6 Classes of Wheat and Their Uses
Across the United States, there are six classes of wheat grown. Each class of wheat has unique characteristics that make them grow well in different climates which have two distinct growing seasons. The six classes grown in the U.S. are Hard Red Winter, Hard Red Spring, Soft Red Winter, Soft White, Hard White, and Durum. Winter wheat is planted in the fall and harvested in the spring and summer, while spring wheat is planted in the spring and harvested in late summer and early fall.
Hard Red Winter Wheat is a versatile wheat with excellent milling and baking characteristics for pan bread. It is used mostly for bread, hard rolls, flat breads, all-purpose flour, and even Asian style noodles. Hard Red Winter Wheat is grown in the Great Plains, Northern, and Pacific Northwest regions.
Hard Red Spring is known as the “aristocrat of wheat” when it comes to designer foods. It is used in specialty items like hearth breads, rolls, croissants, bagels, and pizza crust. It is also valued to improve flour blends to increase gluten strength. Hard Red Spring Wheat is grown in the Northern and Pacific Northwest regions.
Soft Red Winter Wheat has excellent milling and baking characteristics for crackers, pretzels, pastries, cookies, and flat breads. Soft Red Winter Wheat is grown in the Eastern and Great Plains regions.
Soft White Wheat is used in products like exquisite cakes, pastries, and Asian-style noodles. It has low moisture with high extraction rates which provides a whiter product. It is also ideally suited to Middle Eastern flat breads. Soft White Wheat is grown in the Eastern and Pacific Northwest regions.
Hard White Wheat is the newest class of wheat to be grown in the United States. It is closely related to red wheats in its’ milling and baking qualities, but it has a milder, sweeter flavor. It is used in instant or ramen noodles, whole wheat flours, tortillas, and other yeast breads. Hard White Wheat is grown in the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest regions.
Durum Wheat is the hardest of all wheats. It has a high gluten content and is ideal for pasta, couscous, and Mediterranean breads. Durum Wheat is grown in the Northern and Pacific Northwest regions.
Wheat Foods Council. (2019, June 24). 6 Classes of Wheat. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.wheatfoods.org/resources/wheat-facts/6-classes-of-wheat/
National Association of Wheat Growers. (n.d.). Wheat Grown by Region [Photograph]. National Association of Wheat Growers.