya-Dixon B. and Klopfenstein. For example, it was once believed that both fibre and phytate bind minerals (eg. calcium, zinc) in the digestive tract, making them biologically unavailable. But red and white wheats "showed no significant differences in physic acid concentration," and "red...flour diets were more efficient feeds than the respective white wheat diets." Furthermore, "whole wheat diets" were found to provide more calcium absorption than diets of either straight flour, or straight bran. In an effort to explain this surprising finding, the authors of the study suggested that "fermentation of soluble fibers in the colon may result in lowered pH values. That could make the calcium more soluble, thereby enhancing its absorption." They also thought that the more phytates in the flour, the more phytase might also appear, which would render the binding ability of phytate to be less, and the absorption of minerals would actually be enhanced.
  • Not only are white wheat varieties patented, a special method of milling white wheat has been patented.  ConAgra sells their white whole wheat "Ultragrain Flour", and it has pursued copyright infringement lawsuits in 2011 against ADM, which sells "Kansas Diamond White Whole Wheat Flour."
  • I'll have to somehow obtain some (organic) white wheat cultivar and grow it in my backyard.  I may be able to get some berries for my personal use from Wheat Montana.  If I can do it, why can't Arva Flour Mills?

1 comment:

  1. Godhum Atta is not just whole wheat, it is also slow stone-ground... organic wheat flour