Welcome To The Wheat Montana Prairie Gold 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: The Super Walmart in Salida, Colorado
What we paid for it: Around $5.00 for 10 pounds of flour in 2002.
Protein content: a rather high 15%
Interesting Vendor Story: Wheat Montana is a family owned business that prides themselves on producing a quality product. They also own bakeries, so they know what bakers want.
Wheat Montana says this about Prairie Gold: "This flour, ground from our Prairie Gold wheat, is so versatile it can be substituted for white flour in most recipes. 100% whole wheat flour. Chemical Free."
Our first impressions : This flour is sealed in a plastic bag to keep it clean and pure. A twist tie is included so you can re-seal the bag. We wish more flours were packaged this way.
The flour had a very distinct golden color - perhaps that's where it gets its name.
The doughs this flour creates are dryer than those made with many other flours. In every recipe we wound up adding anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup of water to get a dough that was as liquid as it should be. This was even true when we measured the flour by weight in the Three Stage French Bread recipe.
Any special reason we're testing this flour: Wheat Montana's Prairie Gold Whole Wheat Flour has been much talked about in different baking newsgroups. We're told it's the whole wheat flour for people who don't like whole wheat flour. It has enough protein to make you able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, and, surely, it's the flour that Garrison Keillor's semi-mythical "Powdermilk Biscuits" are made from.
How'd we screw up the tests this time? Because this was our first flour test, we messed up, and we didn't test all four bread recipes with this flour - we managed to skip testing the Simple Sourdough Pan Bread. We have more on hand and we'll perform that test soon. AND we never took a "family portrait" of all the breads.
The Bohemian Rye was quite overwhelmed by the whole wheat taste of the Wheat Montana Prairie Gold. The rye and caraway tastes were very much in the background. We added about 1/2 cup of water to this recipe to get the dough feel where we wanted it. The bread had a very nice tight crumb, good crust. It was a nice bread, but it was more a whole wheat than a rye bread.
Ciabatta is a favorite bread. It should be light, have nice big holes, and absorb 23 times its weight in oil. We added about 1/2 cup more water than the recipe called for to get the dough feel where we wanted it. The taste of the bread was delightful, it had a wonderful crumb, it tore easily, and was wonderful with flavored olive oil. The only drawback was the bread didn't have the big holes were hoping for.
Simple Sourdough Pan Bread - Sorry, we didn't have our checklist ready, so we forgot to make this bread. If we ever re-test Wheat Montana's Prairie Gold we won't forget to make this bread! (That said, it doesn't seem very likely.)
Three stage French bread, or Pain au Levain, should be a dense flavorful loaf, with a rich complex flavor. We really liked this bread, although we had to add about a cup more water than the recipe called for. The bread had a great crust and crumb. The flour was a nice compromise between white flour and "real" whole wheat flour.
Hydration Pictures As discussed, we took pictures at 60, 80, and 100% hydration. The mixture was felt and handled like a dryer dough than the numbers would indicate.