I’m an avid bread baker, and now that the Labor Day weekend is here and things are starting to cool down, it’s time once again to start heating up the kitchen with the lovely aroma of fresh baked bread. I was out of bread flour, so on a recent trip to The Planted Seed bulk food store in Wausau, introduced me to a new flour, Wheat Montana’s Prairie Gold.
I’d call Prairie Gold a wheat flour for people that don’t like whole wheat breads. Made out of Hard White Spring Wheat, the flour has a pale gold color, but it is in no way as dark as a standard 100% whole wheat flour. According to Wheat Montana, the producers of Prairie Gold, items made with Hard White Wheat “look a little more like white bread”. They bake up a beautiful golden color and do not possess the stronger taste associated with the traditional whole wheat breads. Since Wheat Montana is the sole producer of the flour, Prairie Gold is also labeled as chemical free and produced with non GMO seeds.
Because I needed bread flour, and The Planted Seed was out of bread flour, I decided to give Prairie Gold a try. The flour has a gluten content of 13-15% which is pretty high for a bread flour. Common bread flours, like Pillsbury or Gold Medal average 10-11%. Looking at the comparison picture of the two flours, you can see how Prairie Gold gets its name. A common bread flour is on the right and Prairie Gold on the left. Not only is the Prairie Gold a more golden color, it shares a similar course texture as whole wheat flour. I think the texture has more to do with the milling process, in that Wheat Montana prefers to use an impact mill instead of a commercial roller mill.
I made a standard pizza crust dough to test the flour. The higher gluten content did require a little more liquid and I kneaded the bread in the stand mixer for an extra five minutes, or until I was satisfied with the consistency of the dough. Using a fast rising instant yeast, the rise time was the same as a standard dough and the dough was pliable enough that I was able to roll out a medium thickness pizza crust.
As for the taste, the dough has a nutty taste and texture, and came out of the oven a golden brown. It was a little darker than standard bread flour, but no where near a dark as a 100% whole wheat bread. I don’t think I’ll use Prairie Gold as a substitute for every bread recipe, but this flour is a great choice if you want to either lighten up a heavy wheat bread, or give a lighter bread a little more texture and body.
Wheat Montana’s Prairie Gold Flour is available locally at The Planted Seed bulk food store in Wausau.