Weekly Market Highlights
- Wheat futures prices are slightly lower this week.
- High-protein spring wheat basis is lower, while the high protein hard red winter wheat basis continued its months-long climb.
- Good quality protein hard red winter wheat used to mill Artisan bread flour like Gold Medal Harvest King is commanding a premium in this year’s market due to the recently harvested low protein crop.
- Fall crop harvests are nearing completion; rail logistics were much improved over previous years. Wheat sales to market may have begun to increase.
- While there is a large supply of wheat in the U.S. and worldwide, much of the wheat is only animal feed quality. This, compounded by some concerns about dryness in the U.S. and elsewhere and a rainy Australian harvest, could support wheat and flour prices at least in the near term.
Facts on Flour
If bleaching describes the whitening of flour, what is maturing? For hard wheat flour, the term maturing implies the
strengthening of dough forming properties, thus improving gas retention of the gluten. These maturing agents affect
the physical properties of the dough and don’t have any direct effect on the yeast. Two common maturing agents are
potassium bromate and ascorbic acid.
Breads treated with these agents will generally exhibit increased loaf volume,
finer grain and improved external characteristics. Although they produce the effects just stated, they mature at different rates. Ascorbic acid reacts toward the end of mixing and into the dough stage. Bromate works during the proofing and baking stages.