Weekly Market Highlights
- Wheat futures fell slightly this week but posted far less dramatic losses than a previous couple of weeks.
- Basic premium prices for hard red winter wheat saw declines in the lower protein range while higher protein levels held firm.
- Spring wheat basis for higher protein wheat fell slightly; the crop that is currently being harvested promises to deliver big on protein.
- The spring wheat harvest is underway even as crop conditions continue to decline. Only 31% of the crop is rated good to excellent.
- The USDA will report spring wheat yield, production, and abandonment forecast August 10th. Their report could influence market direction.
Facts on Flour Protein Quality
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 the 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!
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