Protein Alone Does Not Predict Soft White Wheat End-Quality Performance

There is an easily understood expression in English that “you cannot judge a book by its cover.”

Applied to the new 2021/22 U.S. soft white wheat crop, that is good advice for the world’s flour millers and wheat food producers.

The persistent Pacific Northwest (PNW) drought is expected to lower yields and push 2021/22 SW protein levels higher than average.

As USW Bakery Consultant Roy Chung says, however, protein level alone does not say everything about soft white end-quality performance.

Instead, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is helping flour millers learn that testing for Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC) is the most effective and valuable method for predicting the true performance characteristics of flour for biscuits (cookies) and crackers.

The SRC method, approved by the American Association of Cereal Chemists (56-11.02), examines the characteristics of glutenin, gliadin, and arabinoxylan and the level of starch damage in flour.

These values describe the flour’s ability to absorb water during the mixing process and its ability to retain or release that water during and after the baking process, among several other performance characteristics.

The combined pattern of the four component SRC values establishes a practical flour quality profile useful for predicting functionality, giving the miller and baker a ‘fingerprint’ of U.S. soft white (SW) and soft red winter (SRW) wheat flour end-quality performance.

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Related Articles:

Wheat Letter: Checking the 2021/22 Global Wheat Crop Ahead of August WASDE Report

U.S. Wheat Associates' Weekly Harvest Report (July 30): Projections of Lower-Than-Average Yields, But Promising Quality

Wheat Scoop: Kansas Wheat Discusses Harvest During USW Virtual Crop Update