We have had a few questions lately about the difference between types of wheat. While we have touched on it before we thought it would be helpful to explain it in full detail for you in an individual post. There are three general classifications of wheat: Red vs. White, Hard vs. Soft, and Spring vs. Winter.
Red vs. White
Red wheat tends to have a stronger wheat flavor and produces a heavier denser bread than white wheat. Red wheats are typically the hard varieties and whites are typically soft. However if you prefer the flavor of one over the other you can find soft red and hard white. Experiment with different varieties in your recipes to find out what works best for you and your family.
Hard vs. Soft
Hard varieties of wheat are the most common and versatile. Hard wheat has a higher gluten (protein) than soft wheat. It is better for making breads, pastas, pancakes, etc. Soft varieties have lower protein and nutrients but are better for pastries and other items where a light fine flour is required.
Spring vs. Winter
Wheat is categorized by which season it is harvested in (either winter or spring). Winter wheat has a tiny bit less protein than spring wheat. Winter averages about 12% protein while spring wheat is closer to 14%. The winter wheat is a little harder than spring as well. Red winter wheat tends to be better for baking than red spring wheat. There isn’t much difference between winter and spring varieties of white wheats.
Our preferred variety of wheat to use is hard white (either winter or spring, whatever you can find). We don’t do much pastry cooking so the hard white has been great in everything we have tried to make. Our families don’t object to any of the meals or foods where we have replaced store-bought white flour with whole wheat hard white wheat flour. To view some of the success we’ve had with using our wheat visit our Wheat Recipes category page.
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder