Wheat Flour

Appears in
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking

By French Culinary Institute

Published 2021

  • About

Wheat is one of the world’s largest cereal grass crops, second only to rice. The first grains to be cultivated were einkorn and emmer, both types of wheat, but centuries of evolution and genetic manipulation have created about thirty thousand types. Throughout the world, common wheat, durum, einkorn, emmer, and spelt are the major types still cultivated. The countries of the European Union produce the largest amount of wheat, while the United States is the world’s fourth largest cultivator. In the U.S. today, wheat is classified as hard or soft with almost all wheat breads using one of six types: hard red winter, hard red spring, soft red winter, hard white, soft white, and durum. Hard wheat has a higher protein content and is lower in starch, ideal conditions for gluten to develop. Soft wheat is higher in starch and has a lower protein content that, aided by the presence of the enzyme alpha-amylase (starch-digesting enzymes), yields a more tender dough.