Welcome To The Nitro-Pak Hard White Winter 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: It was donated to our church's food pantry, and we needed to test it before we gave it to other people
What we paid for it: Nothing. But, if you went to Nitro-Pak, you would have paid about $10.95 for 5 1/2 pounds, pPlus shipping in 2002.
Protein content: 11%
Interesting Vendor Story: Nitro-Pak specializes in the Mormon market. It is my understanding that all Mormons are asked to keep a year's supply of food on hand for all their family members. In times of crisis, this can be extended to cover more years. When people were panicking about the Y2K crisis, these companies did a land-office business. Each can of the whole grain is packed in nitrogen, and has an oxygen absorber pouch. It is supposed to last up to 25 years. (This grain was purchased by someone concerned about Y2K, and then donated to the food pantry.) A final note - it isn't clear if Nitro-Pak still sells whole grain wheat.
Our first impressions: This is their "Premium Golden 86" product, whatever that means. Skepticism aside, it's a quality, if pricey, product. We had to grind, or mill, the flour ourselves. We used the grain mill attachment to our KitchenAid mixer. At this time, we are not sure how many of our impressions are due to the grain, and how many are due to the grinder. Still, this made some tasty breads. We don't think we'd want to go out of our way to purchase this product, but we also weren't worried the world was ending in the year 2000. Since we wrote this in 2002 we've done more investigation of grain mills, and we can say the KitchenAid mill was a definite factor in the problems we noted with this flour. However, in 2019 it seems unlikely we'll find more of this grain.
Any special reason we're testing this flour: This grain was contributed to our church's food pantry by some people who were concerned that life, as they knew it, would end on December 31, 1999. We needed to be sure the grain was good enough and wholesome enough to give to the food pantry recipients. It was.
How'd we screw up the tests this time? Other than by grinding the grain, we didn't. Grinding was loud and slow. Perhaps we weren't meant to be pioneers. (Or perhaps we were meant to use better mills.)
Conclusions: For free, it was great. It was somewhat more granular than most flours, but a better mill would have taken care of that. All in all, we prefer a number of other flours, though this one was OK.
Bohemian Rye The Bohemian Rye had a nice caraway aroma, a nice chewy crust, a tight crumb. However, it had little sour taste or aroma. The bread had a good caraway taste, but the rye taste was muted, with a weak wheat taste. All in all, this one was not a keeper.
Ciabatta is a favorite bread. At its best, it's fun to eat, however this one didn't qualify for that title. The bread was too dense. In part, this was because the bread collapsed as it was being put in the oven. The bread had a good wheat taste, a crisp crust, and a crumb that was a bit too heavy.
Simple Sourdough Pan Bread is usually a celebration of sour. This one was no exception. This flour was essentially a a whole wheat flour, which always adds to the sour taste. This was a very pleasing taste, and it was well balanced with a good clean wheat taste. The crust was crisp and the crumb was soft and tight. A more open crust would have been nice. Still, this recipe was the pick of the litter for this flour.
Three stage French bread had a deep wheat aroma, with a thick, chewy crust. The bread was dry, not sour, not wheaty, and - to be honest - not interesting.
Hydration Pictures As discussed, we took pictures at 60, 80, and 100% hydration. This flour, as with the Nitro-Pak Hard Red Winter Wheat handled strangely. This is probably due in large part to the relatively coarse grind produced by the KitchenAid grain grinder, or at least my use of the grinder. The flour seemed wetter than most flours at high hydrations, and then absorbed the moisture and seemed dryer than you'd expect. As with most whole grain flours, this required more playing with the dough than a white flour. (This was written in 2002, now in 2019 I know that whole grains absorb more moisture than refined ones, but do it more slowly. Now, this behavior of the flour is not a surprise. Hindsight is always 20/20!)