Food - Drink
What Makes Wheat Hard Or Soft?
By CHRIS SANDS
Wheat is as old as human civilization, and wheat cultivation has been around for almost as long, but turning wheat into flour via milling didn’t become popular until the Medieval period. The milling process itself can be used to make flour from either hard and soft wheat, two common varieties that create very different flours.
According to Serious Eats, hard wheat possesses significantly more protein than its soft counterpart, for a total of 11% and 15% protein, while soft wheat’s protein content is only around 5% to 9%. These protein levels determine the amount of gluten each type of flour contains, so hard wheat also has a higher gluten content.
Since hard wheat flour is more gluten-dense, it is best used to make chewier foods like baguettes, while soft wheat flours are used for lighter, airier desserts, cakes, and pastries. Within the hard wheat category, durum wheat is notable for its use in pastas, while hard springs wheat is commonly used for bread- and beer-making.