If you care about the quality of your batter or dough, then it makes sense you would want to care about the quality of your wheat flour. But what exactly makes a flour quality? Well, it all comes down to what you’re baking, and what the desired result is.
But first things first, you have to know what you’re looking for in flour. Parameters to look at include:
Physiochemical characteristics: protein content, wet gluten content, and ash content as an indicator of extraction rate, moisture level, enzymatic activity, particle size distribution.
Empirical rheological properties: mixing stability, resistance to deformation forces, elasticity, extensibility, optimum water absorption.
Presence/absence of chemical hazards, such as heavy metals or mycotoxins
How do these things affect the end product?
Wheat flour is unique in its ability to form a viscoelastic and cohesive mass when mixed with water, and hold the gas produced by yeast during dough proofing and baking. This all hangs on the protein content and, even more importantly, to the specific protein composition.
Flour quality factors
Protein content (quantitative factor): Protein quantity in the wheat kernel is mainly dependent on cultivar, soil type, soil nutrients supplementation, and crop growth conditions (e.g. climate conditions).
Composition of gluten-forming proteins (glutenins-to-gliadins ratio): Upon hydration, gliadins behave as a very extensible material, almost a viscous liquid, while glutenins as a cohesive solid. Although both influence gluten behavior, it is the larger polymeric glutenins that wield the greater influence on gluten quality.
Molecular size distribution of glutenins: High-molecular-weight (HMW) glutenin subunits have a major role in dough rheology and gluten strength.
Amount and location of cysteine residues of gluten-forming proteins that contain thiol groups (i.e. oxidation potential).
Dr. Lin is the baking industry’s influencer who has had a love affair with baking for 30 years. Starting with a BSc degree in Food Science & Technology at the Ohio State University, a MSc and PhD from the Department of Grain Science at Kansas State University. While working at Wendy’s and Dave’s Killer Bread, her technical teams experienced the lack of technical baking information on the internet. Seeing that this was not freely shared, Dr. Lin decided to launch BAKERpedia to cover this gap. With over 2 million pages read annually, BAKERpedia is the world’s only FREE and comprehensive online technical resource for the baking industry. Catch Dr. Lin at our BAKER Academy solving baking problems, subscribe to the BAKERpedia YouTube Channel & follow her on LinkedIn.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.