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Hungarian High Altitude Whole Wheat Flour Test

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Welcome To The Hungarian High Altitude Whole Wheat Flour Test
Part of the Big Flour Test

Please note - we are not connected with any flour vendor mentioned on this web site. We can't tell you where to find any of these flours outside our own home town, and we have no idea why the vendor discontinued your favorite flour, or why your favorite recipe is no longer on the back of the package. And now... here's the review of this flour.....

Where we bought it: Safeway, Gunnison, Colorado

What we paid for it: $1.49 for 5 pounds

Protein content: 13.3% (4 grams per 30 gram serving)

Interesting Vendor Story: The name confuses everyone. Many people here in Gunnison, Colorado, at an altitude of 7,700 feet (2,346 meters) above sea level, think this flour is good to use at high altitudes. Actually, it's no better than any other flour at high altitudes. And they are confused about the "Hungarian" part too.

The "Hungarian" part of the name comes from the process used to mill the flour, which was developed in Hungary in the 1800's. It was brought to Colorado by J.K. Mullen in 1875, and is still used on this flour. The flour is milled from hard wheat from Colorado, the Dakotas, and Montana, so the "high altitude" refers to where the grain is grown.

Our first impressions: We've used this flour on many occasions, because it's one of the cheaper whole wheat flours at our local market. We've always thought it added a nice taste to partial whole grain breads, and we really liked the 100% whole wheat bread made with this flour. bread. So, we wanted to see how it stacked up against Wheat Montana's Prairie Gold ("the whole wheat flour for people who don't like whole wheat flour"). We immediately noticed that the Hungarian whole wheat flour is a coarser grind than the Wheat Montana Prairie Gold, which may make it less suitable than other flours to be the only flour in a recipe, or to try to hold a rye bread together. We'll see.

The flour has more of a light brown or tan color compared to Wheat Montana's Prairie Gold, which has more of a yellow gold color.

Conclusions - we liked this flour, and were particularly impressed by the Simple Sourdough Pan bread. It was a very workable flour, though it required more water than some other flours.

The Breads
Hungarian Whole Wheat Family Portait

Bohemian Rye The Bohemian Rye was Hungarian Whole Wheat Rysfrom a very dry dough. I should have increased the hydration of the dough and slashed it. The bread had a very tight, dense, small crumb. The separation of the crust and the crumb, also called "flying crust" was largely because the dough was too dry. The crust is thick and chewy, the bottom has a nicely caramelized taste with hints of caraway and a big rye taste. The bread had an aroma that was largely wheat and rye with a bit of caraway, and little sour. The crumb taste was very complex with rich rye, wheat, and caraway notes. As with the aroma, there wasn't much sour in the bread's crumb. This bread can stand on it's own, or work as the base for robust sandwiches. Today I had the bread with melted blue cheese on it.... pure delight!


Ciabatta is one of our favorite breads. Whether made Hungarian WHoile Wheat Ciabattawith white, whole wheat, or just about whatever flour we have here. As we were making this bread the aroma of the dough was addictive. A tangy blend of whole wheat and sourdough gone wild. When baked, the bread had an open, irregular crumb, with a slightly glossy translucent surface. The top crust was thin and pliable, while the bottom was thicker with the caramel notes I've been noticing recently. The loaf was somewhat flat, especially when compared to the Baker's and Chef's Ciabatta made at the same time. The bread's aroma was what the dough's aroma promised. Very wheaty with a good sour balance. The crumb's taste was a complex wheat/sour taste. It wasn't as strong as Laurel's Loaf for Learning converted for sourdough, but it was very nice. The ciabatta's taste lingered on the tongue, whispering "wheat" to a happy tongue. The bread was hearty enough that it tended to overwhelm the olive oil I dipped it into, but the result was still delightful. (Save your best oil for a milder ciabatta.)


Simple Sourdough Pan Bread was a total shock and surprise. Hungarian WW Simple Sourdough Pan BreadBut a pleasant one. I usually only make one batch of test bread at a time. This time, I tested both the Sam's Baker's and Chef's Bread Flour at the same time as the Hungarian High Altitude Whole Wheat. What amazed me was they both rose to the same height, which tends to contradict the folk lore about whole wheat not rising as high as white flour. I discuss this at some length in the Whole Wheat Versus White Flour page. The crust was nicely browned on top, lighter on the sides and bottoms. The taste was a very nice mixture of wheat and sour. The crumb was soft, remarkably soft for a whole wheat flour. The crumb had a nicely irregular crumb, though the holes weren't as large as with many white flours. (The vertical slash in the picture is where I had inserted a thermometer - I didn't notice I'd cut the bread in the same place that I'd put the thermometer.) This was a great toasting bread, and was (again) awesome for grilled cheese sandwiches. The bread's aroma and taste both made it clear this was a sourdough bread, offering a whole wheat and gentle sour flavor. We'll be making this one again!

Three stage French bread is a simple sounding Hungarian WW Pain Au Levainbread that has a surprisingly complex taste. A major part of its taste comes from French flours that are unavailable here, so many bakers mix white, wheat, and rye flours to try to duplicate the taste of the French bread this is modeled after. This bread is just whole wheat, so it's not as subtle as the original. This bread had a dense, tight crumb that suggests we should have used more liquid than was called for in the recipe. The crust was rather thin, but chewy. The bottom crust was thicker, thanks to the baking stones. The bread had a strong wheat aroma. Sadly, the crumb and bread were lifeless. They didn't excite the palate, they just slid across it. There was little sour to the taste, and no real aftertaste. This flour doesn't seem to be a good match for this recipe. I think using either more liquid to lighten the crumb, or using this flour as part of the overall flour in the bread, or both, would help the bread.

Hydration Pictures

As is our custom, we took pictures at 60, 80, and 100% hydration. We found that the Hungarian High Altitude Whole Wheat flour was much thirstier than most other flours. The dough was a firm at 80% hydration as most others are at 60%, and we were never able to create a true 60% hydration dough - the dough got too dry to pick up any more flour. If you use this flour, and it is a good flour, make sure you add some additional water and check the consistency of the dough by feel. Just measuring using a recipe for another flour could well leave your dough too dry. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Simple Sourdough Pan bread turned out so well, since its instructions tell you to add flour until a certain consistency is reached.


Hungarian WW 100% Hydration
High Altitude
Whole Wheat Flour
at 100% hydration
Hungarian WW 80% Hydration
High Altitude
Whole Wheat Flour
at 80% Hydration
Hungarian WW 60% Hydration
High Altitude
Whole Wheat Flour
at 60% hydration

12 thoughts on “Hungarian High Altitude Whole Wheat Flour Test”

  1. Thanks for posting this! I just picked up a bag of the Hungarian High Altitude whole wheat and before getting too far into making sourdough, I wanted to find out just exactly what this “stone ground style” was supposed to be about. I haven’t tried Ardent Mills flour before. I always worry when I see the word style in a name…like someone’s pretending to be authentic. I have a mature starter at 100% hydration, made of 90% AP flour from Walmart (which is itself a mixture of wheat and malted barley flours) and 10% Bob’s Red Mill organic stone ground dark rye. It’s a successful, mild starter, but I wanted to start trying other things and I just read about the advantages of stone-ground whole grain flours, and this was what Walmart had available. Your information on the hydration needs of this flour is great, I am excited to see what will come of it. At 100% hydration, the result of adding this to my starter at my usual 1:1:1 is already surprisingly stiff (barely pourable, and remarkably cohesive), so I will adjust the next time I feed it.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Dana. I haven’t seen that flour in some time – since we moved away from Gunnison. As to the starter thickness, usually a starter will thin out as it works on the flour. Stiff in the morning, thinner by dinner.

      As to stone ground being better, there are many people who are adamant that it is. Roller mills don’t heat the flour as much. However, for a while roller milled whole wheat was just part of the wheat. At this time for a flour to be called whole wheat it must contain all of the wheat that was milled, no more, no less. As a result, I doubt there are major differences between stone milled and roller milled flour. Freshness is a larger factor in the quality of the flour.

      Hope it works well for you,

    1. Hi Kim,
      Different vendors put expiration/best by dates in different places. Since I don’t have a sack of this flour in the house at present, I really can’t answer the question.

      As I’m sure you’ve realized it you Google flour life expectancy, every web site has a different answer. I’ve seen numbers ranging from 3 months to 2 years for white flours. The King Arthur website has an excellent article on the keeping qualities of flour, yet they aren’t brave enough to share a number of weeks, months or years that flour can be safely stored. Flour can spoil in a number of ways. The oils in the flour can turn rancid, which will be apparent if you smell the flour. Flour can become infested with pests, such as flour beetles – if that happens, you are in for a lot of work to remedy the matter. Flour can mold. Basically, the enemies of flour are air, temperature, water and insects. Storing the flour in a temperate area in a sealed container goes a long way to mitigate these issues.

      I find that refined flour (all purpose and bread flour) should last about 2 years at reasonable room temperatures. The hotter the storage temperature, the shorter the life expectancy. When in doubt, smell the flour. Rub some between your thumb and fingers and smell it again. If it smells fresh, it is almost certainly fine to use. A good test is to bake a simple bread with the flour and see if you like the results.

      Freezing flour greatly extends its shelf life. It prevents any insect eggs from hatching, it prevents mold and rancidity. Some say that white flour can last somewhere between 5 years and indefinitely. A potential problem for frozen flour is freezer burn. Again, smell your flour, etc.

      Self-rising flour is a horse of a different color. The rising agents in self-rising could lose their potency in long storage. In this case, smell to make sure the basic flour is in good condition, and then bake something with the flour. If it doesn’t rise as expected, the rising agents may have lost their potency. You can either discard it or add some additional baking powder to the recipe.

      Hope this helps,

  2. Once upon a time the Hungarian Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour package had a pancake recipe that I used with great success. It has since been lost. Is there any hope of retrieving it?

    1. Hi Sidney,
      We are not affiliated with any flour company. As a result, we do not have the Hungarian pancake recipe. I wish we could help, other than to suggest you contact the flour company.
      Best wishes,

    1. Hi Ginny,
      You really didn’t give me enough to determine what went wrong. I strongly prefer not to add commercial yeast to a sourdough bread and especially not to a sourdough starter. The acidity of the starter will kill the commercial yeast.

      More to the point, what recipe are you using? How long did you give the dough to rise? Is your starter at least a week old and reliably doubling in size between feedings?

      I’ll be happy to help if you give me more details about what you’re doing.

    1. Hi Bobby,
      It might work in a pinch, but the usual flour used in India is, from what I read, atta. You can buy it in many Indian markets. My understanding is that atta is ground more coarsely than the whole wheat flours we use in the USA. Similarly, you may have trouble making European and American style breads with atta.

      Good luck,

    1. Hi Mark,
      I wanted to show that hydration, while indicative of what dough will be like, doesn’t actually mean all that much. Glad you liked the pictures.

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