Weekly Market Highlights
- Wheat markets continued to climb sharply higher in each session over the past week. Spring wheat futures were especially strong.
- The spring wheat crop condition as reported by the USDA declined yet again this week, from 40% good to excellent down to 37%, compared to last year’s crop rated 72% good to excellent at this same time a year ago.
- Some pockets of protein have been found in the Kansas winter wheat harvest, but there are concerns with the milling quality of that wheat.
- Indications are that this year winter wheat protein will be scarce and expensive, but there is still more to come about this harvest. Oklahoma and Texas harvests are all but complete, and Kansas is 73% combined, but Nebraska and South Dakota harvests are in their early days.
- On June 30th , the USDA estimated the area planted to wheat as the smallest in nearly 100 years. This expected smaller supply intensifies the panic brought on by worsening drought conditions in Montana and the Dakotas. There are signs the rally is weakening, which is reassuring, but too much is unknown about both wheat crops to expect calm at this time.
Facts on Flour: Malting Flour
Why are most Hard Wheat Flours treated with malted barley flour? Malted barley flour (MBF) is added to Hard Wheat Flours to assist yeast fermentation. During the dough forming stage, the MBF provides specific enzyme activity that converts the starches in the wheat flour into simple sugars. These sugars then are available as a food source for the yeast to maintain proper fermentation.
A related effect of MBF is proper crust browning. Yeast activity will continue in the baked good until it reaches 120º to 130º F in the oven. Up to this point, the yeast is still consuming simple sugars. Once the yeast activity ceases, any remaining (residual) sugars in the dough will assist in crust browning. Bakers who desire increased crust color often will supplement their dough with additional sugar sources. The most common is regular sugar or non-fat dry milk solids.
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