There are thousands of types of wheat out there, but they are broken into classes. Each class of wheat has different purposes. So, getting the right kind of wheat is essential to getting everything prepared for your food storage efforts. The purposes or uses of the wheat should be the key factor in determining what type of wheat you purchase. This makes it easier to determine which kind(s) we will need for our home food storage.
According to the Wheat Foods Council, "Six classes of wheat are grown in the United States: hard red winter, soft red winter, hard red spring, hard white, soft white and durum. Wheat is classified by hardness of the grain, the color of the kernel and the time of planting."
The interesting part of all this is that all the nutrients are essentially the same. The only difference is protein. The Wheat Foods Council states, "Among the classes of wheat, the only difference in nutrients is the protein content. This difference is nutritionally insignificant, but the protein content and quality does make a difference in terms of baking." Let's take a look at the different classes of wheat and their uses.
The hard winter wheat usually has about 10-15 percent protein content and has a high gluten level. With this level of protein and gluten, it is generally used for making baked goods such as bread and is also used to make all-purpose flour. The Idaho Wheat Commission also states that, "Hard Red Winter is used in pan breads, Asian noodles, hard rolls, flat breads and general-purpose flour." You will want to stay above 12 percent protein for the best breads and nutrition
Soft red winter wheat can be found in more of the softer, sweeter wheat products such as cakes, pretzels, cookies and other types of pastries. The soft wheat will have protein levels of about 8-11 percent and are not very good for food storage unless they are to be used for the lighter food products.
Hard red spring wheat is another good food storage wheat. The Idaho Wheat Commission states that, "Hard Red Spring is used in pan breads, hearth breads, rolls, croissants, bagels, hamburger buns, pizza crust and used for blending."
This is really a good overall wheat for storage because it provides great flexibility. This type of wheat is used in many of the types of food we already eat. It has protein levels of 12-18 percent. This level of protein is also good for health reasons as protein is needed for strength.
Hard white wheat is a good food storage wheat, but it can be hard to come up with the right levels of protein (12 percent or higher) and gluten to make good breads. White wheat is a bit sweeter than the red wheat, so we don't need to use as much sweetener when baking.
We have successfully used hard white wheat to make excellent loaves of delicious bread. Hard white wheat is normally used in "Asian noodles, whole wheat or high extraction flour applications, pan breads and flat breads" (Idaho Wheat Commission).
Soft white wheat will have about the same level of protein as soft red winter wheat. It is found in cakes, biscuits, crackers, Asian-style noodles, snack foods and other pastry type products.
Using soft white wheat in a food storage program is not recommended as it does not cover enough types of food products that we eat every day.
According to the research, Durum wheat is the hardest and generally has a 14%-16% protein content. Durum wheat is generally used for pastas and a few other items, but is not generally used for other things such as wheat bread. This is probably not the best type of wheat for a home food storage program unless you will be making a lot of pasta.
A home food storage program uses the type of wheat we will use most in our diets. First, determine what it is that you like to eat. Then select the type of wheat that fits into those categories/food.
A quick review of the categories above reveals that hard red winter wheat, hard red spring wheat, and hard white wheat may be the best types for our food storage. But, don't take our word for it. Do some research, think about your options, and then pray about it.
If you want to know, I use hard red and white wheat. They have worked for me.