Weekly Market Highlights
- Wheat futures prices are slightly lower this week. Kansas City futures posted new lows.
- World markets were reminded how plentiful wheat remains Monday when Australia announced their record world wheat crop would far exceed current projections.
- The Canadian and Argentinian crops could be larger than currently thought as well, all reminders that wheat lacks inputs that could lead prices to rally.
- High protein hard red spring wheat basis premium prices fell this week.
- Firm to sharply higher hard red winter wheat basis premiums reflected the miller’s continual search this crop year for quality protein to mill higher protein winter wheat flours.
Facts on Flour
Last week we discussed the characteristic of wheat flour protein to form gluten. So, if we buy flour with a higher protein content (quantity), can we back a better (quality) product? This is not always the case. High quality, low quantity protein flour will outperform a high quantity, low quality flour in producing acceptable baked goods.
Whole wheat is a great example – it can have a protein quantity between 13.5 and 15 percent. This is a higher protein range than high gluten flour (13.5 to 14.5 percent). Will the whole wheat flour outperform the high gluten? No. The bran and the germ are rich in non-gluten forming protein, which will contribute to the overall protein quantity, not quality.
In relative terms, protein quantity can be used as a predictor of the suitability of flour in specific baking applications. But the protein content of a flour can be affected by many agronomic factors, such as amount of rainfall, fertilizer usage, temperature stressed, etc. A quality miller is going to balance protein quantity with the appropriate quality testing to prepare the best flours available for specific baking needs. So how do we measure protein quality? Just wait until next week!