Did you know only 25% of baking flour quality is determined by how well a mill cleans and grinds wheat into flour? The rest, 75% is actually determined before the wheat is ever milled.
In the United States there are more than 500 different wheat varieties available. Each has unique baking characteristics that define the end product’s personality, baking qualities, and flavor.
Unfortunately, larger flour mills today do not give preference to wheat variety when purchasing wheat. Instead, they use general criteria like protein content, ash or moisture. While these indicators can suggest how to use the end milled wheat product, they don’t actually equate to quality baking results.
Wheat’s baking qualities, rather, are tied to finer characteristics like environmental conditions surrounding the wheat crop, specific wheat varieties, flavor profiles, and mixing tolerances. The large quantities of wheat that “Big Mills” today purchase make it impossible for them to pay attention to these finer details.
Lehi Roller Mills, however, being a small local flour mill has always had an orientation that included securing the best varieties of wheat for baking and then working with local farmers to monitor consistent baking quality from one crop year to the next.
This attention to “all” of the wheat characteristics has given our flour a unique personality. For example, our thorough baking quality testing we do when purchasing wheat ensures each bag of flour is consistent with the baking personality generations of bakers have come to love and trust.
“The way other mills test is just not as precise,” said Sandra Stewart, with 11 years of experience as Lehi Roller Mills Quality Assurance Analyst. “It does take more time and effort to do it the way we do it, but it means better quality flour.”
It’s the way Lehi Roller Mills Founder George G Robinson wanted it to be when he said, “Only the best wheat makes the best flour.” That is still our guiding philosophy today and is illustrated in the graphs below.
These side-by-side mixing tolerance graphs show why general criteria like protein, ash, or moisture are not a good indication of baking quality. For example, the graph on the right is of a lower protein content wheat sample. Even though it has lower protein content, it has the desired baking characteristics. Long after five minutes of mixing it does not break down. In addition, it has high moisture absorption. This high absorption means the baker will get a higher yield out of the same amount of flour. The graph on the left, however, while it has higher protein content, will break down in the mixer, and may not rise once in the oven.
We see our flour as an ingredient, rather than just another commodity. Wheat selection is our love and passion. It’s a difference, you can taste.